Columbus Ohio Sea Grant, on behalf of The Ohio State University, the University of Toledo and the Ohio Department of Higher Education, has released the annual report for the first year of funding for the Harmful Algal Bloom Research Initiative (HABRI), which seeks solutions for harmful algal blooms in Ohio.
Following the Toledo water crisis in August 2014, ODHE offered $2 million in funding to universities in Ohio for collaborative research focused on reducing harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie and inland lakes. Matching funding from participating Ohio universities increased this investment to just over $4 million, demonstrating the state’s overall commitment to solving this problem.
The first 18 projects funded under this initiative have already provided needed answers that have helped water treatment operators, regulators, farmers and legislators deal with harmful algal blooms, predict future scenarios and lay a foundation for long-term bloom mitigation and prevention.
“The research community working to address the harmful algal bloom issue across the state has faced numerous scientific unknowns related to how to manage the blooms, how to predict bloom movement, how to help water treatment plant operators efficiently clean water and how to address human health risk,” said Dr. Christopher Winslow, interim director of Ohio Sea Grant. “Because of this collaborative effort, we are better able to address the impact of blooms and guide future efforts to reduce their size and frequency.”
Information about HABRI projects, as well as partner organizations and background on the initiative, is also available on the Ohio Sea Grant website at go.osu.edu/habri or directly at ohioseagrant.osu.edu/p/5cdp4/view. HABRI is overseen by The Ohio State University and the University of Toledo, with Ohio Sea Grant providing proposal coordination and ongoing project management support.
With a second round of projects to be launched in April 2016, ODHE has now invested $4 million in the Harmful Algal Bloom Research Initiative. These 31 projects led by eight Ohio universities specifically target research needs identified by Ohio agencies including the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio Department of Health, as well as partners such as the National Wildlife Federation, Ottawa County Sanitary Engineering Department and the Ohio Sea Grant College Program.
“Directly engaging OEPA, ODA, ODNR and ODH in identifying research needs has been key to the success of HABRI so far,” ODHE Chancellor John Carey said in a February 2016 press release. “Aligning research with agency requirements puts the state in a better position to tackle the HABs problem today and other water issues tomorrow.”
Ohio State University’s Ohio Sea Grant College Program is part of NOAA Sea Grant, a network of 33 Sea Grant programs dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources. For more information, visit ohioseagrant.osu.edu.