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Bi-National Expansion of the Harmful Algal Blooms Observing System

Project Leads and Affiliations:
William Fisher, EPA/Office of Research and Development
Melanie Maggee, EPA/Gulf of Mexico Program Office

Key Collaborators:
This is a collaborative project involving EPA, other federal partners (NOAA, USGS, NASA, NRL), States (FL, AL, MS, LA, TX), Gulf of Mexico States Accord, and state agencies in Veracruz, Mexico.

Project Abstract Written: October 2005

Project Timeframe: 2006 - 2008

Project Summary:


  1. Expand the Harmful Algal Blooms Observing System (HABSOS) into the State of Veracruz, Mexico to support the Gulf-wide, bi-national partnership, develop regional data management and communications systems, and provide timely access to data and information for detecting, tracking and forecasting harmful algal blooms events and their effects of public health and natural resources.
  2. Identify opportunities, obstacles and challenges for full implementation of HABSOS across the Gulf of Mexico as a component of the Global Coastal Ocean Observing System.

Products: A bi-national, web-based data management and communication system (Phase 2 of HABSOS - http://www.ncddc.noaa.gov/interactivemaps/harmful-algal-blooms-observing-system-habsos) composed of linked databases, models, remote sensing products and GIS tools that expands the capabilities of coastal resource agencies to rapidly collect and disseminate data and information on HABs events and related environmental factors (for examples, see http://www.csc.noaa.gov/crs/habf/).

Initial Applications: Satellite ocean color remote sensing algorithms and in situ meteorological and algal bloom monitoring and will be established and validated for HABs in Veracruz waters. The results of this project will form the basis for full implementation of a bi-national HABSOS and the regional ocean observing system, and support the Gulf of Mexico Partnership Initiative and the Bi-National Accord.

Outcomes: An operational nowcast/forecast system for HABs in the Gulf of Mexico will be expanded to include Veracruz, Mexico. The system will produce daily information and twice weekly forecasts of the current and future location and intensity of blooms and likely impacts to the environment. US Gulf of Mexico States have recognized the need and benefits of early warnings and timely forecasts: Impacts of HABs on public health, marine resources and local economies are reduced through dissemination of relevant, current, and accurate information to State Agencies.

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