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EPA Awards $760,000 to Iowa State University for Research to Improve Water Quality in Ecosystems

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Ashley Murdie (

Environmental News


EPA seal(Lenexa, Kan., Jan. 4, 2018) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded $760,000 to Iowa State University for innovative research on the prediction, prevention, control, and mitigation of freshwater harmful algal blooms.

“Harmful algal blooms can contaminate drinking water and impact public health, the environment, and the economy,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “This funding will help detect, understand, and mitigate harmful algal blooms.”

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are overgrowths of algae and cyanobacteria in water that can produce dangerous toxins that hurt the environment and local economies. HABs can have devastating effects on ecosystems, communities, and the health of people, pets, livestock, and wildlife. Recent large-scale HAB events in lakes and reservoirs across the country, as well as in large river systems, emphasize the need for further research to improve water quality and protect public health.

Iowa State scientists will use the grant to explore genetic and environmental factors controlling the occurrence of HABs in Iowa's lakes and to produce tools and databases that will be accessible and useful for state and local decision-makers and managers dealing with HABs.

The grant is awarded through the Agency’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program and supports research to better understand the effects from less-common, less studied, and emerging freshwater HAB species and toxins. The research focuses on models and tools to identify indicators that states and regions can use to accurately predict when HABs occur and how to prevent them, and identify strategies to control and mitigate HABs and their effects.

Additionally, EPA awarded $681,343 to Ohio State University to develop a watershed classification system to diagnose and manage HABs in the upper Ohio River basin. 

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