EPA Awards $40,836 to Louisiana Department of Health to Monitor Water Quality at Beaches
DALLAS – (Dec. 3, 2020) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded $40,836 to the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) to monitor water quality at some recreational beaches on the Gulf Coast. The funding, provided under a cooperative agreement, will help LDH assess and plan for formations of excess algae, or algal blooms, which can be toxic.
“Louisiana’s Gulf Coast beaches are important to the state’s economy and environment, and provide recreation to thousands of people each year,” said Regional Administrator Ken McQueen. “These funds will assist Louisiana in monitoring beaches for harmful algal blooms to ensure these beaches remain safe for people and pets, and accessible for public recreation.”
LDH will use the grant funding to test coastal recreational beaches for the presence of toxins in harmful algal blooms. Test results will help LDH develop plans to deal with algal blooms, which have occurred more frequently in recent years.
Harmful algal blooms are a major environmental problem in all 50 states. Red tides, blue-green algae, and cyanobacteria are examples of harmful algal blooms that can have severe impacts on human health, aquatic ecosystems, and the economy. They need sunlight, slow-moving or stagnant water, and nutrient pollution to form. Nutrient pollution from human activities such as farming and lawn care makes the problem worse, leading to more severe blooms that occur more often. Because algal blooms can be toxic, it is important to keep people and pets away from water that is green, scummy, or smells bad.
More about harmful algal blooms: https://www.epa.gov/nutrientpollution/harmful-algal-blooms
More on EPA’s work in Louisiana: https://www.epa.gov/la
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About EPA Region 6: https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-6-south-central
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