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EPA Region 7 Launches 2021 ‘See a Bloom, Give It Room: Urban Waters Edition’ Video Challenge

KCMO area citizens, NGOs, and educational institutions invited to submit videos that raise awareness about harmful algal blooms

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Ben Washburn (

Environmental News


HABs video challenge logo 2021(Lenexa, Kan., April 22, 2021) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 announced the launch of the 2021 “See a Bloom, Give It Room” Video Challenge. The theme for this year’s competition is urban waters located in the Kansas City, Missouri, metropolitan area. This competition is supported by EPA’s Office of Research and Development, and calls for videos that promote public awareness of harmful algal blooms through creative filmmaking.

“Urban green space is a terrific amenity for local neighborhoods, especially ones with lakes or ponds that promote healthy recreational activities like walking, biking or fishing,” said EPA Region 7 Water Division Director Jeff Robichaud. “However, harmful algal blooms commonly develop in these water bodies during the height of their use and can be dangerous to people and pets participating in recreational activities in the water. Winning entries from this video challenge will help EPA spread the word within our communities about the risks of harmful algal blooms and how to spot and steer clear of them.”

This challenge is open to any citizens over 18, companies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), or educational institutions from the following Missouri counties: Bates, Caldwell, Cass, Clay, Clinton, Jackson, Lafayette, Platte, and Ray.

To participate, eligible citizens or groups are asked to create a public safety video under two minutes in length that explains how to spot harmful algal blooms (HABs) and how people and their pets should be safe around them.

Videos must focus on informing the public about harmful algal blooms in urban water bodies (e.g., neighborhood or community lakes or ponds and natural streams) and how to be safe around them. In the video, challenge-solvers must highlight at least one or more groups that use the waters, such as swimmers, boaters, fishers, or people who bring pets to the waters. Videos should raise awareness about available local, state, or federal government resources for this issue. Applicants should strive to be creative, innovative and educational in their video content.

EPA will select first, second, and third prize winners who will split an $11,000 prize pool.

Winning videos will also be highlighted on EPA web and social media channels, and used by the Agency and its state environmental partners in HAB safety outreach efforts.

Information about the 2021 challenge, helpful HAB video resources, and instructions on how to submit videos for the challenge can be found on EPA’s website.

Submissions are due by Aug. 1, 2021.


Certain environmental conditions in water bodies can intensify algae growth, causing algal blooms. Blooms with the potential to harm human health or aquatic ecosystems are referred to as harmful algal blooms or HABs. In freshwater systems, cyanobacteria (also called blue-green algae) are microorganisms that can produce HABs. Some cyanobacterial HABs, or cyanoHABs, can produce toxins. CyanoHABs and their toxins can harm people, animals, aquatic ecosystems, the economy, drinking water supplies, property values, and recreational activities, including swimming and commercial and recreational fishing.

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