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Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act

The Issue

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) and hypoxic events (severe oxygen depletion) are some of the most scientifically complex and economically damaging coastal issues challenging our ability to safeguard the health of our Nation’s coastal ecosystems. Almost every state in the U.S. now experiences some kind of HAB event and the number of hypoxic water bodies in the U.S. has increased 30 fold since the 1960’s with over 300 coastal systems now impacted.

A 2006 study showed that the economic impacts from a subset of HAB events in U.S. marine waters averaged to be $82 million/year (2005 dollars). However, just one major HAB event can cost local coastal economies tens of millions of dollars, indicating that the Nationwide economic impact of HABs is likely much larger

The Legislation

In December 2004, Congress recognized the severity of these threats and reauthorized the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act of 1998 (HABHRCA 1998) with the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Amendments Act of 2004 (HABHRCA 2004, Public Law 108-456). HABHRCA 2004 reaffirmed and expanded the mandate for NOAA to advance the scientific understanding and ability to detect, monitor, assess, and predict HAB and hypoxia events. It authorized funding intramural research and for existing and new competitive research programs on HABs and hypoxia:

HABHRCA 2004 also required a total of five interagency reports to address various aspects of HABs and hypoxia in U.S. waters.