The NCCOS Phytoplankton Monitoring Network,established to monitor phytoplankton and harmful algal blooms (HABs), is partnering with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to expand into the Western Basin of Lake Erie. Monitoring stations were selected with input from NOAA's Ecological Forecasting Services to provide strategic sites to support the NCCOS Lake Erie Experimental Forecast. Recently, the Lake Erie Forecast predicted an early and severe start to the bloom season, during which HABs have the potential to cause sickness in those exposed to contaminated water. A series of training workshops held in Toledo, Ohio and Monroe, Michigan trained volunteers in collection and identification techniques for freshwater harmful algal blooms.
Additional workshops, in collaboration with Michigan Sea Grant, are planned in August to broaden the human observing network to include Lake St. Clare, one of the potential initiation sites of harmful algal blooms. The expansion to the Great Lakes was funded by an Interagency Agreement between NCCOS and the Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds.
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