Working to Reduce Toxic Blue-Green Algal Blooms in Chesapeake Bay
NCCOS-sponsored researchers recently explored several promising techniques to mitigate toxic cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) blooms in the Chesapeake Bay region. The team focused on sediment-flocculation, in which local sediments and commercial clays are combined with the flocculating compound chitosan to sink and bury Microcystis cyanobacteria blooms.
Other techniques evaluated included post-bloom flushing and early spring deployment of barley straw (Hordeum vulgare) intended to limit bloom development and toxin concentrations. Preliminary results show the addition of phosphorus-binding chemicals works under conditions of high levels of dissolved inorganic phosphorus, but less so with low nutrient pools. These mitigation techniques are still being evaluated, but it is anticipated that the best of these methods will be transitioned into new coastal resource management strategies.
This study was led by the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science and the Chesapeake Research Consortium.
For more information, contact David.Kidwell@noaa.gov.