Rapid Response Strategy for Potential Toxin Exposures from HABs in Coastal and Shoreline Areas of National Parks

Primary Investigators

USGS Investigators: Jennifer Graham

NPS Investigators: Jamie Kilgo

Project Details

Start Year: 2021

Category: Intensive

2021 2022 2023
$100,000 $100,000 $100,000

In 2018, National Park Service (NPS) Regional Natural Resource Chiefs identified harmful algal blooms (HABs) as a priority management issue in marine and Great Lakes parks. HABs can decrease water clarity, hinder visitor enjoyment, obstruct water treatment systems, and clog boat motors. However, the greatest concerns are that (1) blooms can produce toxins that can affect the health of a wide range of aquatic and terrestrial organisms, including humans (Backer and others, 2015; Backer & Mcgillicuddy, 2006), and (2) researchers have an incomplete understanding of the environmental fate and transport of these toxins.

This proposal aims to address the following critical management needs identified by parks nationwide:

  • Cost-effective monitoring tools to allow parks to identify potentially toxic HABs.
  • The data and information necessary to establish thresholds for management and mitigation.
  • Rapid assessment protocols for timely and effective management response, such as closures or advisories.
  • Increased collaboration and data-sharing between parks experiencing HAB issues.