Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act
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 1960s with over 300 coastal systems now impacted.
A 2006 study shows 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.
In 1998, Congress recognized the severity of these threats and authorized the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act (HABHRCA 1998; embedded in Public Law 105-383). The Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2004 (HABHRCA 2004, Public Law 108–456) and 2014 (HABHRCA 2014, Public Law 113–124) reaffirmed and expanded the mandate for NOAA to advance the scientific understanding and ability to detect, monitor, assess, and predict HAB and hypoxia events.
Interagency Working Group
The Interagency Working Group on HABHRCA (IWG-HABHRCA) is tasked with coordinating and convening Federal agencies and their stakeholders to discuss HAB and hypoxia events in the United States, and to develop action plans and assessments of these situations. NOAA co-chairs the IWG-HABHRCA with EPA. Other member agencies include:
HABHRCA 1998 and 2004 authorized funding for intramural research and for competitive research programs on HABs and hypoxia:
HABHRCA 2014 – Required
- HAB and Hypoxia Comprehensive Research Plan and Action Strategy
- Report on Implementation of the HAB and Hypoxia Action Strategy
- Great Lakes Hypoxia and HAB Integrated Assessment (Incorporated into the Research Plan and Action Strategy)
- Great Lakes HAB and Hypoxia Plan
- Progress Report on Northern Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia
HABHRCA 2004 – Submitted to Congress
- National Assessment of Efforts to Predict and Respond to Harmful Algal Blooms in U.S. Waters, 2007.
- Scientific Assessment of Marine Harmful Algal Blooms, 2008
- Scientific Assessment of Freshwater Harmful Algal Blooms, 2008
Based on Proceedings of the Interagency, International Symposium on Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Blooms (ISOC-HAB): State of the Science and Research Needs, also available as Cyanobacteria Harmful Algal Blooms: State of the Science and Research Needs
- Harmful Algal Bloom Management and Response: Assessment and Plan, 2008
Based on Research, Development, Demonstration, and Technology Transfer National Workshop Report: A Plan for Reducing HABs and HAB Impacts
- Scientific Assessment of Hypoxia in US Coastal Waters, 2010
HABHRCA 1998 – Submitted to Congress