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Ocean Champions: Political Champions for Ocean Conservation

Dear Friend,

Those words are not from the trailer of the latest summer sci-fi blockbuster movie. Those are headings from reports of an unprecedented toxic harmful algal bloom extending from Santa Barbara, California to Alaska. Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are the high concentration of certain single celled plants in the ocean that produce toxins that spread into the marine ecosystem and can harm fish, shellfish, marine mammals, seabirds and humans. HABs occur naturally, but human activities play a role in the increased occurrence of some blooms. Increased nutrient runoff and pollution, introduced species, water flow changes, and climate change have all been implicated.

What is also epic is the amount of research being conducted on this HAB event. In Monterey Bay area alone, teams of researchers, funded by NOAA’s Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (ECOHAB) are developing tools to understand what triggers these events. Accurate knowledge of blooms will allow coastal managers to better forecast the occurrence, longevity, and impacts they will have on wildlife, human health and economies. In Washington State, NOAA funding is supporting the research to discover the extent and timeframe of this outbreak, which will be critical for warning the public during the popular razor clam harvesting season this fall.

Funding for this and other HABs related research and monitoring was authorized for another four years when President Obama signed the HABs bill into law last summer. Ocean Champions will continue to work with champions on the Appropriations Committees to ensure that this law is well funded, ensuring continued research and solutions. Many of our champions in Congress are voicing their concern and want to strengthen this law to better understand, predict, prevent and mitigate harmful algal blooms. Stay tuned as our work and champions on the Hill moves this forward.

For the oceans,

David Wilmot, Ph.D.
President and Co-Founder

P.S. Your support enables us to continue to fight for clean coastal water on Capitol Hill. Donate to Ocean Champions today!

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