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A structured decision-making framework for managing cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms in New York State parks

July 1, 2022

Cyanobacteria are increasingly a global water-quality concern because of the potential for these organisms to develop into potentially harmful blooms that affect ecological, economic, and public health. Cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (CyanoHABs) can lead to a decrease in water quality and affect many of the recreational and ecological benefits of parks that include lakes. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) is a State agency within the New York State Executive Department charged with the operation of State parks and historic sites. Many New York State parks include lakes or other freshwater bodies, which can be susceptible to CyanoHABs. The OPRHP faces difficult decisions regarding prevention of and response to CyanoHABs. The U.S. Geological Survey partnered with the OPRHP and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to develop a structured decision-making template for managing CyanoHABs in OPRHP parks. Two parks, Moreau Lake State Park and Rockland Lake State Park, served as case studies to motivate and test the template. This report describes how the principles of structured decision making can be used to navigate the challenges associated with managing CyanoHABs in OPRHP parks. Management objectives and strategies for CyanoHABs in parks are described, strategies to evaluate consequences and manage tradeoffs are discussed, and potential challenges to the implementation of preferred alternatives are considered. General guidance is provided so the OPRHP can undertake the structured decision-making process for CyanoHABs in any of its parks. In addition, this report represents the first effort to create a strategy for applying decision analysis tools to the complex natural resource challenge of CyanoHAB mitigation and management. The case studies and template are intended to serve as an example that natural resource managers faced with CyanoHABs challenges can use to inform their decision-making processes.

Publication Year 2022
Title A structured decision-making framework for managing cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms in New York State parks
DOI 10.3133/sir20225053
Authors Jennifer L. Graham, Gabriella M. Cebada Mora, Rebecca M. Gorney, Lianne C. Ball, Claudia Mengelt, Michael C. Runge
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2022-5053
Index ID sir20225053
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization New York Water Science Center