National Water Quality Program

Harmful Algal Bloom Funds

New projects from coast-to-coast will advance the research on harmful algal blooms (HABs) in lakes, reservoirs and rivers.  Vivid emerald-colored algal blooms are caused by cyanobacteria, which can produce cyanotoxins that threaten human health and aquatic ecosystems and can cause major economic damage.

In Fiscal Year 2019, Congress provided the National Water Quality Program (NWQP) with $819K in additional Cooperative Matching Funds (CMF) to assess HABs. In Fiscal Year 2020, Congress provided an additional $529K to support HABs CMF projects, for a total of $1.348M.

Continental US Map of USGS HABs Cooperative Matching Funds Projects locations

Locations of harmful algal blooms (HABs) Cooperative Matching Funds (CMF) projects.

The NWQP is funding projects, done in cooperation with state and local partners, to advance real-time monitoring, remote sensing, and the use of molecular techniques to identify and predict the occurrence of HABs and the toxins they may produce. These new approaches will provide information that can act as an “early warning” of HABs, assist water-treatment plant operators in decision making, and build our knowledge of the cyanobacterial communities that cause HABs and the cyanotoxins produced.

► Information about the 17 HABs CMF projects selected for funding in Fiscal Year 2020 is available here