U of M receives grant to help study algal blooms in the Great Lakes

Courtesy:  Senator Carl Levin’s Office

WASHINGTON — Researchers at the University of Michigan will receive a federal grant of $653,097 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to develop tools to predict water quality and forecast harmful algal blooms (HABS) in the Great Lakes, U.S. Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow announced Tuesday. The grant will also support outreach activities to let the public know about the presence of HABS.

“When I was a member of the Detroit City Council, I helped pass the first local phosphorus restrictions,” Levin said. “We are still fighting harmful algal blooms today, and this grant will help make that fight more effective.”

“The Great Lakes are critical to Michigan’s economy and our way of life,” said Stabenow. “This grant will help University of Michigan researchers develop tools to better understand the effects algal blooms have on our Lakes and help prevent future blooms like the one that recently contaminated drinking water in Southeast Michigan.”

Harmful algal blooms occur when blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, grow rapidly due to a combination of warm water temperatures, high nutrient levels such as phosphorus and nitrogen, and sunlight. HABS contain toxins that can kill fish, foul coastlines, and pose health risks to humans.

Levin is co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force and Stabenow is one of the vice-chairs of the task force.