U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) today helped pass the bipartisan Coordinated Ocean Observations and Research Act to monitor, model and forecast changes in the ocean, including harmful algal blooms and hypoxia. The bill would also require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to collaborate with coastal stakeholders and utilize emerging technologies to improve harmful algal bloom forecasting.
“Accurately forecasting harmful algal blooms is critical to our fight to stop toxic discharges and prevent any more lost summers like we saw in 2018,” Rep. Mast said. “We still have a lot of work to do, but passing this legislation brings us another step closer to ending toxic discharges once and for all.”
Specifically, the Coordinated Ocean Observations and Research Act works to protect Florida’s oceans and waterways by:
- Monitoring and modeling changes in the oceans, including with respect to harmful algal blooms, hypoxia, water levels and other phenomena;
- Requiring NOAA to work with scientists, industry and coastal stakeholders to develop products that enable real-time data sharing of water quality monitoring and harmful algal bloom forecasting;
- Examining the effects of harmful algal blooms and hypoxia on ecosystems through the National Science Foundation’s ocean acidification program;
- Utilizing high frequency radar and other emerging technologies to improve harmful algal bloom forecasting and detection; and
- Requiring NOAA to submit a report to Congress identifying habitats that may be particularly vulnerable to corrosive sea water, including areas experiencing harmful algal blooms and hypoxia.
The legislation can be found here.