This week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Centers for Coastal and Ocean Science (NCCOS) awarded $10.4 million to 10 coastal science research projects across the U.S. that focus on harmful algal blooms (HABs), hypoxia, and sea level rise. Among the recipients, a team of researchers, co-led by Dr. Mark Rowe at the University of Michigan’s Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research (CILER) and Dr. Craig Stow of NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL), received a $1.5 million grant through the NCCOS Coastal Hypoxia Research Program (CHRP) to develop a forecasting system to predict the location and movement of oxygen-depleted, or “hypoxic,” water in Lake Erie.
Episodes of low dissolved oxygen are common during the summer in the bottom water of the central basin of Lake Erie, a source of drinking water for millions of people in northwest Ohio. In order to avoid taste, odor, and discoloration problems, drinking water treatment processes require adjustment when hypoxic water enters treatment plants. The dissolved oxygen forecast model for Lake Erie will give advanced warning of events that are likely to cause changes in water quality at public water system intakes, providing time for drinking water managers to make appropriate preparations. Underwater sensor deployments will support the model by monitoring oxygen conditions, and will provide an unprecedented view of the complex lake dynamics that control the development and movement of hypoxic lake bottom water.
The 5-year project is in collaboration with the City of Cleveland Division of Water, Purdue University, and U. S. Geological Survey, with guidance from a management advisory group including representatives from Ohio public water systems, Ohio EPA, Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS), and NOAA.