Wednesday, August 11, 2010

NOAA Grant To Study Green Bay Hypoxia

Aug 10: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that scientists researching the causes and effects of hypoxia in part of Lake Michigan in Green Bay, WI, have been awarded $348,037 for the first year of an anticipated four-year $1,367,300 project through NOAA's Coastal Hypoxia Research Program. Hypoxia within Green Bay has been a problem for decades, and recent evidence suggests that it may be worsening, with the potential for "dead zones" and fish kills to become both more frequent and more extensive with a changing climate.

    NOAA said that Green Bay is particularly vulnerable to hypoxia because one-third of the watershed of Lake Michigan drains into it, and it receives approximately one-third of the total amount of nutrients draining into the lake. A team of scientists from within the University of Wisconsin system (Milwaukee, Green Bay and Madison), the Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will evaluate watershed sources of nutrients, lake water stratification (the layering of the water by temperature that prevents dissolved oxygen from reaching bottom waters) and summertime wind conditions to develop a predictive model of potential changes in hypoxia relative to land use change and future climate change.

    Nicole Clayton, Wisconsin department of natural resources, impaired waters and total maximum daily load coordinator said, "These results will help us identify acceptable limits for nutrient levels in the water so we can begin to reduce hypoxia in Green Bay."  Robert Magnien, Ph.D., director of NOAA's Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research said, "This project is an excellent example of NOAA's efforts to provide actionable information to managers for ecosystem based management. The complexity of linking multiple processes in the watershed with those in Great Lakes and coastal waters demand new state-of-the art ecological forecasting tools that also incorporate climate change."

    Access a release from NOAA with links to additional information (click here).