State/National/WorldNews Briefs

U.S. Senate committee holds hearing on algae blooms

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Dangerous algae blooms in Florida was the center of a legislative discussion in the nation’s capitol on Aug. 28, as members of the U.S. Senate’s Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee held a hearing on the environmental phenomenon.

Algae bloom has reportedly hit Florida hard this summer. The National Marine Manufacturers Association, or NMMA, reported the state “is currently facing an unprecedented algae event.”

The phenomenon, of course, is not limited to Florida. California has regularly experienced algae bloom events, both along its coast and at inland waterways.

Diamond Valley Lake in Riverside County, for example, just re-opened its marina and waterway after dealing with an algae bloom event.

The prospect of algae bloom was also an issue at Channel Island Harbor in Oxnard this summer, as Ventura County officials are still monitoring the water there for discoloration issues.

“A number of other states are experiencing harmful algae blooms and the problem continues to grow,” an NMMA report on the Aug. 28 U.S. Senate committee hearing stated. “The negative impact that toxic algae blooms have on the recreational boating community and marine businesses was mentioned by several witnesses and senators. Potential legislation that would assist in funding, research, and efforts to combat harmful algae blooms were also discussed during the hearing.”

An algae bloom event occurs whenever water temperatures become so warm as to create lower dissolved oxygen. Water is unlikely to hold any available oxygen in such circumstances, which makes it unhealthy for consumption and unsafe for marine life.

Photo: Kal Schimann, NOAA

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