Using new tools to better understand and predict harmful cyanobacterial algal blooms (HABs) at Ohio Lake Erie and inland beaches
Using new tools to better understand and predict harmful cyanobacterial algal blooms (HABs) at Ohio Lake Erie and inland beaches In Ohio, local health officials and state agencies have identified the presence toxins associated with harmful algal blooms (HABs) caused by cyanobacteria during the summer and early fall seasons at recreational and water-supply lakes. The USGS, in cooperation with partner organizations, is monitoring recreational beaches and swimming areas in Ohio to better understand the link between cyanobacteria community structure, environmental and water-quality factors, and bloom toxicity. Samples are analyzed for physical water-quality characteristics, concentrations of nutrients and cyanotoxins, and phytoplankton abundance and community structure. Two new analytical methods will be tested for possible inclusion in an early warning system for toxin production: (1) chlorophyll and phycocyanin concentration measured by optical sensors and (2) cyanobacterial genetic structure, including the presence of toxin genes, determined with quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR).
> Donna Francy,
Hydrologic and Hydraulic Analyses flood-study program
A priority component of the USGS mission is providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth and minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters and enhance and protect our quality of life. Flooding affects many Ohio communities, and floods cost more in lives and property damage than all other natural hazards combined. This program employs hydrologic and hydraulic analyses to determine water-surface elevations associated with specific flood magnitudes at several points along a stream channel. The water-surface elevation data are used together with land-surface elevation data to determine and map the corresponding spatial extent of flood inundation. In some cases, libraries of flood-inundation maps are prepared for stream channels near USGS streamgages at which the National Weather Service (NWS) forecasts flood levels. In those cases, the NWS forecasts can be used in advance via map-based Web applications (for example, see http://wim.usgs.gov/FIMI) to determine areas that are likely to flood at the forecasted levels. These studies and tools serve as a foundation for making science-based decisions to better manage flood risk and efforts to mitigate flood impacts.
> David Straub, firstname.lastname@example.org
Natural background methane in Ohio aquifers: Occurrence, isotopic characteristics, and relation to arsenic concentrations
Arsenic is odorless and tasteless and can enter drinking-water supplies from natural deposits in rock and soil. In some parts of Ohio, arsenic concentrations in groundwater have exceeded the arsenic drinking-water standard of 10 parts per billion that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set to protect consumers from the effects of long-term, chronic exposure to arsenic(U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2012).The USGS is investigating arsenic concentrations in water from domestic wells in southwestern and central Ohio as part of a broader effort to understand which areas in Ohio are most vulnerable to contamination from naturally occurring arsenic, as well as methane (a colorless, tasteless, and odorless gas that can be flammable and can displace oxygen in a confined space, causing asphyxiation). The USGS has also investigated the effectiveness of arsenic treatment methods in domestic wells.
> Mary Ann Thomas, email@example.com
Nutrients and Sediment in the Western Lake Erie Basin
Nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) from urbanization and agriculture practices are a concern in the Western Lake Erie Basin watersheds in northwestern Ohio. Large inputs of nitrogen and phosphorus compounds into a stream or lake can cause algal blooms (excessive algal growth) and may cause taste and odor problems in water supplies. When blooms die, dissolved oxygen concentrations are depleted, which can cause stress for aquatic organisms. Daily, seasonal, and annual nutrient and sediment loads from the seven tributaries of the Maumee River to Lake Erie will be quantified and the nature of sediment particles in transport as compared to the particles in the bed material will be characterized to determine the scope of nutrient and sediment loads from Maumee tributaries
> Donna Runkle, firstname.lastname@example.org