Contact: Ben Sherman
NOAA News Releases 2005
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NOAA has awarded the University of Michigan $1.4 million to develop new approaches to improve management of excess nutrients and hypoxia within many estuarine systems across the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The award is the first installment of a five-year, approximately $2.3 million grant.

Hypoxia in aquatic systems occurs in waters where the dissolved oxygen concentration is below two milligrams per liter. Most organisms avoid or become physiologically stressed in such waters. While hypoxia can occur naturally, it is often a symptom of environments stressed by human impacts such as nutrient enrichment. More than half of U.S. estuaries experience natural or human-induced hypoxia at some time each year, and evidence suggests that its frequency and duration have increased. These events can affect ecosystems and their associated economies greatly.

This project will support research to integrate existing data and models within a framework which links together watersheds, estuaries, and their living resources to improve management of nutrient loading and hypoxia within many estuarine systems across the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Three major components related to estuary degradation as a result of nutrient enrichment will be investigated: the effects of land-use change in the watershed, estuary sensitivity, and susceptibility of the estuarine food web. This research is done in collaboration with scientists from Cornell University and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

“Research to develop models of land-use change on nutrient delivery to estuaries and analyze their eventual impacts to living resources is critically needed,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “NOAA’s partnership with the University of Michigan will help create the tools needed to better answer questions about estuary susceptibility to nutrient pollution loads and variation in the vulnerability of estuarine food webs. This work has the potential to be applicable to many estuarine systems across the United States.”

Each year, the NOAA Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research awards approximately $25 million in grants to institutions of higher education, state, local, and tribal governments, and other non-profit research institutions to assist NOAA in fulfilling its mission to study our coastal oceans. NOAA-sponsored competitive research programs such as CHRP demonstrate NOAA's commitment to its historic responsibilities of science and service to the nation for the past 35 years.

NOAA’s National Ocean Service is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving and restoring the nation’s coasts and oceans. It balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats and mitigating coastal hazards.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners and nearly 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

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