One of the new teams to emerge from GOMA’s 2015 restructure is the Water Resources Team, a combination of the former nutrients and water quality teams. The Water Resources Team  focuses on: hypoxia/nutrients, harmful algal blooms, freshwater in-flow, impaired/ non-impaired streams, and human health (pathogens/mercury).

The Team has four goals:

  • Protect human health, aquatic health, and economic health within the Gulf of Mexico by applying and advancing science and technology, improving education and overall environmental awareness, and enhancing partnerships.
  • Identify, prioritize, and pursue additional data and research needed to better characterize, understand, and reduce potential threats to human health or aquatic life
  • Identify linkages between water quality, water quantity, water resource sustainability, human health, aquatic health, and economic health
  • Support ongoing local, regional, national, and international efforts related to protecting and/or improving water resources within the Gulf of Mexico

The GOMA Water Resources Team is co-led by the State of Mississippi and the State of Texas, but has active participation from all five Gulf States and federal agencies working in the region, as well as academia, businesses, and non-profit organizations. Learn more about the Team’s focus areas and actions in Action Plan III.

Contact the Water Resources Team for details on scheduling of teleconferences and meetings. The Team’s next in-person meeting will be the 2020 All Hands Meeting in June. Contact a Team lead for information related to meetings and other engagements.

Team Mid-Year Meeting January 16-17, 2020

The Water Resources Team held a meeting the afternoon of January 16, 2020 at the Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel in Mobile, Alabama. A Harmful Algal Bloom session was held on Friday, January 17, 2020. Contact one of the Team’s leads for follow-up information.

Gulf Star 2017 Awards

  • Citizen Science Water Monitoring in the Florida Panhandle | University of Florida
    This project expands “Water Watch”, a community-based volunteer coastal water quality monitoring program, to three counties in the Florida panhandle and fills data gaps identified by local governments and organizations.
  • Louisiana Inshore to Offshore Water Monitoring | Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority
    Filling a critical water quality monitoring gap in coastal Louisiana, this project establishes a new monitoring transect from the coast into the open Gulf.  These data will improve understanding of baseline conditions for restoration, water quality dynamics, and changes in the Gulf dead zone.

Gulf Star 2016 Awards

  • Expansion of Harmful Algal Bloom Sensor Network | Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission
    This project expands the application of a handheld generic harmful algal bloom (HAB) sensor to other species of HABs.  This is important because it allows: (1) more timely confirmation of less toxic or nontoxic species to provide managers with definitive criteria for response decisions, and (2) a rapid, sensitive method for quantifying toxic species which are notoriously difficult to differentiate.
  • Additional Harmful Algal Bloom Gliders | University of South Florida
    This project deploys additional harmful algal bloom (HAB) observation gliders in order to identify, evaluate, and predict the initiation of blooms in northwest Florida, the most common location of initial development.  This information is critical for improving the seasonal forecast which can devastate commercial and recreational fishing opportunities.  The additional gliders are deployed and retrieved from existing research vessel missions in the area, keeping the costs low.
  • Nutrient Reduction Social and Civic Engagement Survey | Mississippi State University
    This project adds the states of Florida, Alabama, and Texas to an existing social and civic engagement survey being conducted by the Hypoxia Task Force to determine social values associated with reducing nutrients in stormwater runoff.  The Hypoxia Task Force is already conducting the survey for the states along the Mississippi River including Louisiana and Mississippi.  The information gained from the surveys are important because it can be used to institute incentives to reduce nutrients in stormwater runoff, which are the primary cause of the hypoxic (or dead) zone in the Gulf of Mexico each summer.

Team Tools and Publications

  • Resource Guide for Harmful Algal Bloom Toxin Sampling and Analysis - A white paper providing Gulf state managers guidance on harmful algal bloom toxin monitoring protocols in order to improve the efficacy and consistency of toxin assessments and response Gulf-wide.
  • White Paper on Gulf of Mexico Water-Quality Monitoring - (PDF, 2.0MB) Provides water-quality information to support informed resource management and public knowledge.
  • Round Robins - The Water Quality Team conducts field and analytical round robin events to identify variability in sampling techniques, equipment and standards.
  • Improved Methods for Recreational Water Quality Criteria - A white paper highlighting revisions to Environmental Protection Agency recreational water quality criteria, encouraging use of data that includes Gulf-specific conditions to reduce the risk to human health from exposure to coastal waters.
  • Mercury Fate and Transport - (PDF, 1.2MB) A model for understanding the cycle of mercury through the Gulf of Mexico food web to identify important sources and improve the ability to reduce the risk of mercury exposure.
  • Molecular Marker Registry - (XLS, 195kb) A central registry containing molecular markers from DNA and RNA found in contaminated waters.
  • Harmful Algal Blooms Observing System (HABSOS) - The Harmful Algal Blooms Observing System (HABSOS) website is a regional, web-based data and information dissemination tool. This website provides a secure data entry tool for collection of cell count observations of the algal species Karenia brevis.
  • Harmful Algal Bloom Forecasting System - The HAB Forecasting System provided by NOAA supplies information on the location, extent, and potential for development or movement of harmful algal blooms in the Gulf of Mexico.

Team Co-Chairs

  • Kim Caviness, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality
  • Jill Csekitz, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

Team Coordinator

  • Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality

Team Meeting Information

  • Contact your coordinator for any meeting notes or presentations.