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Sustaining ORHAB

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The overall goal of ORHAB was to implement a 5-year monitoring partnership utilizing the regional capacity and commitment that would sustain an expanded, long-term program of harmful algal bloom (HAB) monitoring and mitigation into the future without reliance on federal support.

Funding

ORHAB was formed to build regional capacity to reduce the devastating impacts of marine toxin outbreaks on coastal communities of the Olympic Peninsula. MERHAB recognized the potential of ORHAB's collaboration among federal, tribal, state, local agencies and the private organization when it offered support for a 5-year monitoring partnership. With short term assistance, ORHAB agreed to lay the groundwork for a permanent program of HAB monitoring and mitigation that would not rely on federal support. In acting as a catalyst for the creation of enduring HAB monitoring programs, MERHAB achieves multiple returns on its investment. Non-federal partners are brought together in ways that enhance the capacity of each. The data generated forms the basis for additional research endeavors. The local and regional capacities to make wise management decisions are broadened. Communities develop the knowledge and information to better determine their future.

ORHAB is completing its fourth year of work and will soon be self-sustaining. The Washington State Legislature recognized the value of ORHAB in 2003 by establishing a permanent source of funding for it. A small fee was added to the cost of recreational shellfish licenses to maintain the monitoring effort. Each year, these fees will contribute $150,000 to a special account managed by the University of Washington's Olympic Natural Resource Center(ONRC). ONRC was created by the Washington Legislature to promote scientific research that addresses the region's high priority natural resource issues. ONRC will use these funds to maintain ORHAB's coastwide sampling effort which collects data on toxins, environmental conditions, and plankton blooms. The two state agencies most involved in shellfish management-the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Health --will continue to rely on ORHAB data to understand more fully key changes in conditions along the coast. Both agencies have praised the ORHAB effort as one that shed enormous light on HAB outbreaks that previously were frustratingly unpredictable. ONRC has launched a public education and outreach effort to inform local residents and visitors about HAB impacts and the benefits of ORHAB monitoring. ONRC will soon take over the ORHAB website that allows citizens, constituents, businesses and industries on the coast to view the latest data gathered by ORHAB partners along the Washington coast.

Initial ORHAB Project Funding

NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
Monitoring and Event Response for Harmful Algal Blooms (MERHAB)

 

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