Over the past few years, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) Division of Water Quality has been proactive in forecasting and identifying harmful algal blooms (HAB), events in which cyanobacteria over-compete due to a disturbance like changes in nutrients or water temperatures and therefore produce harmful toxins and green algal coverage on waterbodies.
To forecast HAB events, DEQ employs a CB-450 Data Buoy system approach in which the agency strategically places monitors around Utah Lake and two nearby reservoirs to measure a range of water quality parameters, including turbidity, dissolved oxygen, pH, specific conductivity, water temperature, chlorophyll a, and phycocyanin, that act as early warning systems for blooms. The HAB Network streams this information every 15 minutes, providing the agency with real-time ambient water quality data. DEQ also strives to educate the public about HABs and coordinate with other agencies on response mechanisms.
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