OA Outreach, Legislation, Research, and Monitoring in the Mid-Atlantic
Knowledge of OA and work to monitor and counter it is growing in Maryland and Virginia, in part through the work of Global Ocean Health. In January, GOH advisor Todd Capson presented at the annual conference of the Maryland Watermen’s Association on the impacts of OA in the Pacific Northwest and the steps taken by shellfish growers to address it. He also reported on NOAA data showing that the waters of the Chesapeake Bay sometimes experience values of aragonite saturation state that are as low as any encountered on the U.S. West Coast.
In February, both Capson and GOH Director Brad Warren participated in the Carbonate Chemistry Workshop for Virginia Shellfish Producers, an event supported by Virginia Sea Grant and led by Dr. Dave Kuhn of Virginia Tech. GOH played a key role in helping draft the proposals for this work.
Taking a cue from the Washington State Blue Ribbon Panel on OA, Maryland Delegate Eric Luedtke, D-Montgomery, is sponsoring a bill requiring the Maryland Department of the Environment to evaluate probable effects of OA on state waters, recommend how to address the problem, and issue a report in 2015. Luedtke stressed the importance of developing a state government strategy to deal with the consequences of OA in a state so dependent on its waters and seafood.
In mid-March, the Alliance for Coastal Technologies (ACT) and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center convened experts from throughout the US for a workshop in Edgewater, Maryland. The gathering aimed to assess the science required to understand OA in the Chesapeake Bay, the largest and one of the most complex and productive estuaries in North America. The workshop documented the state of the science and identified current monitoring assets, data sources, and data gaps regarding measuring and monitoring carbonate chemistry in order to design a Chesapeake Bay monitoring network.
In addition to presentations and group discussions of four key questions, participants also visited the Global Change Research Wetland and the ACT instrument test platform and pH sensor verification deployments off the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory Research Pier. The project is supported by funds from NOAA IOOS and is being coordinated with the NOAA OA Program. The Ocean Acidification Report will feature results from this event in its next issue.