Hopeful for Further Progress for our Blueways
The ILWA recently dedicated significant time and energy working with the City of Worcester under the 'Blueways' initiative and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) to submit a grant application that will use our experiences at Indian Lake to not only improve management and response to potential harmful algae blooms at Indian Lake but to develop processes that will help all our local waterways and serve as a model for other municipalities. Detail on the grant is below. The grant will be awarded in the next couple of months. Keep your fingers and toes crossed!!
Section 604b of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) authorizes the awarding of funds through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to states for water quality assessment and management planning grants. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection expects to receive approximately $180,000 in 604b funds from EPA for FY17 for disbursement to eligible projects.
The City of Worcester has submitted a grant application under the "water quality assessment and management planning" projects for which 604b funds are sought to include:
- Creation of a set of tools to forecast cyanobacteria blooms in Worcester's lakes and ponds
- Development and public education of a City Harmful Algal Bloom Detection and Response plan
- Drafting of novel recommendations for the prevention of harmful algal blooms at Indian Lake
- Building of a framework to replicate the above-mentioned tools in other municipalities throughout the region
If awarded, this grant will provide funding for the monitoring of water quality parameters at Indian Lake, and the analysis of these results by a Worcester Polytechnic Institute graduate student to create the abovementioned tools with the City of Worcester. The City will work closely with the University, contractors and the Indian Lake Watershed Association to realize the project over 18 months beginning in January of 2018.
These projects are expected to put the City of Worcester in a better position to prevent, predict and respond to harmful algal blooms in the future, thereby reducing their frequency and the City's response time and ultimately reducing human exposure to harmful cyanotoxins. In doing so, Worcester will be creating a replicable framework that accounts for diverse lake characteristics, and that can be applied in other municipalities throughout the region.