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Comment published on 25 November 2019, see Water 2019, 11(12), 2482.
Open AccessArticle

An Ecological Function Approach to Managing Harmful Cyanobacteria in Three Oregon Lakes: Beyond Water Quality Advisories and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs)

1
USEPA Office of Research and Development, NERL, Systems Exposure Division (SED), Ecological and Human Community Analysis Branch, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA
2
USEPA Region IX, WTR2, 75 Hawthorne St., San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
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Aron Environmental Consulting, 5457 Marsh Hawk Way, Columbia, MD 21045, USA
4
Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology, University of Nevada, 1664 N. Virginia St., Reno, NV 89557, USA
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U.S. Dept. of the Interior Bureau of Land Management, Montana/Dakotas State Office, 5001 Southgate Drive, Billings, MT 59101, USA
6
University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, 14 Ave. Universidad, Ste. 1401, San Juan, PR 00925-2534, USA
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USEPA Office of Research and Development, NERL, Exposure Methods and Measurement Division (EMMD), Environmental Chemistry Branch, Las Vegas, NV 89119, USA
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USEPA Office of Research and Development, NERL, Systems Exposure Division (SED), Ecosystem Integrity Branch, Las Vegas, NV 89119, USA
9
Gulf Coast STORET, LLC, 11110 Roundtable Dr., Tomball, TX 77375, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(6), 1125; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11061125
Received: 4 April 2019 / Revised: 22 May 2019 / Accepted: 24 May 2019 / Published: 29 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advancing Knowledge on Cyanobacterial Blooms in Freshwaters)
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) uses Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) calculations, and the associated regulatory process, to manage harmful cyanobacterial blooms (CyanoHABs) attributable to non-point source (NPS) pollution. TMDLs are based on response (lagging) indicators (e.g., measurable quantities of NPS (nutrients: nitrogen {N} and phosphorus {P}), and/or sediment), and highlight the negative outcomes (symptoms) of impaired water quality. These response indicators belatedly address water quality issues, if the cause is impaired riparian functions. Riparian functions assist in decreasing the impacts of droughts and floods (through sequestration of nutrients and excess sediment), allow water to remain on the land surface, improve aquatic habitats, improve water quality, and provide a focus for monitoring and adaptive management. To manage water quality, the focus must be on the drivers (leading indicators) of the causative mechanisms, such as loss of ecological functions. Success in NPS pollution control, and maintaining healthy aquatic habitats, often depends on land management/land use approaches, which facilitate the natural recovery of stream and wetland riparian functions. Focusing on the drivers of ecosystem functions (e.g., vegetation, hydrology, soil, and landform), instead of individual mandated response indicators, using the proper functioning condition (PFC) approach, as a best management practice (BMP), in conjunction with other tools and management strategies, can lead to pro-active policies and approaches, which support positive change in an ecosystem or watershed, and in water quality improvement. View Full-Text
Keywords: cyanobacteria; ecological function; ecosystems; harmful cyanobacterial bloom (CyanoHAB); proper functioning condition (PFC); total maximum daily load (TMDL); non-point source (NPS); point source (PS); Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ); best management practice (BMP) cyanobacteria; ecological function; ecosystems; harmful cyanobacterial bloom (CyanoHAB); proper functioning condition (PFC); total maximum daily load (TMDL); non-point source (NPS); point source (PS); Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ); best management practice (BMP)
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Hall, E.S.; Hall, R.K.; Aron, J.L.; Swanson, S.; Philbin, M.J.; Schafer, R.J.; Jones-Lepp, T.; Heggem, D.T.; Lin, J.; Wilson, E.; Kahan, H. An Ecological Function Approach to Managing Harmful Cyanobacteria in Three Oregon Lakes: Beyond Water Quality Advisories and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs). Water 2019, 11, 1125.

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