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News Releases from Region 09

U.S. EPA awards almost $1 million to San Jose State University for research on combating harmful algal blooms

To protect U.S. waters, over $6 million for research awarded nationwide

Contact Information: 
Soledad Calvino (

SAN FRANCISCO — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took another step to address the environmental challenges posed by harmful algal blooms (HABs) by announcing $999,999 in funding to the San Jose State University Research Foundation. Their research will focus on how to prevent and control HABs using runoff treatment systems to reduce nutrient discharges from farms. This grant is part of $6,487,188 million awarded nationally to seven institutions. With today’s announcement, EPA under President Trump has awarded more than $8.5 million in grant funding for research on reducing excess nutrients in watersheds.

“Harmful algal blooms are a serious and persistent problem across all 50 states that can have severe impacts on human health, the environment, and the economy,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “By expanding our knowledge of how to control and prevent the occurrence of these blooms, we can better protect our watersheds—especially our drinking water sources and recreational waters.”

“Harmful algal blooms clog waterways and release toxins that harm people, animals, aquatic ecosystems and drinking water supplies in California communities,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud. “We are proud to help advance the progress of San Jose State’s research on preventing and controlling these damaging blooms.

San Jose State University Research Foundation in San Jose, Calif., will use today’s funding to demonstrate the effectiveness of farm runoff treatment systems in reducing nutrient discharges to coastal waterways. The project, funded through EPA’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Program, will also provide a blueprint for scaling up treatment systems within two key agricultural watersheds of Monterey Bay.

"With this support from EPA, San José State University and its School of Marine Science at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories will be able to build on our experience as leaders in assessing ocean health," said SJSU College of Science Dean Michael Kaufman. "We are excited to participate in this new research to measure the connections between agricultural runoff and harmful algal blooms, and to identify sustainable agricultural practices that will lead to better ocean conditions."

As part of Administrator Wheeler’s focus on addressing our nation’s pressing water issues, preventing and mitigating excess nutrients in our waters -- and the HABs that they can create -- is one of EPA’s highest priorities. In 2020 alone, EPA has awarded Small Business Innovation Research funding to companies developing technologies to better detect HABs, released draft nutrient criteria for lakes and reservoirs, and announced an award of more than $2 million in funding to help states implement plans that reduce excess nutrients and improve water quality in the Mississippi River/Atchafalaya River Basin. Today’s award marks the largest research grant to date to support a nation-wide effort to prevent and control HABs.

The additional six recipients receiving STAR funding for HABs include:

  • Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Okla.
  • University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho.
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Ill.
  • University of South Florida, Tampa, Fla.
  • Washington University, St. Louis, Mo.
  • Water Research Foundation, Alexandria, Virginia.


HABs are overgrowths of algae in water that have the potential to harm human health and aquatic ecosystems. There are several factors that can cause HABs to develop, including excess nitrogen and phosphorous in waterways.

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For more information on the EPA’s HABs research:

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