The Nutrient Bioextraction Initiative is a LINAP project funded by the EPA’s Long Island Sound Study program with participation by the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission.
Reducing nutrient inputs is a priority for many estuary programs in the United States, including Long Island Sound, Chesapeake Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico. By reducing nutrients in coastal waters, states and federal agencies hope to reduce widespread and recurring problems with algal blooms, loss of seagrass, and hypoxia (low dissolved oxygen). Nutrient bioextraction can complement existing programs (such as using advanced treatment methods to remove nitrogen from wastewater treatment plant sewage discharges into the Sound). It is the only method available to remove nitrogen after it has entered the Sound.
The mission of the Nutrient Bioextraction Initiative is to improve water quality in NY and CT marine waters by removing excess nitrogen through the cultivation and harvest of seaweed and shellfish. The Initiative will provide information to help decision makers with the guidelines needed to facilitate public and private seaweed and shellfish farming and harvest operations in their coastal waters by:
- Assessing the efficacy of and potential challenges involved in advancing seaweed and shellfish aquaculture to remove excess nitrogen loads from NY and CT surface waters;
- Actively reviewing and reporting on literature, permits, and policies; and providing recommendations to streamline the regulatory process;
- Developing a GIS-based tool to identify potential seaweed and shellfish aquaculture sites for bioextraction;
- Creating an interconnected workgroup of professionals and stakeholders that will work towards advancing bioextraction.
Bioextraction Advisory Committee
The Bioextraction Advisory Committee (BAC) is a small network of interdisciplinary researchers and experts in nutrient bioextraction, seafood safety, nutrient resource management, and shellfish and seaweed aquaculture working in federal, state, and local government agencies; academic institutions; non-profit organizations; and the aquaculture industry. The BAC stays up-to-date on the work on the Bioextraction Initiative through regular webinars and provides guidance and recommendations on projects in order to produce sound science that ultimately will be used to inform management decisions.