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Coastal Hypoxia Research Program (CHRP)

Over half of U.S. estuaries experience natural or human-induced hypoxic conditions at some time each year and new evidence (Diaz & Rosenberg 2008) suggests that the frequency and duration of hypoxic events have increased exponentially over the last few decades. These hypoxic events can have large impacts on the affected ecosystems, often with economic repercussions. Hypoxia is now a persistent problem in the Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay, Lake Erie, Puget Sound, Narragansett Bay and many other freshwater and marine centers of recreational and commercial importance.

The objective of the CSCOR Coastal Hypoxia Research Program is to provide research results and modeling tools which will be used by coastal resource managers to assess alternative management strategies for preventing or mitigating the impacts of hypoxia on coastal ecosystems and to make informed decisions regarding this important environmental phenomenon. Determining the causes of hypoxia, developing the capability to predict its occurrence in response to varying levels of anthropogenic stress, and evaluating the subsequent ecological, economic, and social impacts are necessary to assess potential management alternatives.

Focus areas, needs and priorities for the CHRP program were identified from three recent national reports related to nutrient inputs, eutrophication and hypoxia in U.S. coastal waters: