Extreme natural events, such as hurricanes, earthquakes and floods, cause major stress on the natural environment. Difficult to predict and impossible to stop, extreme events are some of the most challenging issues facing coastal resource managers. To assess and monitor a variety of extreme events, CCMA’s Coastal Ocean Assessment Status and Trends Team partners with several other NOAA agencies, including the National Weather Service, National Data Buoy Center, Coastal Services Center, and the National Ocean Service’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services.
CCMA also works with NOAA's Coast Survey Development Lab on understanding harmful algal blooms (HABs). HABs are dangerous to public health and can be devastating to local fisheries. CCMA scientists use satellite imagery to better predict the occurrence, trajectory, and potential landfall of HABs. They then can quickly notify concerned managers and state agencies, such as the Florida Fish and Wild Game Commission, when an HAB event is predicted.
Other CCMA efforts address hurricanes and how they affect contaminated coastal runoff, excessive freshwater inflow, and major turbidity that would affect the distribution of contaminants and biota in coastal waters. CCMA's ongoing study of the St. Lucie Estuary in Florida examines the impact of large freshwater releases from Lake Okeechobee into the estuary. CCMA scientists are determining how these releases are affecting the estuary's environmental quality and the condition of the fish that live there.