Protecting an Estuary from Floods - A Policy Analysis of the Oosterschelde

Vol. IV, Assessment of Algae Blooms, A Potential Ecological Disturbance

by James H. Bigelow, Joseph G. Bolten, James C. DeHaven

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The fourth volume in a series of reports describing the methodology and results of a joint research venture between RAND and the Netherlands Rijkswaterstaat. The POLANO project was founded to help the Dutch government analyze the different alternatives (open, closed, and storm-surge barrier cases) for protecting the Oosterschelde region from North Sea floods. Volume IV describes a mathematical model that was developed to estimate the risk of algae blooms and presents the results by applying the model to the present Oosterschelde and the different alternatives. When conditions are favorable to algae, the resulting bloom may deplete the water of oxygen and poison the fish and plants or clog filters in water systems. The model uses linear programming techniques to predict the maximum algae biomass that could occur, subject to various constraints on growth, such as the availability of nutrients.

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