Mobile Bay Tool

Full Title: Expansion of www.mymobilebay.com for coastal Alabama resource management

Lead Investigator (Institution): Renee Collini (Dauphin Island Sea Lab) rcollini@disl.org

Co-investigators (Institution): Brian Dzwonkowski (University of South Alabama, Dauphin Island Sea Lab)

Technical Monitor: Grace Gray (grace.gray@noaa.gov)

Award Amount: $720,000

Award Period: June 1, 2017 – May 31, 2020

Summary: Effective management of coastal estuaries requires real-time and historical knowledge of water quality such as salinity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and water clarity. Resource managers and stakeholders can use web-based tools that integrate this water quality data to inform decision-making in coastal waters such as when to close oyster harvesting areas due to poor water quality. Unfortunately, many Gulf of Mexico coastal regions lack web-based tools that effectively integrate available real-time and historical water quality data. However, decision-makers in Alabama have access to the Alabama Real-time Coastal Observing System (ARCOS) which provides high-quality, system wide, continuous real-time water and weather observations in a user-friendly web-based portal, www.mymobilebay.com. The work conducted by Ms. Collini and Dr. Dzwonkowski will extend the spatial and temporal coverage for ARCOS and www.mymobilebay.com and add more measures of water quality. This will enhance the usefulness of ARCOS for resource managers by providing them with additional information critical to making decisions about living coastal and marine resources in coastal Alabama. Specifically, the improvements to the ARCOS network will include upgrading four older observing stations to enhance reliability and provide real-time water clarity data and adding offshore real-time measurements of salinity, temperature and dissolved oxygen by upgrading an existing data collection site. Finally, this work will also support the use of www.mymobilebay.com by recreational and commercial users who rely on the data it provides for safe and efficient boating, fishing, and shipping.