EPA Region 7 Selects Three Kansas City Area Winners of 2021 Harmful Algal Blooms Video Challenge

LENEXA, KAN. (MARCH. 15, 2022) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 announced the winners of the 2021 “See a Bloom, Give It Room” Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) Video Challenge. The theme for this competition was urban waters located in the Kansas City, Missouri, metropolitan area. EPA selected first, second, and third prize winners who will split an $11,000 prize pool.

“Raising awareness about HABs will help communities across the Heartland identify potentially dangerous water bodies,” said EPA Region 7 Water Division Director Jeff Robichaud.

Kirby Hills of Kearney, Missouri, submitted the first place video and will receive a prize of $6,000. Hills grew up in Missouri and enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, including fishing and kayaking around the Smithville Lake area. His video titled “Avoid Harmful Algal Blooms While Fishing” explains the importance of keeping yourself safe by staying a safe distance from HABs.

LeAnn Hiserote of Kansas City, Missouri, submitted the second place video and will receive a prize of $3,000. Her video titled “How to Protect Your Pet From Harmful Algal Blooms” emphasizes the importance of keeping pets safe from HABs.

Laura Hills of Kearney, Missouri, submitted the third place video and will receive a prize of $2,000. Her video titled “Beware of Algal Blooms” provides a spooky and creative take on the dangers of HABs.

EPA will highlight these winning videos on EPA’s web and social media channels. The videos also will be used by the Agency and its state environmental partners in HAB safety outreach efforts.

Information about the 2021 Video Challenge, helpful HAB resources, and the winning videos can be found on EPA’s website.


Certain environmental conditions in water bodies can intensify algae growth, causing algal blooms. Blooms with the potential to harm human health or aquatic ecosystems are referred to as harmful algal blooms or HABs. In freshwater systems, cyanobacteria (also called blue-green algae) are microorganisms that can produce HABs. Some cyanobacterial HABs, or cyanoHABs, can produce toxins. CyanoHABs and their toxins can harm people, animals, aquatic ecosystems, the economy, drinking water supplies, property values, and recreational activities, including swimming and commercial and recreational fishing.

Media Contact Information

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