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Title: From Marshes to the Continental Shelf: Results of the Western Component of the US EPA National Coastal Assessment

Author: Nelson, W. G.; Lee, H. II; Lamberson, J. O.;

Date: 2006

Source: In: Aguirre-Bravo, C.; Pellicane, Patrick J.; Burns, Denver P.; and Draggan, Sidney, Eds. 2006. Monitoring Science and Technology Symposium: Unifying Knowledge for Sustainability in the Western Hemisphere Proceedings RMRS-P-42CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 319-325

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: The National Coastal Assessment of the US EPA began field work in the Western US in 1999-2000. Probabilistic sampling for biotic and abiotic condition indicators was conducted at 381 stations within estuaries and coastal embayments of Washington, Oregon and California. In 2002, intertidal and low salt marsh habitats were sampled at an additional 190 stations. As part of the intertidal effort, pilot evaluations of landscape indicators of coastal wetland condition were carried out in California. Pilot studies were also conducted in south central Alaska and in the Hawaiian Islands. In 2003, sampling for many of the same condition indicators was conducted on the continental shelf of the west coast from the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Mexican border. By 2003, NCA-West had completed the field work for assessing the condition of soft sediment, estuarine habitats including low salt marsh, intertidal flats, and subtidal bottom, as well as continental shelf habitats down to a depth of 120 m, for the entire west coast. During summer 2004, NCA-West re-sampled estuarine systems of WA, OR, CA, AK, HI and conducted pilot sampling in the territory of Guam. NCA-West data will ultimately provide area estimates of western coastal, soft-sediment benthic habitat (exclusive of beaches) with degraded benthic conditions due to the impacts of sediment contaminants and other stressors. Results from the 1999-2000 survey for condition indicators indicate that only a small percentage of area of Western estuaries has levels of sediment contamination of either metals or organic compounds potentially toxic to benthic organisms. Water quality indicators for Western estuaries were generally good, although PO4 was high at many sites, perhaps due to natural factors. Nonindigenous species may be a more spatially widespread form of disturbance to benthic infaunal communities than sediment chemical contaminants, although the ecological consequences of these invasions are not yet known.

Keywords: monitoring, assessment, sustainability, Western Hemisphere, sustainable management, ecosystem resources, National Coastal Assessment

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Citation:


Nelson, W. G.; Lee, H. II; Lamberson, J. O. 2006. From Marshes to the Continental Shelf: Results of the Western Component of the US EPA National Coastal Assessment. In: Aguirre-Bravo, C.; Pellicane, Patrick J.; Burns, Denver P.; and Draggan, Sidney, Eds. 2006. Monitoring Science and Technology Symposium: Unifying Knowledge for Sustainability in the Western Hemisphere Proceedings RMRS-P-42CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 319-325

 


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