On January 28, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released results from the National Coastal Condition Assessment 2010, the latest in the National Aquatic Resource Survey series of nationwide assessments, each of which is to be repeated every five years. The other reports in the series were for wadeable streams (2004), lakes (2007), rivers and streams (2008-2009), and wetlands (2011). Sampling for the next wetlands conditions assessment is being done in spring and summer 2016.
The Coastal Conditions 2010 report is based on sampling in summer 2010 by EPA and other federal and state partners of 1,104 sites in U.S. coastal water and Great Lakes shoreline waters. Following is the summary of the report’s findings, from the EPA’s Jan. 28, 2016, news release on the report.
“Biological Quality is rated good in 56% of coastal and Great Lakes nearshore waters. Healthy communities of bottom-dwelling macroinvertebrates (such as worms and clams), which are indicators of biological quality, are supported in these waters.
Water Quality is rated fair in 48% of coastal and Great Lakes waters and good in 36% when measuring phosphorus, nitrogen, water clarity, chlorophyll a, and dissolved oxygen concentrations. The most widespread stressor for water quality is phosphorus.
Sediment Quality is rated good in 55% of coastal and Great Lakes nearshore waters based on low levels of sediment contaminants and sediment toxicity.
Ecological Fish Tissue Quality is rated good for less than 1% of the nation’s waters. This means there is a potential threat to the most sensitive predators (fish, birds, and wildlife) that consume fish in most waters.
Changes in conditions were mixed between 2005-2006 and 2010. Water quality remained unchanged, biological quality improved 17%, and sediment quality declined by 22%.”
EPA’s Web site for the 2010 Coastal Conditions Report is https://www.epa.gov/national-aquatic-resource-surveys/national-coastal-condition-assessment-2010-results.
The EPA’s Web site for all of the National Aquatic Research Surveys is https://www.epa.gov/national-aquatic-resource-surveys.
Source: EPA Releases Scientific Report Showing U.S. Coastal Waters a Mix of Good and Fair Health/Contaminants Post Threat to Fish, Birds, and Wildlife in Most Coastal Waters, U.S. EPA News Release, 1/28/16.
Graph summarizing findings of the National Coastal Conditions Assessment 2010, taken from the U.S. EPA’s slideshow on the report, accessed online at https://www.epa.gov/national-aquatic-resource-surveys/national-coastal-condition-assessment-2010-results, 5/4/16.
For a previous News Grouper post on the national streams assessment report, please see this March 2013 post.