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National Monitoring Network for U.S. Coastal Waters and Tributaries

3-Region Water-Quality Workshop


A 3- region workshop was held in Baltimore, MD in Jan. 2010 to explore integrated science-based solutions to address major water-quality issues and management in regions supported by the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (MACOORA), the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS), and the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA).

Key issues:

  • Dissolved oxygen depletion (hypoxia) and nutrient enrichment: Nutrient loadings and dissolved oxygen depletion (hypoxia) are resulting in the loss of diversity and sustainability of living marine and coastal resources (i.e. finfish, shellfish, and habitat, such as eel grass and other sea grasses), and in economic losses (i.e. property values, tourism, commercial fisheries, and recreation) of the estuaries and oceans. A consistent process and comprehensive toolbox are needed that (1) incorporate continuous observations [in-situ and langrangian], and models, assessments, and communication tools; (2) address natural effects (climate) and anthropogenic sources (developed areas, agriculture, and point source discharge) on nutrient loadings; and, (3) that link terrestrial, estuarine, and coastal environments for holistic and adaptive ecosystem management.
  • Beach health: Issues relate to the timeliness of beach advisories and lack of consistent approaches for identifying sources, issuing advisories, and determining driving factors contributing to bacterial contamination. Development of decision support tools is needed for timely issuing of advisories/closures and identification of bacterial sources.
  • Harmful algal blooms: Blooms of algae can impact human health, fisheries, and various habitats. Advancements are needed in the development of criteria for species identification; understanding underlying causes of blooms; monitoring (such as with sensors and buoys); forecasting to protect public health; and communication among researchers, managers, and the public.