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Understanding Estuarine Condition - Research and Logistical Challenges for the 2010 National Survey

Barry Burgan

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water, Oceans and Coastal Protection Division, Washington , DC

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Research and Development, through the National Coastal Assessment (NCA) program, provided funding to coastal states from the early-1990s to 2006 to measure estuarine condition. EPA’s Office of Water Monitoring Initiative, provides about $8.5 million of Section 106 funds annually to states and tribes that are set aside specifically for statistically-valid surveys of the nation’s waters. In 2010, these funds will be provided to coastal states and tribes to measure coastal condition and every 5 years thereafter. Many logistical, research and policy decisions need to be made before the 2010 coastal surveys can begin. Some of the issues that need to be resolved are: identify current state capacity of staff and equipment; use of national/regional contracts; scope of reporting---estuary, state, regional or national; sampling design; sample frame—where and how many samples; use NCA indicators or new/additional indicators; include recent information on tidal break and estuary mouth; interface with wetlands sampling design; and coverage—Alaska, Great Lakes, Hawaii and Island Territories. EPA plans to establish a planning workgroup made up of representatives from coastal States, territories, National Estuary Programs along with EPA (ORD and OW) and other federal agencies in early 2008 to address these and other issues.

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