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National Estuarine and Coastal Contaminant Trends 1986 to 2002

Gunnar G. Lauenstein, M. Jawed Hameedi and Adriana Y. Cantillo

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Silver Spring, Maryland

NOAA has developed and managed its National Status and Trends Program since 1984 to carry out environmental monitoring and assessment, and associated research, to provide data and information products that contribute toward an effective stewardship of the Nation's estuarine, coastal and Great Lakes resources. The principal components of the program have included long-term monitoring (the Mussel Watch Project); documentation of contaminant residues in fish and measures of adverse biological effects (Benthic Surveillance Project); geographically comprehensive regional assessments to determine the nature and extent of sediment toxicity and its associated adverse biological effect (Bioeffects Assessment Project). A significant new effort is underway to compile and organize the program's data and make them accessible to users via Internet from a NOAA website (NSandT.NOAA.GOV).

The Mussel Watch Project has quantified organic and trace element contaminants at over 300 sites nationwide with approximately 200 core sites providing sufficiently long-term data to determine temporal trends. For the major of the sites, no trends were found for either trace elements or organic contaminants. When trends were found they were primarily decreasing and were more prevalent for organics contaminants than for trace elements. Total-Chlordane, DDT and its metabolites, and butyltins and its metabolites had numerous sites exhibiting decreasing trends. To a lesser extent decreasing trends were also found for lindane, aldrin and dieldrin, PCBs; and total-PAHs may have also be decreasing at certain locations. While both increasing and decreasing trends were infrequent for hexachlorobenzene and mirex, increasing trends did outnumber decreasing trends.

Keywords: monitoring, Mussel Watch, PCB, DDT, TBT, PAH

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