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Developing Complimentary Programs to Assess Monitoring Condition: The National Coastal Assessment and Oceans.US

J. Kevin Summers

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Research and Development,
National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory
Gulf Ecology Division
1 Sabine Island Drive
Gulf Breeze, FL 32561

The purpose of both the National Coastal Assessment (NCA) and Oceans.US (Ocean Observing Systems) is to estimate the status and trends of the condition of the coastal resources at multiple scales. NCA uses probabilistic surveys of ecological condition to assess condition at the NEP, state, regional and national scales during a critical time period. Ocean Observing Systems (DDS) use a combination of "found" data, real-time buoy systems, intensive sites, and remotely sensed data to ascertain ecological condition. NCA targets initial assessment, population estimation, reporting and trends. ODS focuses on site evaluations, understanding, and a greater time-frequency sampling. Obviously, both approaches are needed to assess, understand and manage coastal resources. From 1999-2003, 100% of the nation's estuarine waters (at over 4500 locations) were representatively sampled by NCA focusing on indicators and indices describing the benthic community, fish community, water quality, sediment and tissue contamination, sediment toxicity, and SAV extent/condition. In some areas of the country ODS has been active for a decade (e.g., Gulf of Maine); but as a national program, ODS is largely just beginning. How do we tailor these two programs to maximize their complimentary qualities? This question will be the focus of this presentation.

Keywords: NCA, Ocean.US, IDDS, monitoring, ecological condition

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