Evaluating Remedial Alternatives for Coastal Wetlands in New Bedford Harbor

by Mary Baker Matta, NOAA, Seattle, United States,
John Lindsay, NOAA, Seattle, United States,
L. Jay Field, NOAA, Seattle, United States,
Gayle Garman, NOAA, Seattle, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '93


The Acushnet River estuary in upper New Bedford Harbor is highly contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and metals. Portions of the industrialized estuary are bordered by wetlands, including one large fringing salt marsh covering more than 45 acres. Sediments containing PCB concentrations in excess of 500 parts per million (ppm) are found in localized areas of the wetland. Although application of the Wetland Evaluation Technique (WET) suggests that the wetland affords a number of functions with high values, the WET method does not specifically assess effects of contamination on wetland function. Areas of the wetland with highest concentrations of PCBs are on the fringe adjacent to the estuary and could be removed and restored without significant further degradation of the function of the wetland as a whole. Three target cleanup levels were evaluated to compare potential benefits of remediation with potential harm caused by the cleanup action.

Subject Headings: Wetlands (fresh water) | Wetlands (coastal) | Remediation | Ports and harbors | Ecological restoration | Water pollution | Industries | Sea water | Washington | United States

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