An Overview of Chemical Contaminants Throughout the Coastal and Estuarine United Statesby B. William Gottholm, Natl Oceanic and Atmospheric, Administration, Rockville, United States,
Michelle R. Harmon, Natl Oceanic and Atmospheric, Administration, Rockville, United States,
Abstract: Informed decisions on the use and management of the nation's coastal resources require convenient access to current and reliable information. In 1984, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) initiated the National Status and Trends (NS&T) Program for Marine Environmental Monitoring. The primary purpose of this program is to monitor chemical contamination in sediments and in tissues of mollusks and fish and biological responses to contamination at over 300 sites throughout the coastal and estuarine waters of the United States. For the past several years, NOAA's Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA) Division has been developing a series of desktop information systems to aid in environmental assessments of coastal and oceanic resources. In 1991, the NS&T Program, with assistance from SEA's Decision Support Systems Branch, initiated an effort to develop a Macintosh microcomputer-based desktop information system to map, display, and organize its national and regional data. This paper describes the NS&T Desktop Information and Mapping system and how it is used to compare contaminant levels among NS&T sites in a coastal region and how levels at such sites can be compared with levels from sites over larger geographic scales. In addition to spatial distributions of contamination, temporal trends can also be displayed for any selected combination of sites and contaminants.
Subject Headings: Information systems | Chemicals | Estuaries | Environmental issues | Pollution | Seas and oceans | Pollutants | Coastal management | Mapping | Federal government | North America | United States
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