Water is essential to life and water quality issues consistently top the list of Americans’ concerns about the environment. Monitoring and understanding water quality trends is critical to having the information needed to improve human and ecosystem health. Of equal importance is promoting and implementing best management practices that address land-based sources of pollution such as those from erosion and non-point sources.
- A recent multi-agency assessment of estuaries found a majority of estuaries showed signs of eutrophication and algal blooms strongly influenced by population growth and land use practices.
By implementing consistent protocols, reserves are in a position to detect regional and national trends over time, including larger scale drivers such as climate change. Reserves are able to couple long-term data from the System-wide Monitoring Program with additional research to better understand cause and effect relationships between practices in the watershed and water quality changes. Finally, reserves use real-time and archived water quality data to educate students and teachers about the factors influencing coastal water quality.
The Reserve System’s capabilities to monitor conditions, provide data, and improve scientific understanding at the local and regional levels to inform coastal management decisions supports the Resilient Coastal Communities and Economies goal in NOAA’s Next Generation Strategic Plan.
-- Bricker, S., B. Longstaff, W. Dennison, A. Jones, K. Boicourt, C. Wicks, and J. Woerner. 2007. Effects of Nutrient Enrichment in the Nation’s Estuaries: A Decade of Change. NOAA Coastal Ocean Program Decision Analysis Series No. 26. National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, Silver Spring, MD. 328 pp.
-- Gallup. 2011. Gallup 2011 Environment Poll