National Coastal Assessment

Maryland DNR was awarded a 5 year grant from the US EPA in 2000 as part of the National Coastal Assessment initiative.  The current National Coastal Assessment is a two-year effort to survey the condition of the Nation's coastal resources by creating an integrated, comprehensive coastal monitoring program among the coastal states.  

The specific project objectives of the Maryland portion of the National Coastal Assessment are to assess the physical, biological, and chemical condition of Maryland’s coastal waters using a standardized suite of environmental indicators and rank the relative importance of various stressors on these resources.

 

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  •  Learn more about the sample designs (2000 - 2006) and what data has been collected in Maryland as part of this National project.

  • Learn more about the results of data collected in Maryland including water quality, benthic abundance, benthic index, sediment toxicity and sediment contaminant potential effects..

Maryland uses the Mid-Atlantic Integrated Assessment (MAIA) benthic index for interpreting benthic community data collected through NCA. Annual benthic reports are available through this link.

2000-2001 Ambient toxicity results are from Ampelisca tests done by EPA contract labs and show that sediments are not toxic for living resources.

Maryland is using the NOAA ambient effects threshold method of analyzing sediment chemistry results.  Sediment chemistry results indicate that sediment contaminants have a greater apparent impact in the St. Martin River, as well as Roy, Grey's, Herring, Turville and Newport Creeks.

Sample design and data collected in Maryland

Samples are typically collected in early to mid-August.

2000 - 2001 -- 54 fixed water quality, benthic community, sediment chemistry and sediment toxicity sites and 20 fish sites

2002     -- 124 random sites for water quality, benthic community and benthic chlorophyll.  54 fixed water quality sites and 20 fish sites maintained.

2003    --  152 random sites were sampled for water quality, benthic community and benthic chlorophyll.  54 fixed water quality sites and 20 fish sites maintained.

2004    --  54 fixed water quality, benthic community, sediment chemistry and  sediment toxicity and 20 fish sites (repeat of what was done in 2000 and 2001)

2005 - 2006    --  25 random sites distributed throughout Maryland (6 in the Coastal Bays and 19 in the Chesapeake) will be sampled for water quality, benthic community, sediment chemistry and sediment toxicity and fish will be monitored.

National Coastal Assessment - Maryland Coastal Waters  (.pdf file)
Agencies joint effort will evaluate the changing condition of Maryland coastal waters with a special focus on Maryland's Coastal Bays as part of a state-wide assessment for Maryland.

National Coastal Assessment Indicators

Physical-Chemical Dissolved Oxygen (mg l-1)
  Salinity (ISU)
pH (units)
Temperature (°C)
Water Depth (m)
Photosynthetically Active Radiation (mE)
Nutrients Nitrogen Species (mg l-1)
  Phosphorus Species (mg l-1)
Silicate Concentration (mg l-1)
Living Resources Phytoplankton (archive)
  Water Column Chlorophyll a (mg l-1)
Benthic Community Composition
Benthic Community Abundance
Fish Community Composition
Fish Community Abundance
Fish Pathologies
Fish Parasitism
Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) Abundance
Macroalgae Abundance
Exotic Species Occurrence
Contaminants  
Sediments Metals (mg kg-1see Table 4 for complete listing
Organics (mg kg-1see Table 4 for complete listing
Tissues Metals (mg kg-1see table 5 for complete listing
Organics (mg kg-1see table 5 for complete listing
Sediment Toxicity Bioassay (LD 50 et al.))
Turbidity Total Suspended Solids (mg l-1)
  Transmissivity (%)
Secchi depth (m)
Sediments Total Organic Carbon )(mg g-1)
  Silt/clay Percent (%)
Habitat Seagrass coverage


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