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Nearshore Environmental Health


Studies of nearshore environmental health by the USGS focus on the interface between health and the environment, where interactions among people, the environment, and other living organisms affect the risk of toxicological and infectious disease. Understanding nearshore ecosystem health is complex, in part, because it is affected by a wide variety of environmental and anthropogenic stressors. The nearshore environment serves a variety of functions such as habitat for plants and animals as well as a variety of human activities. The introduction of contaminants can deteriorate these aquatic resources through degradation of ambient water quality. Contaminants introduced in this manner may accumulate in the sediments which become [...]


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A common objective of USGS studies is to document the occurrence, and characterize the sources and movement, of contaminants within the environment through the analysis of surface-water, groundwater, sediment, and tissue (fish/shellfish) quality. Such data give clues to researchers in their efforts to assess human and natural impacts on ecosystem health, determine changes in the event of a major storm, answer questions about sea-level rise, and understand environmental trends. The NYWSC serves local, State, and Federal government agencies and stakeholders by providing science to aid in the conservation, protection, and restoration of nearshore environments and communities. Some examples of current NYWSC programs include regional assessments of estuarine bed sediment for contaminants after Hurricane Sandy; regional characterization of wastewater contaminants introduced into estuaries via groundwater; the occurrence of insecticides in marshes used in mosquito-abatement programs; tissue-contaminant analysis of oysters, mussels, and fish; sediment toxicology; continuous monitoring of nitrogen concentration and other parameters in nearshore waterways; and pathogen monitoring through fecal indicator bacteria analysis at beaches.


  • USGS New York Water Science Center


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WRET Science Theme
WRET Science Topic


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