The Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment's mission is to assess and forecast coastal and marine ecosystem conditions through research and monitoring.
Located in Silver Spring, MD, the scientists of CCMA conduct field observations on regional and national scales. The center provides the best available scientific information for resource managers and researchers, technical advice, and accessibility to data. CCMA's science addresses five major environmental stressors: Pollution, Land and Resource Use, Invasive Species, Climate Change, and Extreme Natural Events. To learn more about our Center and what we do please click here for our one page fact sheet.
CCMA's Major 2010 Accomplishments Include:
- Coastal Marine Spatial Planning
We are supporting coastal and marine spatial planning by federal agencies, states and local communities across the U.S. Current work is geared towards mapping the distribution of high-priority ecological resources in the mid-Atlantic bight for the state of New York. In the past, CCMA has successfully helped numerous state agencies with their CMSP needs.
- Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Response
Three teams of scientists were mobilized to the Gulf Coast to collect data from our Mussel Watch Program sites before oil from the Deepwater Horizon Event (DHE) reached the shore. Fifty sites were visited and a post-landfall study is underway. We also participated in the assessment of the submerged oil plume resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
- Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring and Forecasting in Ohio
We completed the second year of their harmful algal bloom monitoring and forecasting demonstration project. This work is helping to support forecasting needs on Lake Erie for the Ohio EPA, Ohio State Parks and others. In 2010, users of the forecasting system increased from five to 100. In Maryland, CCMA scientists provided data for the Chesapeake Bay which is being used to find blooms.
The Integrated Online Mapper, or BIOMapper, was launched last year. Users can interactively view data, aerial imagery, dive photography, underwater video and related publications developed for resources in Puerto Rico, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Palmyra atoll in the Pacific, simply by clicking on the area of interest on a map. This interactive, web-based tool allows users to generate custom maps and pdf files as well.
- Ecological Characterizations
We collaborated with the Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research, to complete and publish newly collected data on fish, the seafloor, contaminants, and nutrients in coastal waters of Vieques, Puerto Rico. Data were analyzed in the context of historical land-use patterns and will serve as a baseline to compare future studies.
- Seafloor Mapping Outreach and Education
We successfully completed a seafloor mapping mission off the southern coasts of St. Thomas and St. John and hosted several outreach and education events to local fishermen, local elementary school students and teachers, and managers, political staff and the media.
- Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
We sampled 12 long-term Mussel Watch sites from the Detroit River eastward to the St Lawrence River and established an additional 12 sites in existing Areas of Concern (AOC). Results from the analysis of these samples will be used to assess the status and trends of chemical contaminants, and to assist decision makers in delisting AOCs.
- Alaska Native Seafood Analysis
We conducted assessments of contaminants in fish and shellfish species frequently used for food by Chugach Alaska Native communities. The aim of this study is to provide reliable chemistry and health data and information for local resource managers and Alaska Native people regarding subsistence fish and shellfish use and management needs.
- Puerto Rico Resource Management
Along with several partners, we completed and published analysis of a long-term data set that is intended to provide essential biological information to support decision making for future resource management in La Parguera Natural Reserve, Puerto Rico.
- Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership
We produced a tool that allows users to find bibliographic and other relevant information simply by pointing to an area on a map. They are also provided with key habitat conditions and threats. Details were published in a report.
- Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet, Alaska Studies
We completed our efforts to characterize the magnitude and spatial extent of contaminated sediment and toxicity in Kachemak Bay for the North Pacific Research Board. They also completed animal health studies in cooperation with the Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council.
- Harmful Algal Bloom Forecasting in Texas
A harmful algal bloom (HAB) forecast system for the Gulf coast of Texas, developed by CCMA scientists, was successfully transitioned from a demonstration project to an operational system for NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS).
- Determining Cause of “Intersex” Condition in Smallmouth Bass
To address the possibility that chemical contaminants in the Shenandoah River are causing fish to exhibit “intersex” conditions, scientists from CCMA, USGS, and Virginia Tech are testing water samples from the Shenandoah River for “estrogenicity”, and are currently analyzing a series of water samples to help identify contaminants that may be contributing to this phenomenon.
- Improving Water Quality in Long Island Sound and the Great Bay/Piscataqua Region
Filtering of water by bivalves allows seagrasses, and thus fish habitat, to re-establish in highly cloudy water systems. This EPA funded CCMA project will research the role of enhanced food web processing by shellfish. The research results will both support regional water quality management programs and provide tools for broader application nationally.
In FY 2010, CCMA produced 10 technical memoranda and published 14 peer reviewed journal articles.
In FY 2010, CCMA divers completed 919 dives without a single incident.