Volume 6, No. 2

Promoting Cooperation to Maintain and Enhance
Environmental Quality in the Gulf of Maine

Summer 2002
Site Search
Powered by Google

Regular columns

Gulf Voices
Gulf Log
Editor's Notes

Current stories

A good thing gone awry: The environmental disruption caused by an overload of nitrogen...
Gulf of Maine wetlands advocate wins national award
Seals as the Gulf of Maine’s sentinels
Cape Cod toxics program slated to be cut
Noisy Seas
Q & A: Gulfwatch


Spring 2002
Browse the archive


About The Gulf of Maine Times

Back to www.gulfofmaine.org


Useful information about the Gulf of Maine

Where's the drought?

The National Drought Mitigation Center (http://enso.unl.edu/ndmc) is one of the United State's chief sources of current materials on drought and its consequences. The site offers definitions, indices and many links to other drought-related Web sites. The "Drought Watch" section links to the multi-institutional "Drought Monitor." Experts synthesize a number of drought indices to produce the monitor's map of current U.S. drought impacts, issued weekly on Thursday.

Canadian wetlands restoration partnership

A Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership (CWRP) similar to the one in the United States is under active consideration in the Maritimes with the Bay of Fundy as the possible initial focus. The CWRP is a public-private partnership between the federal government, state governments and private corporations in the United States with the goal of restoring wetlands and other aquatic habitats. For further information on the Canadian proposal, e-mail Reg Melanson, Canadian Wildlife Service, at reginald.melanson@ec.gc.ca. For information on the CWRP, access http://www.coastalamerica.gov/text/cwrp.html.

Stellwagen Bank and more

The new U.S. Geological Survey Stellwagen Bank Web site is now online and titled: USGS National Geologic Studies of Benthic Habitats, Northeastern United States: Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Region off Boston, Massachusetts. The site offers seafloor maps, posters, a list of publications, photographs of seabed habitats and various fauna and imagery of geologic features. Go to http://woodshole.er.usgs.gov/project-pages/stellwagen/.

Coastal conditions report

A U.S. federal report confirms the declining quality of U.S. coastal waters and the threat that this trend poses to both humans and marine life. The report calls for a national strategy to combat nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in coastal waters. The overabundance of these nutrients¾often from agricultural runoff, sewage treatment plants and fossil fuel emissions¾is causing serious environmental damage on all of the nation's coasts, according to the report. The report is available at http://www.epa.gov/owow/oceans/nccr/.

Coastal sprawl threatens ecosystems

The Pew Oceans Commission's latest scientific report on the state of the nation's oceans, entitled "The Effects of Urban Design on Aquatic Ecosystems in the United States," links over-development along the coasts to the declining health of aquatic habitats. Although U.S. coastal counties account for only 17 percent of the nation's area, they are home to more than half the U.S. population. An additional 27 million people are estimated to be funneling into this narrow corridor over the next 15 years. The report details the effects of poor urban design and land-use practices on aquatic ecosystems in the United States and new strategies and tools that communities may use to preserve the same ecosystems that attract residents, tourists and businesses to the coasts. For more information or a copy of the report, go to www.pewoceans.org.

Pharmaceuticals and hormones

Another new report by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) looks for the first time at the presence of many human and animal pharmaceuticals, hormones and common organic chemicals in the nation's waterways. Published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, "Pharmaceuticals, Hormones, and Other Organic Wastewater Contaminants in U.S. Streams, 1999-2000: A National Reconnaissance" shows that multiple medical drugs (including antibiotics), both natural and synthetic hormones and many other organic wastewater-related chemicals have been detected, though usually at very low levels, in 80 percent of streams sampled nearly everywhere across the United States. Most of the chemicals examined (81 of 95) do not have state or federal drinking water standards. Chemicals commonly found in households, or used in agriculture or industry, find their way into sewage treatment systems but are rarely monitored, and secondary water treatment often cannot eliminate them. The full report is available at http://pubs.acs.org/hotartcl/est/es011055j_rev.html. Additional information about the issue is at http://toxics.usgs.gov/regional/emc.html.

Wetlands and fish publication

Wetlands and Fish: Catch the Link, is the title of a new publication jointly developed by the Izaak Walton League, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Biological Resources Division. The document provides information on how wetlands are important to fish and what fish might be in wetlands in a particular local area. The text is geared to the general public, but the tables and references will be of interest to fishermen and scientists as well. For a free copy contact the NMFS Office of Habitat Conservation at (301) 713-2325 or susan.stedman@noaa.gov.

Pesticides and frogs

Researchers have found that even very low doses of atrazine, a common weed killer, can cause male frogs to develop multiple sex organs¾and sometimes both male and female organs. The research was reported in the April 16 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, (www.pnas.org). Atrazine is the most commonly used weed killer in North America, and appears in rainwater, snowmelt and groundwater. The researchers found that atrazine affected frogs at doses as small as 0.1 part per billion. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency allows as much as 3 parts per billion of atrazine in drinking water.