Protection Agency (EPA), through its Science
To Achieve Results (STAR) competitive grants research program, has
established five regional Estuarine & Great Lakes (EaGLe) research
centers at major academic research institutions with strong expertise
in coastal environmental science. Additionally, NASA is supporting associated
remote sensing research at three of these institutions.
at these five regional centers are developing the next generation
environmental indicators to assess the biological health of the Great
Lakes coast and estuaries and wetlands along the Atlantic, Pacific
and Gulf coasts. Indicators evaluated and developed by the EaGLe
centers will be used
by the states in their long-term monitoring programs to establish
integrity and sustainability of the nation's coastal ecosystems.
to other EPA programs:
EaGLe Program is the extramural component of EPA's Environmental
Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP). EMAP's goal is to
develop the scientific understanding for translating environmental
data from multiple spatial and temporal scales into assessments of
ecological condition and forecasts of the future risks to the
our natural resources. EMAP will transfer the approaches and technology
developed by the EaGLe centers to the states, which are responsible
for water quality monitoring under the Clean Water Act. For further
information, visit the EPA's EaGLe
website or contact Barbara Levinson at EPA's National Center
for Environmental Research (NCER). Phone (202)343-9720
Lakes Environmental Indicators (GLEI) Project
Lakes Environmental Indicators (GLEI) project is developing
and testing a suite of indicators across the range of habitats that
make up the Great Lakes coastal margins. The following
indicator types will be tested for their efficacy and technical soundness
within three subcategories: 1) the basin as a whole: climate measures,
land uses, and landscape characteristics; 2) estuaries, bays and coastal
margin waters: water quality, contaminant levels, and the relative
of amphibian, bird, diatom, fish, macroinvertebrate and plant species
and communities, and 3) the land margins: measures of bird community
structure. Each of these indicator types has linkages with habitat
measures and other stressors.
will be coordinated with such resource management and assessment programs
as the binational State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference (SOLEC) and
individual U.S. state programs under the Clean Water Act. To promote
effective communication and interaction with management agencies, this
project will coordinate with EPA's relevant research and development
laboratories for the region, and will work closely with the Great Lakes
Sea Grant network.
is led by the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University
Minnesota Duluth (UMD). Other cooperators include the following:
the University of Minnesota Twin Cities; Minnesota Sea Grant; the
University of Wisconsin Green Bay; the University of Wisconsin Madison;
Cornell University, New York; John Carroll University, Ohio; the
University of Michigan; the University of Windsor, Ontario; and the
US EPA Mid-Continent Ecology Division, Duluth, Minnesota, and Grosse
Ile, Michigan. STAR grant R828675.
Coast Environmental Indicators Consortium (ACE INC)
Coast Environmental Indicators Consortium (ACE INC) selected
four ecologically and hydrologically diverse estuarine ecosystems
to develop and evaluate ecologically meaningful and broadly applicable
indicators of estuarine and coastal water quality health. The four
systems include the nation's two largest estuarine complexes, the Chesapeake
Bay and Albelmarle-Pamlico Sound, as well as a small riverine estuary
in Massachusetts and a small bar-built estuary in South Carolina.
key indicators of interest are those that reflect attributes of estuarine
systems, i.e., primary production, phytoplankton and higher plant
and seagrass) biomass and composition, zooplankton and fish community
structure, dissolved oxygen, and estuarine circulation.
indicators are being tested for their applicability across estuaries
primary producer bases, different bio-geographic provinces, and similar
and contrasting chemistry, circulation, and different freshwater
and flushing times. In addition, each of the systems has been impacted
in varying degrees by humans, thus affording the opportunity to test
the indicators' ability to detect and differentiate between human
natural stresses, including hurricanes, flooding and changes in sea
feature of the ACE research is the application of calibrated
and ground-truthed remote sensing and real-time observing system data.
This information will provide not only a regional or coast-wide
but also provide the ability for rapid detection and quantification
of trends in coastal health.
is led by the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill.
institutions in the Consortium are the University of Maryland Center
for Environmental Science, the University of South Carolina, the
Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and in
a federal collaboration role, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) Beaufort Laboratory. STAR grant R828677.
Slope Consortium (ASC)
within the Atlantic Slope Consortium is being placed on developing
and testing indicators and constructing
models that link conditions in upstream watersheds to downstream estuaries.
Upstream components of a watershed encompass stream reaches, riparian
corridors, wetlands, and waterbodies and the contributing drainage
basins. This approach is based on the premise that coasts, estuaries,
streams, lakes and wetlands must be viewed as an integrated system.
The Consortium is researching the applicability of aquatic indicators,
such as nutrient and sediment discharges, the spatial distribution
of engineered structures and optical properties of estuarine waters
the spectrum of environments from best attainable to severely degraded.
of socioeconomic indicators, including education level and membership
in environmentally active associations, is also being evaluated.
Information on socioeconomic indicators can be useful in interpreting
attitudes on environmental risks, understanding institutional and
obstacles to change, and communicating environmental information in
a meaningful way. The development of socioeconomic indicators
on work already done in the Mid-Atlantic Region under other EPA programs
such as the STAR Program on Decision Making and Valuation, the EPA/State
Mid-Atlantic Integrated Assessment and the EPA Regional Vulnerability
Assessment (ReVA) program. The socioeconomic data available to the
includes that on income, employment, health, education level, crime,
water supplies and wastewater treatment facilities.
led by Pennsylvania State University. The other institutions in the
are the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, the Virginia Institute
of Marine Sciences, East Carolina University, the Environmental Law
Institute and FTN Associates. The geographic extent of the research
is the Atlantic slope region, extending from the Appalachian Mountains
to the Atlantic Ocean. This area consists of three major drainage
basins, the Delaware, the Susquehanna-Chesapeake and the Albemarle-Pamlico.
STAR grant R828684.
for Estuarine Ecoindicator Research for the Gulf of Mexico
objective of CEER-GOM is to study and validate indicators of estuarine
condition at four levels of biological complexity: the organism, population,
community and ecosystem/watershed. As examples, at the organism level
molecular indicators of dissolved oxygen (DO) stress will be developed
as predictive indicators of reduced fitness (molting and reproduction).
At the community level microbial biofilms and macrobenthic communities
will be studied as indicators of ecosystem integrity, resilience and
function. At the ecosystem/watershed scale remote sensing will be used
to analyze the spatio-temporal patterns of ecosystem parameters such
as landscape metrics, chlorophyll, surface water temperature and turbidity.
Ultimately an Index of Estuarine Ecosystem Integrity (IEEI) will be
developed and validated. The IEEI will be transferred to the states
for use in long-term monitoring of estuarine conditions.
will be working with coastal managers from the 5 Gulf states to assure
the relevancy of their research and assist in the incorporation of the
results of the research into state monitoring programs.
of Southern Mississippi College of Marine Sciences is leading the
Consortium for Estuarine Ecoindicator Research for the Gulf of Mexico
(CEER-GOM). The other members of the Consortium are the University
of West Florida, Florida State University, the University of Florida,
the University of Alabama, Louisiana State University, Southeastern
Louisiana University, the University of Texas Marine Sciences Institute,
and the University of Washington. STAR grant R829458.
Estuarine Ecosystem Indicator Research (PEEIR) Consortium
goal of PEEIR is to develop indicators of wetland ecosystem integrity
and propose an approach for synthesizing indicators in assessments
wetland health along the Pacific coast. Because traditional ecosystem
sampling, chemical analyses, and toxicity testing are not adequate
address responses to multiple stressors in wetland ecosystems, new
indicators for specific plant, fish, and invertebrate population
health, as well
as indicators of toxicant-induced stress and bioavailability for wetland
biota, are being developed. Specific local problems, including wetland
degradation and fish declines in San Francisco Bay and in Southern
California, mercury contamination in Tomales Bay, invasions by exotic
pesticide contamination in Northern and Southern California watersheds
will be addressed using these biological indicators.
sensing component seeks to establish landscape-level indicators of environmental
stresses that can be routinely measured from airborne or spaceborne
platforms. This approach will take advantage of the newer high spatial/spectral
resolution instruments that are now available to better assess spatiotemporal
aspects of ecosystem functioning.
and local programs will benefit from this research. Federal programs
include the CALFED program concerned with management of water resources
in the San Francisco Bay and the upstream Sacramento/San Joaquin systems,
and the western component of EMAP. Local programs, as mentioned above,
will also benefit.
Estuarine Ecosystem Indicator Research (PEEIR) Consortium is led
by the Bodega Marine Laboratory of the University of California at
Davis, in partnership with the University of California at Santa
Barbara. Collaborators include the University of Georgia, The Bay
Institute, and the San Francisco Estuary Institute. STAR grant R828676.