In 1999, NOAA released the first assessment on the effects of nutrient enrichment in the nation?s estuaries - the National Estuarine Eutrophication Assessment (NEEA) report. This report has become the foundation document for the comparison of US estuarine eutrophication status, used at all levels of management and policy development. The potential for rapid changes in eutrophication status and a requirement for key questions to be answered has been the impetus for updating and enhancing the report by the end of 2005. We need your experience and knowledge ....
The update of the NEEA will document conditions in the same water bodies for the early 2000s and will be used with the earlier results to examine changes that have occurred during the past decade. Key questions to answer are:
- Overall, have conditions worsened or improved? Why?
- Where should management efforts be targeted to achieve the greatest benefit toward remediation and protection from degradation?
- To what extent do eutrophic conditions impair the use of estuarine resources, and what are the important impaired uses?
- Which data gaps and research and monitoring needs are most critical in terms of improving the ability to assess and respond to eutrophication symptoms?
- How can the results of this assessment be translated into a national strategy?
The new NEEA website contains a database of 141 U.S. estuaries with satellite imagery, maps (including salinity zone information), location, physical characteristics, landuse & population, hydrology, climate, oceanic details, sediment & nutrient loads, an image library, and discussion forum.
The site contains an interactive survey designed to gather information on these estuaries in preparation for an update to the original assessment released in 1999. The survey provides immediate feedback to the participant by calculating eutrophication symptom expressions for a variety of parameters as well as an assessment of the overall eutrophic condition of the estuary based on their entered data.
After registering, participants will be able to enter data by selecting an estuary from the database menu. All form fields contain detailed instructions through mouseover tooltips. The survey will automatically calculate the expression values for each indicator and an overall eutrophic condition score. Participants will be able to see the difference between the 1999 NEEA values and the updated values immediately. The data and data references will automatically be entered into a database that will be used to develop the NEEA Update report.
We are seeking information on five important indicators of estuarine eutrophication; chlorophyll a, dissolved oxygen, macroalgal abundance, occurrence of nuisance and/or toxic algal blooms, and spatial coverage of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV). For each indicator and estuarine salinity zone, a value is needed for: concentration or observed occurrence of problem conditions; spatial coverage; and frequency of problem occurrences. Additionally, loads of N and P to the estuary are also needed, though SPARROW or other model estimates can be used if these values are unknown. The survey uses defined symbols for each parameter for easy recognition and reporting of results. The conceptual diagram (pictured to the left) is dynamically created from the participant's survey data and is available for download in both raster (PNG) and print quality vector (SVG) formats.
In addition to the conceptual diagram, the survey also features dynamic graphing and mapping of information in the database and the participant's survey data. The summary graph and the conceptual diagram include mouseover tooltips to help the participant get a complete picture of their system based on their entered data. Participants can download all their data and the generated symptom expressions as an Excel spreadsheet to keep for their records. A summary PDF and a zip archive containing all these resources are also available upon completion of the survey.
The National Review Workshop will be held November 29-30, 2005 at the Conference Center at the Maritime Institute (CCMIT), one of the largest training and conference centers in the Baltimore/Washington area. Approximately 60 participants will be invited to review the assessments for each of the 140+ systems included in the NEEA Update and the draft report, and to write sections of the NEEA Update report that will be offered online by December 31, 2005. Most importantly, in regional breakout groups led by Regional Coordinators, recommendations will be developed from the results of the Update to guide future monitoring and assessment activities. Details will follow in the coming months.
If you have any questions please address them directly to our discussion forum so we can build an information resource for others. Alternatively, you can find contact details for your regional co-ordinator on the NEEA Contact/Updates page.
Please forward this on to any colleagues who might be interested in contributing to the NEEA update. We look forward to receiving your data and determining the eutrophication status of the nation's estuaries.
The National Estuarine Eutrophication Assessment (NEEA) Team
The National Estuarine Eutrophication Assessment (NEEA) is a joint initiative between the NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) and the Integration and Application Network (IAN) of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.