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Exposure potential of salt marsh units in Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge to environmental health stressors

January 23, 2017

Natural and anthropogenic contaminants, pathogens, and viruses are found in soils and sediments throughout the United States. Enhanced dispersion and concentration of these environmental health stressors in coastal regions can result from sea level rise and storm-derived disturbances. The combination of existing environmental health stressors and those mobilized by natural or anthropogenic disasters could adversely impact the health and resilience of coastal communities and ecosystems. This dataset displays the exposure potential to environmental health stressors in the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (EBFNWR), which spans over Great Bay, Little Egg Harbor, and Barnegat Bay in New Jersey, USA. Exposure potential is calculated with the Sediment-bound Contaminant Resiliency and Response (SCoRR) ranking system (Reilly and others, 2015) designed to define baseline and post-event sediment-bound environmental health stressors. Facilities obtained from the Environmental Protection Agencys (EPA) Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) and Facility Registry Service (FRS) databases were ranked based on their potential contaminant hazard. Ranks were based in part on previous work by Olsen and others (2013), literature reviews, and an expert review panel. A 2000 meter search radius was used to identify nearby ranked facility locations. As part of the Hurricane Sandy Science Plan, the U.S. Geological Survey has started a Wetland Synthesis Project to expand National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards and forecast products to coastal wetlands. The intent is to provide federal, state, and local managers with tools to estimate their vulnerability and ecosystem service potential. For this purpose, the response and resilience of coastal wetlands to physical factors need to be assessed in terms of the ensuing change to their vulnerability and ecosystem services. EBFNWR was selected as a pilot study area.