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Contaminants in the Gulf of Maine-What's here and should we worry?

December 31, 1996

The Gulf of Maine is a dynamic environment that has highly variable bottom type and localized depositional and transport processes. It is used and impacted by the people around it who hope to use the marine system for many purposes such as fishing, recreation, housing, sewage and dumped disposal, shipping, recreation, and preservation. In order to identify "pollution", which is defined as detrimental effects in the ecosystem that are attributable to human activity, the spatial and temporal distribution of contaminants in Gulf of Maine sediments are established using data that have been compiled into a Contaminated-Sediment Database for the Gulf of Maine. The potential for high contaminant levels in the sediments to induce toxic effects in the Gulf ecosystem is then assessed. In the Gulf of Maine, we have large urban centers that adversely affect the marine ecosystem well offshore through a variety of human activities. We are also in the fortunate position of still having many relatively pristine marine areas. It is unlikely that we will reach an endpoint of "zero toxic effects" in the ecosystem; however, much of the information needed to move closer to the shared goal of managing a sustainable ecosystem in the Gulf of Maine is currently available. Future success will rely on continued efforts to 1) identify rate-limiting physical and biological processes, 2) provide appropriate data synthesis and 3) involve the public.

Publication Year 1996
Title Contaminants in the Gulf of Maine-What's here and should we worry?
Authors Marilyn R. Buchholtz ten Brink, Frank T. Manheim, Michael H. Bothner
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70207570
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center