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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research 9 Coastal Pollution and Waste Management Jerry R. Schubel The State University of New York Stony Brook, New York ''The Future Ain't What It Used To Be.'' Yogi Berra INTRODUCTION This paper was prepared as a background paper for the National Research Council's Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources Retreat on "Multiple Uses of the Coastal Zone in a Changing World". In it I describe the major problems facing the coastal zone throughout the world and in the United States and review some of the priorities identified by the research and environmental management communities. WHAT ARE THE MAJOR PROBLEMS OF THE WORLD'S COASTAL OCEAN? The Joint Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Pollution (GESAMP), an advisory group to the United Nations, periodically assesses the problems of the world ocean. In their most recent report (GESAMP, 1991) they pointed out that while human fingerprints are found throughout the world ocean, the open ocean is still relatively clean. However, there are serious problems in the coastal ocean. The report states: In contrast to the open ocean, the margins of the sea are affected almost everywhere by man, and encroachment on coastal areas continues worldwide. Irreplaceable habitats are being lost to the construction of harbors and industrial installations, to the development of tourist facilities and mariculture, and to the growth of settlements and cities. . .. If left unchecked, this will soon lead to global deterioration of the marine environment and of its living resources.
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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research GESAMP (1991) summarized the major problems of the world ocean as nutrient contamination; microbial contamination of seafood; disposal of debris (particularly plastic debris); trace contaminants such as lead, cadmium, and mercury when discharged in high concentrations; occurrence of synthetic organic compounds in sediments and in predators at the top of the marine food chain; and oil in marine systems, mainly the global impact of tar bails on beaches and the effects of spills in local sheltered areas. They added that radioactive contamination is a public concern. They did not consider the last two items above to be particularly important globally. In the summary of their findings, they stated: We conclude that, at the start of the 1990s, the major causes of immediate concern in the environment on a global basis are coastal development and the attendant destruction of habitats, eutrophication, microbial contamination of seafood and beaches, fouling of the seas by plastic litter, progressive build-up of chlorinated hydrocarbons, especially in the tropics and subtropics and accumulation of tar on beaches. . . . not enough attention is being given to the consequences of coastal development, . . . actions on land continue to be taken and executed without regard to consequences in coastal waters. The GESAMP assessment is a global assessment of the entire world ocean and its coastal component. It's clear that the group's concern for the future of the world ocean is concentrated on the threats to the margins. WHAT ARE THE MAJOR PROBLEMS OF THE U.S. COASTAL OCEAN? Each year, the 23 coastal states, jurisdictions, and interstate commissions must report, for their estuarine waters, degradation that has reached the point that estuarine areas no longer fully support designated activities. In the most recent state Section 305(b) report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the 23 coastal states, jurisdictions, and interstate commissions reported that
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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research nutrients accounted for 50 percent1 of the total impaired area of estuaries; pathogens accounted for 48 percent of the total impaired area; and organic enrichment/low dissolved oxygen accounted for 29 percent of the total impaired area. The states cited municipal wastewater discharge as the most extensive single source of pollution to their estuarine waters. It accounted for 53 percent of the total impaired area. Non-point sources may have been underrepresented in the assessment. It is clear that the problems of the U.S. coastal ocean, and the causes of those problems, are similar to those of the coastal zone of the rest of the world. The first order problems are eutrophication, pathogens, and habitat destruction. All are caused primarily by an increasing population and its waste disposal practices and by changing land use patterns. POPULATION AND ITS EFFECTS The earth's population is now estimated to be nearly 5.5 billion and is projected to grow to more than 10 billion by the year 2050. Throughout the world, approximately half of all people live in coastal regions. The increasing world population and the preferential settlement in coastal regions will only exacerbate the problems of the coastal ocean. Since 95 percent of the projected population growth will come in developing countries—countries with little or no infrastructure to manage human and industrial wastes—the most serious coastal-zone problems will be in developing countries. Throughout the United States, nearly half of the population lives within 50 miles of the coasts of the oceans and the Great Lakes. Population in U.S. coastal areas has increased by about 30 million people over the last three decades, and this growth accounts for almost half the total U.S. population increase over that period. The U.S. coastal population is expected to continue to increase, although at reduced levels (Culliton et al., 1990). By the year 2010, the coastal population of the United States is projected to increase by almost 60 percent. Within coastal regions, people will continue to cluster near estuaries. Estuarine and coastal areas not only are among the nation's most populous areas. They also are among the nation's most densely populated areas. Population densities are highest in the counties of the northeast and Pacific regions of the United States, which together account for 28 percent of the nation's total population. The northeast region, which extends from Virginia to Maine, is the most densely populated of the five regions (northeast, southeast, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, Pacific). It contains 18 of the 25 most densely populated counties in the entire United States, and six of the nation's seven leading states in coastal county population. The distribution of population in the United States is shown graphically in Figure 9.1. 1 The percentages total more than 1000 percent because more than one stressor contributes to impairment of an area.
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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research FIGURE 9.1 Distribution of population in the United States by region. (Source: Laboratory for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis, Harvard University) As population in coastal regions grows, the coastal ocean loses. The greatest losses will occur in developing countries unless preventive measures are taken quickly. GESAMP wrote in 1991: The exploitation of the coast is largely a reflection of population increase, accelerating urbanization, greater affluence and faster transport—trends that will continue throughout the world. Controlling coastal development and protecting habitat will require changes in planning both inland and on the coast, often involving painful social and political choices. As the GESAMP report points out, protecting coastal habitat will require planning not only on the coast, but inland as well. For some estuaries, such as Chesapeake Bay, that planning must extend throughout much of the drainage basin. In others, such as Long Island Sound, the area of terrestrial influence is more constrained, and planning and management can be concentrated in the coastal zone. For each coastal system, the zone of influence of human activities needs to be identified and become the basic planning and management unit. According to Goldberg (1990), tourism accounts for about 10 percent of the world's gross national product. In many developing countries, tourism is the main source of income. In coastal countries, much of the tourism is dominated by water-related activities. Some of these same developing
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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research countries are experiencing the world's most rapid population growth rates. Few have the resources—fiscal and technical—needed to construct, maintain, and operate the infrastructure needed to handle the wastes, particularly the human wastes, of their burgeoning populations. Typically, sewage is discharged raw into near coastal waters which causes a serious public health threat to bathers and to those who consume raw or partially cooked shellfish. The potential for major epidemiological outbreaks is high and growing. There are other environmental impacts of discharging raw or improperly treated sewage into coastal waters, particularly into bays, estuaries, and lagoons. The added nutrients can produce eutrophic conditions leading to loss of submerged aquatic vegetation; to shifts in plankton assemblages; to degradation of coral reefs; and, in the extreme, to hypoxic or even to anoxic conditions. The most popular beaches and coastal environments and the tourists they attract are increasingly at risk. The coastal areas at greatest risk are in developing countries. They can and should be identified now and steps should be taken to assist those countries in protecting them. Priority should be given to protecting those coastal areas that are still in good condition. Preventive environmental medicine is a far more effective and less costly strategy than restorative environmental medicine. SOME TRENDS IN U.S. COASTAL WATERS A widely held perception is that the coastal ocean is in rapid decline. Let's review quickly some of the data on contaminants and pathogens for U.S. estuaries. Contaminants A 1990 report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Status and Trends (NS&T) Program summarizing six years of data on chemical contaminants in sediment and tissues states, " . . . it appears that, on a national scale, high and biologically significant concentrations of contaminants measured in the NS&T Program are limited primarily to urbanized estuaries. In addition, levels of those contaminants have, in general, begun to decrease in the coastal U.S." Even the higher levels in urbanized estuaries " . . . are generally lower than those expected to cause sediment toxicity, and among the NS&T sites, biological responses to contamination, such as liver tumors in fish or sediment toxicity, have not been commonly found . . . most contaminants measured in the NS&T Program may be decreasing. Except possibly for copper, there is little evidence that they could be increasing." The chemical's measured in the NS&T Program are metals (Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, Hg, Ag, and Zn) and organic compounds (tDDT, tCdane, tPCB, and tPAH). The NOAA Status and Trends sampling sites are intended to be representative; hot spots are avoided (NOAA, 1990).
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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research Pathogens The National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP) classifies shellfish-growing waters to protect public health. It is a cooperative program involving states, industry, and the federal government. Since 1983, the NSSP has been administered through the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference. The NSSP requires states to classify shellfish-growing waters according to approved protocols into four categories: Approved, Conditionally approved, restricted, and prohibited. Data from 1985 and 1990 are summarized in Table 9.1. The pollution sources affecting shellfish-growing areas in 1990 are summarized in Table 9.2. The data in Table 9.2 indicate the effects of coastal development on classification of shellfish-growing areas between 1985 and 1990. According to NOAA (1991) the largest increases in closures are attributed to urban runoff increasing from 23 to 38 percent of harvest-limited waters. The acreage adversely affected by septic systems increased from 22 to 37 percent. NOAA attributed the increasing effects of septic systems to the continuing growth of tourism and vacation homes. The impacts of boating rose from 11 to 18 percent. Nutrients I am unaware of any systematic summaries of the trends of nutrients in U.S. coastal waters. I expect that levels in many estuaries are increasing, primarily because of increased populations. In Long Island Sound, over the past 50 years the non-point-source input of nutrients from agriculture has declined, but the non-point-source input from creeping suburbanization has increased. Over the same period, the point-source inputs from New York City treatment plants has been relatively stable, but non-point-sources in coastal counties bordering the sound have increased significantly. Over-enrichment of Long Island Sound by nitrogen is considered by the Long Island Sound Study to be the most important hazard to the sound ecosystem. In 1991, New York and Connecticut signed a pact to cap nutrient inputs at 1991 levels and to work to decrease the input. To maintain nutrient inputs to the sound at 1991 levels—levels that are already too high—a significant investment will be required in the future—even in a region that now has one of the slowest population growth rates in the nation. Schubel and Pritchard (1991) estimated that in the year 2050, it would require an additional removal of 20-25 percent of the nitrogen to honor the 1991 cap. The Top 10 Pollutants in Estuaries Figure 9.2 shows the state Section 305(b) assessment of the top 10 offenders (pollutants) of the nation's estuaries in terms of their contributions to total impaired area. The sources of pollution are shown in Figure 9.3.
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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research Table 9.1 Distribution of Classified Estuarine Waters, 1985 and 1990 (Source: NOAA, 1991)
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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research Table 9.2 Pollution Sources Affecting Harvest-Limited Acregage, 1990:a,b a. Acres are times 1,000; % is percent of all harvest-limited acreage in region. b. Since the same percentage of a shellfish area can be affected by more than one source, the percentages shown above cannot be added. They will not sum 100. (Source: NOAA, 1991)
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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research FIGURE 9.2 Top ten pollutants in estuaries. (Source: USEPA, 1990)
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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research FIGURE 9.3 Sources of pollution in estuaries. (Source: USEPA, 1990)
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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research One Person's List of the 11 Worst (Most Degraded) Estuaries and Near Coastal Regions If pressed to come up with the Big 11 of the nation's most degraded estuaries and coastal regions based on: (1) levels of pollutants in bivalves (clams, oysters, mussels) and sediments, (2) hypoxia/anoxia, (3) depleted and closed fisheries, (4) prevalence of fish diseases, (5) areas closed to shellfishing, (6) areas closed to swimming, and (7) warnings concerning consumption of fishery products, the following would make my unranked list of coastal areas of greatest concern: Boston Harbor Narragansett Bay Buzzards Bay Western Long Island Sound Baltimore Harbor Upper Chesapeake Bay Hampton Roads/Elizabeth River (Chesapeake Bay) Lower Mississippi and inner delta Galveston Bay San Francisco Bay Portions of Puget Sound WHAT RESEARCH PRIORITIES HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED? The majority of the most serious problems of the coastal ocean are fairly well documented. There are few surprises. In this section, I consider briefly the extent to which research priorities reflect these problems. Over the past two decades, there has been a series of workshops to identify the research needs for estuaries and near-coastal waters. Often these workshop retreats were held in idyllic spots; they always included many of the leading scientists. Whether the workshop was held on Block Island, Catalina Island, or Long Island, whether it was in North Carolina or in East Anglia (UK), the lists of research priorities were remarkably similar. This is not surprising: the problems of the coastal zone are pervasive and persistent, and many of the participants were repeaters. What is surprising is the lack of improvement in the richness with which the specific questions have been formulated and in the evolution of the research programs to attack them. The results of some of these workshops are summarized in Table 9.3. The consensus on priorities is clear. If another workshop were held in 1992—and I'm not advocating it—the list would differ little. If a workshop were to be held, it could more profitably concentrate on a single priority issue of long standing, such as eutrophication, state the research problems more richly, and give more specific guidance for formulation of a research program to advance the level of our understanding. It should
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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research precipitation decreases, the coastal environment may be the big loser. When the value of water is high and when there is not enough to go around, as in California, the coastal environment has not competed successfully in the water allocation game. The United States continues to have a voracious appetite for water. While it does not lead the world in any of the reported categories of water use (public, industry, electric cooling, and agriculture), in the aggregate the United States has the highest per capita water use and the highest total water use of all countries. China is second in total water use, and Canada is second in per capita water use. A small number of rivers dominate the discharge of water to the world ocean. One river, the Amazon, accounts for more than one-third (34.6 percent) of the total water discharge of all the world's rivers. The Congo River ranks second with 6.9 percent of the total. Twenty-one of the world's rivers account for more than 90 percent of the total discharge; four of them account for more than 50 percent. The human activity that has the greatest effect in reducing the discharges of water and sediment by rivers has been the construction of dams and reservoirs. Dams and reservoirs have also affected the pattern and timing of discharges. In Africa and North America, 20 percent of the total discharge is regulated by reservoirs. In Europe 15 percent is regulated, and in Asia—excluding China—14 percent is regulated. Only in South America and in Australasia are human impacts on river regimes relatively minor. According to Croome et al. (1976), "Some ten percent of the world's total stream flow now is regulated by men, and by the year 2000 it is probable that about two-thirds of the total discharge will be controlled." While the prediction of Croome et al. may be an over-estimate—and I believe it is—the regulated fraction of the world's river discharge will increase and changes in regional precipitation patterns could have an influence. The most intensive period of dam-building activity was between 1945 and 1971 when more than 8000 major dams were built outside of China (Beaumont, 1978). The year of peak activity was 1968 when 548 dams were commissioned. Beaumont's (1978) data do not include China which in 1982 accounted for more than 50 percent of all the world's dams, most of which were constructed after 1950 (Schubel et al., 1991). The United States ranks second in total number of dams, Japan third. Reservoirs also trap sediment that would normally be carried downstream to coastal areas. Prior to construction of the Hoover Dam (1935), for example, the Colorado River discharged between 125-250 million t.y-1 of sediment to the Gulf of California. In the decades after closure of the dam, the discharge dropped to only about 100,000 t.y -1 (0.05-0.1 percent of pre-dam levels; Meade et al., 1990). Construction of dams on the Missouri River nearly eliminated the discharge of sediment from the Missouri to the Mississippi River—the Mississippi River's major source of sediment. Partly as a result of this, the sediment discharge of the Mississippi has fallen to less than half of what it was before 1953 (Meade et al., 1990). The Aswan High Dam on the Nile River is perhaps the most striking example of the effects of a dam on the sediment and water discharges of a major river. After closing of the dam in 1964, the
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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research sediment discharges of the Nile to its delta dropped from an average of more than 100 million t.y-1 nearly to zero. The delta has been eroded and fisheries have collapsed. The reductions in discharge of fresh water and sediment to estuaries and the reductions in the variability of freshwater inputs have effects on physical, chemical, and geological processes of estuaries and on their ecosystems. As competition for freshwater increases, the needs of estuaries will be weighed against the needs—real and perceived—of humans for water for drinking and domestic use, for agriculture, for cooling water, for electric generating stations, and for industry. In the absence of compelling arguments, estuaries will lose. They will be unable to compete successfully in the marketplace for freshwater unless the rules are changed to place a greater emphasis on the public trust doctrine and on the importance of preserving estuarine habitats. Perhaps the Precautionary Principle is the place to begin. The Precautionary Principle can be stated in terms of the need to take a cautious approach to any actions that might degrade the environment and its living resources even before a causal link has been unequivocally established. The Precautionary Principle has to apply in all situations, not just in those where high priority activities are not threatened. If the Precautionary Principle were a guiding principle in the allocation of fresh water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin system in California, it is difficult to see how further diversions would be considered even in the absence of an unequivocal causal link between diversion and adverse effects on ecosystem values and functions in the low salinity portion of the estuary. In the 1981 National Symposium on Freshwater Inflow, Rosengurt and Haydock (1981) stated "Direct experience and the published results of the effects of water development abroad, all point to the inescapable conclusion that no more than 25-30% of the natural outflow can be diverted without disastrous ecological consequences." Their observation was based upon studies of rivers entering the Azov, Caspian, Black, and Mediterranean Seas. In the same report, Clark and Benson (1981) state "Comparable studies on six estuaries by the Texas Water Resources Department showed that a 32% depletion of natural freshwater inflow to estuaries was the average maximum percentage that could be permitted if subsistence levels of nutrient transport, habitat maintenance, and salinity control were to be maintained." Again in that same report, Bayha (1981) indicated that results of studies by the Cooperative Instream Flow Service Group of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service "square well" with the observations of Rosengurt and Haydock. The 25-30 percent criterion for maximum allowable reduction in natural riverflow does not have widespread acceptance among scientists or decisionmakers. According to Herrgesell et al. (1981) discharge of fresh water into San Francisco Bay has been reduced by approximately 50 percent since the 1800s. Other sources put the reduction at 70 percent. Some have predicted that inflows could be reduced to 10-15 percent of pre-diversion levels by the year 2000. Even with the major reductions that have already occurred, estuary managers and scientists face a formidable challenge in convincing the State Water Control Board that further reductions cannot be tolerated. Clark and Benson (1981) suggested establishing optimal salinity regimes and associated hydrologic regimes within estuaries. Bayha (1981) pointed out that although estuarine needs are included among instream uses, few instream flow studies have actually incorporated an analysis of estuarine inflow requirements to ensure estuarine ecosystem values and functions.
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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research The San Francisco Estuary Program is developing the scientific basis for a salinity standard to conserve low salinity habitat and living resources. The standard would take the form of an upstream seasonal limit for the position of the 2 percent near-bottom isohaline (Schubel et al., 1991). Even the discussion of a salinity standard has created concern. The Atmosphere—An Underestimated Source of Contaminants to the Coastal Zone? The atmosphere may be underestimated as a source of a number of contaminants to coastal waters, particularly in urban areas such as Long Island Sound. While data specific to Long Island Sound atmospheric loading are limited, preliminary estimates indicate that for a number of contaminants (Cu, Pb, Zn, PCBs, PAHs) direct atmospheric deposition on the sound may be of the same order of magnitude as the inputs from point and non-point sources. For example, analysis of atmospheric deposition rates of a variety of contaminants on high marshes bordering the Sound suggest that the atmosphere supplies (1) 90 percent of all Pb, (2) 35 percent of all Zn, and (3) 70 percent of all Cu supplied to the sound from all sources (Merkle and Brownawell, in press). The implication is that for some urban coastal areas, the Clean Air Act may be more important than the Clean Water Act in reducing the levels of a number of contaminants. ON THE NEED FOR NEW PARADIGMS It should be clear that many problems of coastal areas are pervasive and persistent. Many have eluded solution. In developing countries, coastal pollution problems loom large. In both developed and developing countries, what are needed are new approaches to old problems. More of the same levels and kinds of research will produce only incremental improvements in our level of understanding of the causes of the problems and their effects, and in our ability to manage them. New approaches are needed that will take coastal marine science and management to their next Levels. Science One essential component of any successful approach—but only one—must be a stable, sustained. program of unfettered research on coastal processes that is sufficiently attractive that it will capture the attention of the best minds in a variety of fields. It must be a combination of big science— multidisciplinary, multi-investigator studies that will tackle the next generation of coastal experiments and theory—and small science—science that will appeal to individual scientists. We've always had the latter, although never enough to satisfy us; we've rarely— if ever—had the former in coastal science, and never at the levels needed. The programs of basic research must encourage high risk research. Herbert A. Simon (1986) observed:
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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research Science is an occupation for gamblers. Of course, journeyman science can be done without must risk taking, but highly creative science almost always requires a calculated gamble. By its very nature, scientific discovery derives from exploring previously unexplored lands. If it were already known which path to take, there would be no major discovery—and the path would most likely have previously been explored by others. There has been too much parochial, journeyman science in the coastal ocean. Scientists in the coastal community need to emulate their deep water colleagues. They need to propose large, multidisciplinary projects that will attract teams of the best scientists from institutions across the country and around the world. There are a few encouraging signs; to mention two—the Land Margin Ecosystem Research Program and the proposed Coastal Ocean Processes (COOP) Program. The new CoOP Program is an exciting, multidisciplinary research program designed "to obtain a new level of quantitative understanding of the processes that dominate the transports, transformations and fates of biologically, chemically and geologically important matter on the continental margins." The CoOP Program prospectus (Brink et al., 1992) states that the "The scientific results of CoOP will be useful in dealing with societal problems as well as purely scientific questions. " But will they? Could we shorten the time lag between advances in knowledge and applications to solve societal problems? More about that later. New breakthroughs in coastal marine science will come, but one can't predict where, when, or by whom. We can, however, improve the conditions that nurture creativity and innovation. Last year I was invited by the Estuarine Research Federation to present an historical overview of the evolution of estuarine physics. Because I believe many of the lessons apply to other areas of estuarine and coastal science, I want to comment on one section of that paper. It is the section that dealt with some of the factors that influenced the rate of evolution of estuarine physics. During the 1950s and 1960s, there was a rapid evolution of estuarine physics; the development had been far more modest until then. In part this was due to the fact that it was in the 1950s that the physics of estuaries was first attacked in any serious and sustained way. Estuarine physics was virgin territory, and because of that, the probability of early explorations leading to major breakthroughs was high. Many of the problems were zero-order problems, problems that dealt with linear processes or with processes that were assumed to be linear. The next generation of problems deal with non-linear processes and are far more complex and in some ways less attractive to scientists because of this. But, I am convinced that there was another reason for the rapid evolution of our knowledge of estuarine physics in the 1950s and 1960s. That reason was the strong, stable institutional support provided primarily by the Office of Naval Research and the Atomic Energy Commission. That support enabled a few strong intellectual leaders to build and sustain research teams that included scientists—both experimentalists and theoreticians—engineers, technicians, and graduate students. Hypotheses were formulated, equipment was designed and built to make the critical observations, and field experiments were designed and carried out that utilized that instrumentation to test the hypotheses. The results were analyzed and interpreted, new insights resulted, new hypotheses were formulated, instruments were modified, and the next generation of field experiments
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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research was designed and carried out. The opportunities for all members of the team to muck about were rich. The opportunities to take chances and to fail were far greater than in today's funding climate. Progress was measured against a different bottom line. In his excellent, recent book on creativity and problem solving, Kim (1990) makes this interesting observation: Studies of creativity in both science and art support the hypotheses that the likelihood of obtaining successful results does not vary significantly from one individual to another, nor among projects by a single individual. Rather the number of successes depends on the number of attempts that are made . . . If Kim is correct, and I believe he is, he offers an additional reason why sustained institutional support resulted in major advances in our understanding of the physics of estuaries. This hypothesis of the importance of institutional support is consistent with Kim's Principle of Accelerated Failure: when the cost of failure is low, one should fail quickly and often. Kim asserts the obvious "to accelerate movement toward a final goal, it is necessary to take risks." Mechanisms that reduce the costs of failure encourage risk taking. The last significant institutional support for estuarine research ended in the early 1970s. The shift away from institutional research support for programs to support for investigator-driven projects increased apparent efficiency but may well have contributed to a loss of effectiveness. Program managers and science administrators often confuse the two terms. We may be seeing another spurt in the evolution of our understanding of the physics of estuaries. This one is driven by new instrumentation. It is clear that in research programs targeted at processes, scientists should conduct their research in the water body in which the processes they are interested in are revealed most clearly and most richly. This means that most such programs must be federally funded. New York will fund us to work in the Connecticut portion of Long Island Sound—sometimes--but they won't fund us to work in Massachusetts. A program of fundamental research with these qualities is necessary if we are to make significant advances in our understanding of coastal processes and in our ability to manage coastal systems, but it is not sufficient. It must be combined with studies of coastal systems. While the processes may be the same in different coastal environments, the relative importance of those processes and their manifestations vary dramatically not only from one coastal system to another but often spatially and temporally within a single coastal system. Knowledge of the regional context is required for effective environmental management. You don't manage at a generic level—not in baseball or in coastal management. A program of science in support of management, then, requires a combination of fundamental studies of processes with studies of coastal systems. While a program of sustained fundamental research in the coastal ocean and studies of specific coastal systems are necessary, even they are not enough if we are to conserve these valuable resources. We must develop new paradigms not only for coastal research but for coastal research in support of coastal management.
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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research Coastal marine science must not only be good; it must be good for something. The coastal ocean is the most impacted part of the world ocean and the most politicized. The public's expectations for the coastal ocean are high, and their perceptions often do not closely track reality. If advances in knowledge of the coastal zone are not applied with little delay to the resolution of practical problems, the programs of fundamental research will be perceived to be failures, and it will be difficult to sustain support for them. In today's climate, some projects could be aborted by their very titles. It is unlikely today that many directors of coastal marine institutions would sign off as Don Pritchard did in the mid-1960s on a project of mine for a study of the "Effects of Dissolved Gases in An Old Woman's Gut" (Old Woman's Gut is a waterway in upper Chesapeake Bay). Most coastal management problems are attacked by resource and regulatory agencies at the local or regional levels. As has already been pointed out, the advances in knowledge and understanding of scientific processes must be embedded in studies of individual coastal systems. A rich national tapestry of the coastal ocean that does not have detailed renditions of specific coastal systems will not be a useful map for guiding management of the coastal ocean. At this point you may be saying to yourself, "Hasn't he every heard of the Environmental Protection Agency's National Estuary Program?" Yes, I have. I not only have heard of it, I've been involved in a few of its programs. The program has many merits, but it also has serious, fundamental flaws. The political forces are strong. Once an estuary is selected for inclusion in the program, the public's expectations run high. The expectations typically take the form of "Finally we can have one last round of studies, tie things together neatly in the development of a CCMP—a Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan—and take the prescribed actions that will protect our estuary for all time." We must change the public's mindset on the importance of sustained programs of fundamental research if we expect the public to share our conviction that we will have study estuaries and other coastal environments so long as they are important to society. The best way to accomplish this is to have more scientists involved in demonstrating the importance of their research in problem solving. The pressures in National Estuary Programs to be inclusive are enormous. There are Science and Technology Advisory Committees, Citizens Advisory Committees, Management Committees, Policy Committees, Monitoring Committees, and Work Groups, and in some programs it has been necessary to create a Committee on Committees to try to keep track of the other committees. Roles are confounded and confused. Technical judgments sometimes are reached by consensus, not consensus among the scientific and technical community but consensus among the broader community. It might be well to remind them of Lewis Thomas' observation in his book Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler's Ninth Symphony: There are some things about which it is not true to say that every man has a right to his own opinion. I do not have the right to an opinion on causality in the small world, or about black holes or other universes beyond black holes in the larger world, for I cannot do the mathematics. Physics, deep and beautiful physics, can be spoken only in pure, unaccented mathematics, and no other language exists for expressing its meaning, not yet anyway. Lacking the language, I concede that it is none of my business, and I am giving up on it.
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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research I recently had the opportunity to review the draft document U.S. Coastal Ocean Science, A Strategy for the Future, which is being prepared under the Federal Coordinating Committee on Science, Engineering and Technology's Committee on Earth and Environmental Sciences. The document defines the initial steps in ". . . a strategic framework within which the Federal science agencies will work to improve the scientific basis for environmental decision making for the coastal ocean." It is a carefully crafted, well written, and comprehensive document that includes all the items in Table 3 plus a number of others. Like all the other documents that have been prepared to develop the knowledge necessary to understand the coastal ocean so that we can protect it, the report is too much and too little. It is a catalog of problems and issues without enough information to show which of the problems and issues are most important. And the scientific questions in support of program goals represent, at best, only a modest improvement over previous statements. But there is a more serious and fundamental problem: the lack of coupling of science and scientists with management and managers. It is in this arena that NOAA has a unique role to play—not a bit part but a leading role. NOAA is the only federal agency that has a mandate for the coastal ocean that includes responsibilities for basic and applied research; for transforming data into informational products tailored to the needs of a variety of user groups; for management of coastal environments and their living resources; for formulating regulations; and for monitoring and assessment. NOAA doesn't have full responsibility for any of these activities, but it is the only agency that I know of that has some responsibility for all of them. The comic character, Pogo, once observed that "some opportunities are so large, they are insurmountable." NOAA's opportunity is very large, but not insurmountable. On the Need For New Science-Management Paradigms We need new paradigms for managing coastal systems, at least for those that receive wastes from a diverse and complex array of point and non-point sources throughout much, or all, of each systems drainage basin. In the next presentation, I expect that you will hear about one such paradigm— integrated coastal management. It is an elegant paradigm. How could one quarrel with it? It includes all the politically correct concepts—ecological risk assessment, risk management, integrated management, research, monitoring, feedback, partnerships—all wrapped up—in one neat package called integrated coastal management. I am part of the National Research Council's Water Science and Technology Board's Committee on Wastewater Management for Coastal Urban Areas that has struggled for well over a year with the problems of waste management in urban coastal areas and that produced the draft report on integrated coastal management. We've made some progress, but the hard part is still ahead: to show how to apply the paradigm not in the abstract, but in specific, concrete terms the way managers would have to do it. If those of us who developed the concept do not, or can not, test it, how can we expect others to use it? In his new book Sur/Petition (1992), Edward deBono states:
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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research A concept that is not important, after all, is a wasted concept. A concept is unlikely to be implemented if it cannot be tested. That is why it is important to design a concept not only for eventual use, but also for preliminary testing. A concept that can show its benefits in preliminary testing stands a better chance of getting used than one which can not. Another approach is the Estuarine Science-Management Paradigm developed through the Marine Sciences Research Center (1990, 1991). It describes a new model for forging and maintaining partnerships among key decisionmakers, scientists, educators, and public interest groups. Like integrated coastal management, it remains untested. But it now has the endorsement of several key individuals, foundations, and resource management agencies in New York, and we expect to put it to the test over the next year. A CLOSING OBSERVATION When the curtain goes up for the opening scene in the late British playwrite, Thomas Shadwell's, play the Virtuoso, the main character, Sir Nicholas Jimcrack, is seen making frog like swimming motions on his laboratory table. "Do you intend to try it in the water?" he is asked. He responds: "Never sir, I hate the water." And he adds "I content myself with the speculative part of swimming and care not for the practical. I seldom bring anything to use; it's not my way. Knowledge is my ultimate end." Too many of us in the coastal marine science community are Sir Nicholas Jimcracks. It's time for more of us to get off our laboratory benches and get out into the water. If we want the results of our basic research to be used in a timely way and more effectively, we need to form partnerships with resource managers and decisionmakers. We need to be responsive to their needs and take more active roles in transforming advances in knowledge into forms that can be used to conserve and, when necessary, to restore our coastal environments. It will not be easy, but partnerships never are. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I thank Doreen Monteleone, Chongle Zhang, Jiong Shen, Andrew Matthews and Kristen Romans for their assistance in preparing this paper. REFERENCES ASLO. 1990. At the Land-Sea Interface: A Call for Basic Research. American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, Estuarine Research Federation, and Southern Association of Marine Laboratories. Washington, DC: Joint Oceanographic Institutions.
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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research Bayha, K. 1981. Overview of freshwater inflow. Vol. 2. Pp. 231-247 in Proceedings of the National Symposium on Freshwater Inflow to Estuaries. Washington, DC: National Technical Information Services. Beaumont, P. 1978. Man's impact on river systems: a world-wide view. Area 10:38-41. Bokuniewicz, H. 1990. Towards a Framework for Research in Estuaries: The Report of a Workshop held at the Marine Sciences Research Center (MSRC), State University of New York at Stony Brook, New York. MSRC Working Paper #40, Reference #90-5. Brink, K., J. Bane, T. Church, C. Fuirall, G. Geernaert, D. Hammond, S. Henrichs, C. Martens, C. Nittrouer, O. Rodgers, M. Roman, J. Roughgarden, R. Smith, L. Wright, and J. Yoder. 1992. Coastal Ocean Processes: A Science Prospectus. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543. 88p. Clark, J., and N. Benson. 1981. Summary and Recommendations of Symposium. Vol 2. Pp. 523-528 in Proceedings of the National Symposium on Freshwater Inflow to Estuaries. Washington, DC: National Technical Information Service. Copeland, B.J., K. Hart, N. Davis, and S. Friday, eds. 1984. Research for Managing the Nation's Estuaries: Proceedings of a Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. Sponsored by the National Sea Grant College Program and the National Marine Fisheries Service. UNC Sea Grant College Publication UNC-SG-84-08. CRC. 1983. Cronin, L.E. ed. 1983. Ten Critical Questions for Chesapeake Bay in Research and Related Matters. Chesapeake Research Consortium, Maryland. Croome, R. L., P. A. Tyler, K. F. Walker, and W. D. Williams. 1976. A linmological survey of the River Murray in the Albury-Wodonga area. Search 7(1): 14-17. Culliton, et al. 1990. 50 Years of Population Change Along the Nation's Coasts, 1960-2010. Rockville, Maryland: NOAA, Strategic Assessments Branch, Ocean Assessments Division, National Ocean Service. DeBono, E. 1992. Sur/Petition. New York, New York: Harper Business, a Division of Harper Collins Publishers. GESAMP. 1991. The State of the Marine Environment. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford Press. Goldberg. 1990. Protecting the wet commons. Environmental Science and Technology. 24:450-454. Hammond, D. E., ed., 1974. Recommendations for Basic Research on Transfer Processes in Continental and Coastal Waters: An Essential Ingredient for Predicting the Fate of Energy-Related Pollutants. A Report to the National Science Foundation Submitted by the Participants in a Workshop held at Block Island, Rhode Island. July 23-25, 1974. Herrgesell, P. L., D. W. Kohlhurst, L. W. Miller, and D. E. Stevens. 1981. Effects of freshwater flow on fishery resources in the Sacramento-San Joaquin estuary. Pp. 71-118 In: Proceedings of the National Symposium on Freshwater Inflow to Estuaries, Vol. 2. Washington, DC: National Technical Information Service. Kim. 1990. Essence of Creativity. New York and Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research Limburg, K. E., C. C. Harwell, S. A. Levin, eds. 1984. Principle for Estuarine Impact Assessment: Lessons Learned from the Hudson River and Other Estuarine Experiences. Hudson River Foundation. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University. Marine Sciences Research Center. 1991. On Development of an Estuarine Science-Management Paradigm. MSRC Working Paper 50, Reference 91-07. Marine Sciences Research Center. 1990. On Development of an Estuarine Science-Management Paradigm. MSRC Working Paper 46, Reference 90-15. Meade, R. H., T. R. Yuzyk, and T. J. Day. 1990. Movement and storage of sediment in rivers of the United States and Canada. In Wolman, M.G., and H.C. Riggs, eds., The Geology of North America, vol. 0-1. Surface Water Hydrology. Boulder, Colorado: Geological Society of America. Merkle, P. B. and B. J. Brownawell. In press. A weather driven fugacity model of the atmospheric deposition of semivolatile organic compounds to aquatic environments. Environmental Science and Technology. NASULGC. 1986. On the Importance of Estuarine Research. National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges, Marine Division, Estuarine Committee. NERC. 1982. Research on Estuarine Processes. Report of a Multidisciplinary Workshop held at the University of East Anglia on 14-17 September 1982. National Environment NOAA, 1990. National Status and Trends Program, 1990. Coastal Environmental Quality in the United States, 1990: Chemical Contamination in Sediment and Tissues . 34 p. Research Council. NOAA. 1991. The 1990 National Shellfish Register of Classified Estuarine Water. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service, Office of Oceanography and Marine Assessment, Strategic Assessment Branch. NOAA. 1986. Coastal Marine Research Plan. Draft 11/13/86. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NRC. 1983. Fundamental Research on Estuaries: The Importance of an Interdisciplinary Approach. Geophysics Research Board, National Research Council, Washington, DC: National Academy Press. NRC. 1977. Estuaries, Geophysics, and the Environment. Geophysics Research Board, National Research Council: Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Rosengurt, M., and I. Haydock. 1981. Methods of computation and ecological regulation of the salinity in regime in estuarine and shallow seas in connection with water regulation for human requirements. Pp. 474-506 in Proceedings of the National Symposium on Freshwater Inflow to Estuaries, vol. 2. Washington, DC: National Technical Information Service. Schubel, J. R., Y. Eschet, C. Zhang, J. Shen and R. Nino-Lopez. 1991. Human Effects on the Discharges of Water and Sediment by the World's Rivers: An Overview. Stony Brook, New York: Marine Sciences Research Center, State University of New York. Schubel, J. R., and D. W. Pritchard. 1991. Some Possible Futures of Long Island Sound. Marine Sciences Research Center Working Paper 55, Reference 91-17. Schubel, J. R., and D. M. Monteleone. 1990. Critical Problems of New York's Marine Coastal Zone: A Preliminary Selection. Marine Sciences Research Center Working Paper No. 44, Ref. No. 90-11. Three Sections.
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Environmental Science in the Coastal Zone: Issues for Further Research Simon, H. A. 1986. What we know about the creative process. Chapter 1 (pp. 3-20) in Frontiers in Creative and Innovative Management, R.L. Kuhn, ed. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Ballinger Publishing Co. Titus, James G. 1991. Greenhouse effect and coastal wetland policy: How Americans could abandon an area the size of Massachusetts. Environmental Management. Titus, James G. 1990. Greenhouse effect, sea level rise and land use. Land Use Policy 7(2):138-153. USEPA. 1990. The Quality of Our Nation's Water.
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