Local, state, regional, and federal roles in coastal nutrient management
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A number of local, regional, state, and federal programs are in place that strive to protect and restore coastal waters and habitats, and which specifically address eutrophication and nutrient over-enrichment. There are, however, no easily implemented and reliable methods or sources of data and information for citizens, coastal managers, elected officials, and agency staff who are responsible for managing a coastal area to determine sources of nutrients and potential impacts to coastal waters. Coordination among federal and local agencies remains inadequate. In the few examples of successful coastal nutrient management programs, effective nutrient management strategies are often partnerships of national, regional, and local efforts. The recent National Research Council (2000) examination of issues and management options calls for development of a National Coastal Nutrient Management Strategy, coordinated between national, state and local programs, academia, and the private sector. The proposed National Coastal Nutrient Management Strategy includes recommendations for local programs to consider in developing an effective nutrient management strategy, such as setting goals for restoration, determining nutrient reductions needed to meet goals, and monitoring results. The proposed strategy also identifies priority actions which federal programs should consider, including identifying gaps and overlaps in existing and proposed national programs for all aspects of nutrient over-enrichment; increasing accessibility to data, information and expertise on nutrient over-enrichment causes, effects, and management options; and setting clear guidelines for nutrient loads. A nationally consistent monitoring program and targeted research, specifically for atmospheric deposition, seasonal variability of nitrogen and phosphorus enrichment effects, the role of specific nutrients in the occurrence of harmful algal blooms, and economic impacts of nutrient over-enrichment were also identified as priority needs.
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