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Coastal Pollution

Seafood safety sign
Excessive nutrients, hormone-changing chemicals, invasive species, and pathogens contribute to diminished quality of life, decreased commercial opportunities, and worsening health of our fragile waterways

Sustaining healthy coasts through research and nationwide monitoring

Almost half of America's coastal waters are closed to fishing or swimming because they are too polluted. Chemicals, nutrients and low oxygen (hypoxia), invasive species, and disease-causing bacteria and viruses threaten our seafood supply, our health and sometimes our livelihoods.

Over the past 30 years, the U.S. has substantially reduced industrial and chemical pollution from pipes and other point sources. Tackling the more pervasive nonpoint sources - runoff from urban areas and agricultural fields and deposition from the atmosphere - has proven more difficult.

NCCOS studies and monitors the effects of coastal pollution nationwide. These results provide communities with the information and tools they need to identify pollution "hotspots" and to develop practices and policies that reduce pollution and improve coastal health. We specialize in studying the cumulative impacts of changing coastal land use, climate, and habitat.

NCCOS Coastal Pollution research is focused on the following subjects and programs.