EPA Science Inventory

Management Relevance of Benthic Biogeography at Multiple Scales in Coastal Waters of the Northeast U.S.

Citation:

HALE, S. S., M. COTE, M. TEDESCO, AND R. SEARFOSS. Management Relevance of Benthic Biogeography at Multiple Scales in Coastal Waters of the Northeast U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT. Springer-Verlag, New York, NY, 51(4):862-873, (2013).

Description:

Continuing pressures from human activities harm the health of ocean ecosystems, particularly near the coast. Traditional management practices operating on one use sector at a time have not resulted in healthy oceans that can sustainably provide the ecosystem services humans want and need. Ecosystem-based management, a holistic approach to management that considers the entire ecosystem including humans, along with coastal and marine spatial planning, have been adopted as foundational principles for ocean management in the United States. The success of these management practices is enhanced by the availability of biogeographical data at spatial scales ranging from regional oceans to individual estuaries and bays. Marine biogeographical studies have become more sophisticated with the advent of satellite imagery, large-scale monitoring programs, ocean observation systems, benthic habitat mapping, landscape ecology, geographic information systems, integrated databases, ecoinformatics, and ecological modeling. This review article shows how biogeographical information supports ecosystem-based management, makes coastal and marine spatial planning ecologically meaningful, and helps plan for marine biodiversity conservation. Examples from the coastal waters along the northeast coast of the United States illustrate how biogeographical information can be used in management of nearshore waters. The focus is on benthic communities, which are widely used in monitoring programs and sensitive to many stresses from human activities.

Purpose/Objective:

Continuing pressures from human activities that damage the health of marine ecosystems—and the failure of traditional management practices operating on one use sector at a time to sustain healthy oceans that can provide the ecosystem services humans want and need—have resulted in calls for ecosystem-based management (EBM), a holistic approach to management that considers the entire ecosystem including humans. Coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP) that allocates ocean space and resources helps to implement EBM. The President’s Executive Order 13547 on “Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes,” July 2010, establishes an ocean policy that calls for use of these two management initiatives. EPA and other federal agencies are required to participate. At a fundamental level, the ability to conduct EBM and CMSP depends on the availability of biogeographical information at scales ranging from regional oceans down to individual estuaries and habitats. Biogeographical data are now being used to support ecosystem-based management; make coastal and marine spatial planning ecologically meaningful; and support ecosystem assessments through the use of ecological indicators. CMSP will affect EPA permitting of proposed activities in marine waters, as federal activities must be consistent with approved plans. Biogeographical information will be needed for EPA to respond to the President’s Executive Order. EPA Regions 1, 2, and 3 are using biogeographical information for permitting and for their collaboration with ocean management planning groups such as the Northeast Regional Ocean Council and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean.

URLs/Downloads:

aedlibrary@epa.gov

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Start Date: 04/01/2013
Completion Date: 04/01/2013
Record Last Revised: 04/24/2013
Record Created: 10/07/2011
Record Released: 10/07/2011
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 238790

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB

ATLANTIC ECOLOGY DIVISION

HABITATS EFFECT BRANCH