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STATUS REPORT AVAILABLE ON THE GULF OF MEXICO ESTUARIES

Release Date: 11/23/99
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FOR RELEASE: TUESDAY, NOV. 23, 1999


STATUS REPORT AVAILABLE ON THE GULF OF MEXICO ESTUARIES

“The Ecological Condition of Estuaries in the Gulf of Mexico,” a report prepared by EPA and the U.S. Geological Survey, is now available to the public. The report summarizes the condition, extent and geographical distribution of ecological resources in the estuaries of the Gulf of Mexico. Many estuaries flow into the Gulf and serve as nursery grounds for fish, habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, shipping routes and sources of recreation. Species that depend on estuaries during some part of their life cycle, such as shrimp and blue crab, make up more than 95 percent of the commercial fishery harvests from the gulf and are important recreational fishery species as well. Some of the findings in this report include: wetlands loss was rated as severe throughout the Gulf; excess nutrients leading to algae blooms and oxygen depletion were found to be a moderate problem; sediments were in fair condition with respect to contaminants; commercial landings of fish and shellfish were generally stable; and gulf estuaries and wetlands support large, stable populations of waterfowl and other coastal birds. The report can be requested from the Office of Research and Development’s Gulf Ecology Division at 850-934-9218 and is available at: http://www.epa.gov/ged.



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