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Declines of Eelgrass in Estuarine Research Reserves Along the East Coast, U.S.A., Part 2: Management of Eelgrass Meadows

Author(s): Frederick T. Short, David M. Burdick, Jaimie Wolf, Galen E. Jones

NCCOS Center: CSCOR (http://coastalscience.noaa.gov/about/centers/cscor)

Name of Publisher: Jackson Estuarine Laboratory, University of New Ha

Publication Type: NOAA Special Reports

Date of Publication: 1993

Reference Information:

Abstract: Eelgrass along the East Coast of the United States is threatened by both pollution and disease, which together are diminishing eelgrass populations in many estuaries. The pollution, mainly wastewater discharge ultimately resulting from intense development of coastal areas, reduces water quality and thereby affects the success of eelgrass growth. The disease affecting eelgrass is a recurrence of the 1930s wasting disease, which at the time destroyed 90% of the eelgrass along the East Coast. Both ~sease and pollution impact eelgrass health, and each has destroyed eelgrass populations in some locations. Evidence suggests that these two stresses interact, causing eelgrass to die off rapidly. Of the disturbances to eelgrass caused by human activities, the effects of pollution stress appear to have the greatest potential for reducing population size and distribution below naturally recoverable levels if another disease epidemic occurs.

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