Coastal ecosystems studies and their application to oil spill response
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Because of increased energy demands, the coastal areas of the United States have been subject to rather severe land-use and water-use conflicts. One of the results has been the alteration of coastal habitats that support valuable fish and wildlife resources. Because of threats of further alteration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has conducted several studies about coastal environments and environmental problems. Since 1975, nine coastal ecological studies have been completed; others are being negotiated. Study areas have included the coast of Maine, and central and northern California. Each of these studies provides an information base, a data analysis, and habitat maps. An ecological inventory of the Atlantic coast has been completed and other inventories are contemplated for the Gulf of Mexico, the West coast of the United States, Alaska, and Hawaii. The ecological inventories mainly are maps showing types of land use and coastal fish and wildlife resources and their habtats. Other more site-specific or species specific studies also have been published. These various reports about coastal ecology should be useful to national, regional, and field spill response teams for understanding environmental concerns more fully, planning regional oil spill responses, making on-site decisions, and planning post-spill environmental damage studies.