Mussel Watch Program
|Geographical scale of the assessment||National|
|Country or countries covered||United States|
|Any other necessary information or explanation for identifying the location of the assessment, including site or region name|
Geographical scale of the assessment
Country or countries covered
Conceptual framework, methodology and scope
Mussel Watch supports NOAA ecosystem-based management through an integrated program of environmental monitoring, assessment, and research to describe the current status of pollution and to detect changes in the environmental quality of our nation's estuarine and coastal waters.
Mandate for the assessment
NOAA established the Mussel Watch Project in 1986 in response to requirements of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (33 USC 1442), which called on the Secretary of Commerce to, among other activities, initiate a continuing monitoring program to assess the health of the marine environment including monitoring of contaminant levels in biota, sediment and the water column. The Project was patterned after earlier environmental monitoring projects that utilized bivalve mollusks as sentinel organisms, notably the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Mussel Watch programs (1965-72, and 1976-78) and the California State Mussel Watch Program. These programs were either regional in scope, monitored a selected, small suite of contaminants, or were terminated. NOAA’s Mussel Watch Project was designed to assure nationwide sampling coverage, establish consistent field sampling methodology and analytical protocols, and broaden the suite of chemical analytes.
Conceptual framework and/or methodology used for the assessment
Other (please specify)
URL or copy of conceptual framework developed or adapted
Species groups assessed
bivalves (mussels and oysters); sediment
Ecosystem services/functions assessed
- Regulation of water quality
Scope of assessment includes
Drivers of change in systems and services
Impacts of change in services on human well-being
Options for responding/interventions to the trends observed
Explicit consideration of the role of biodiversity in the systems and services covered by the assessment
Timing of the assessment
Year assessment started
Year assessment finished
If ongoing, year assessment is anticipated to finish
Periodicity of assessment
If repeated, how frequently
Sampling conducted annually (individual sites sampled every other year)
Communication materials (e.g. brochure, presentations, posters, audio-visual media)
Apeti, D. A., G. G. Lauenstein, and D. W. Evans. "Recent status of total mercury and methyl mercury in the coastal waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico using oysters and sediments from NOAA’s Mussel Watch program." Marine Pollution Bulletin (2012) 64(11): 2399-2408.
Apeti, Dennis A., Gunnar G. Lauenstein, and Gerhardt F. Riedel. "Cadmium distribution in coastal sediments and mollusks of the US." Marine Pollution Bulletin 58.7 (2009): 1016-1024.
Johnson, W. E., et al. "Chemical contamination assessment of Gulf of Mexico oysters in response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita." Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 150.1 (2009): 211-225.
Kimbrough, K. L., et al. "Chemical contamination assessment of the Hudson–Raritan Estuary as a result of the attacks on the World Trade Center: Analysis of trace elements." Marine Pollution Bulletin 60.12 (2010): 2289-2296.
Lauenstein, G. G., and K. L. Kimbrough. "Chemical contamination of the Hudson-Raritan Estuary as a result of the attack on the World Trade Center: Analysis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and polychlorinated biphenyls in mussels and sediment." Marine Pollution Bulletin 54.3 (2007): 284-294.
Lauenstein, Gunnar G., and Kostas D. Daskalakis. "US long-term coastal contaminant temporal trends determined from mollusk monitoring programs, 1965–1993." Marine Pollution Bulletin 37.1 (1998): 6-13.
O’Connor, Thomas P., and Gunnar G. Lauenstein. "Trends in chemical concentrations in mussels and oysters collected along the US coast: Update to 2003." Marine Environmental Research 62.4 (2006): 261-285.
Tools and processes
Tools and approaches used in the assessment
Process used for stakeholder engagement in the assessment process and which component
Key stakeholder groups engaged
The number of people directly involved in the assessment process
Incorporation of scientific and other types of knowledge
- Scientific information only
Supporting documentation for specific approaches, methodology or criteria developed and/or used to integrate knowledge systems into the assessment
Assessment reports peer reviewed
Accessibility of data used in assessment
Impacts the assessment has had on policy and/or decision making, as evidenced through policy references and actions
Independent or other review on policy impact of the assessment