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Assessment of Sediment Contamination off the Central California Coast Provides Information for Management Planning

The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science released a report in December on the magnitude and extent of sediment contamination for central California that provides an in-depth characterization of chemical contamination and distribution patterns for this part of the California continental shelf, and identifies contaminant fate and transport routes to deep ocean canyons. The report, titled Distribution of Persistent Organic Contaminants in Canyons and on the Continental Shelf off Central California , presents important baseline data to support sustained management of local marine resources and improve understanding of contaminant sources. Researchers collected sediment samples between 2002 and 2004 to determine where and how severely the sediments are contaminated by toxic chemicals, including metals, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), DDT and other persistent chlorinated pesticides, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The study is a collaborative effort with United States Geological Survey and academic partners to identify how biological community patterns respond to contamination and sediment transport dynamics. The report is available online at http://www.ccma.nos.noaa.gov/publications/TechMemoNCCOS58.pdf.

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