NCCOS, in collaboration with NOAA Coral Program partners, released a report assessingthe pollution in Faga’alu Bay, American Samoa (a US Coral Reef Task Force priority watershed). Faga’alu is a focus area for significant interagency scientific assessment and management activities; NOAA’s field efforts were conducted simultaneously with USGS work in the watershed. Surface sediment samples were analyzed for the standard suite of National Status and Trends Program contaminants, including PAHs, PCBs, chlorinated pesticides and heavy metals.
Sediment concentrations of arsenic, chromium, nickel, silver, zinc, chlordane, DDT and PCBs were measured at levels that could result in sediment toxicity. Some of these contaminants (e.g. chromium, nickel, zinc) originate from the watershed, but others (arsenic, DDT, PCBs) are clearly originating from some other source, possibly a legacy landfill on the north shore of the Bay. This study will be useful in evaluating the effectiveness of the best management practicesput in place prior to the study at the quarry, like sedimentation ponds thatreduce contaminant and nutrient loading. These data are part of a larger assessment effort to document the ecology of the Bay and stressors that threaten coral reef resources with collaborators from NOAA-Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center/Coral Reef Ecosystem Division, USGS and San Diego State University.