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Wavebreaking News – Summer 2004

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Welcome to Wavebreaking News………brought to you by NOAA’s National Ocean Service.

Lionfish Established in Atlantic

NOAA scientists are studying the growing number of lionfish sightings off the Mid-Atlantic coast. Native to warm waters of the south Pacific, these beautiful, but dangerous fish have poisonous spines that cause painful stings. Researchers believe that lionfish were introduced into Florida coastal waters around the early to mid-1990s. The Gulf Stream current likely dispersed them into the offshore waters as far as North Carolina and Bermuda, where water temperature is similar to their native habitat. Based on the number of adults and juveniles now observed, lionfish appear to be successfully reproducing in their new home. Since they have no natural predators in the mid - Atlantic, lionfish could endanger native species, by competing with commercially valuable fish, like grouper and snapper.

Restoring Maryland's Patuxent River

Efforts are underway to restore habitat damaged by an oil spill on Maryland’s Patuxent River. Restoration experts recently completed the first in a series of multi-year projects by creating an oyster reef sanctuary seeded with 10 million oysters. Future restoration projects will create a five-acre intertidal wetland, enhance beach habitat for the diamondback terrapin, and restore nesting habitat of ruddy ducks. The spill released more than one hundred-forty thousand gallons of oil in April 2000 at a power plant owned by the Potomac Electric Power Company, also known as PEPCO, and operated by ST Services. PEPCO and natural resource trustees, including NOAA, cooperated to assess damage and agree on restoration projects to benefit the river and surrounding community.

Managing Coastal Growth

Over the next 15 years, coastal population is expected to increase by approximately 27 million people. To help coastal managers address the resulting growth, NOAA’s Coastal Services Center recently examined the costs and impacts of three hypothetical designs for land development. A conventional design creates large lots and consumes the maximum amount of land, while not considering natural resource protection or civic green space. A conservation design protects natural resources by steering development around sensitive natural areas and clustering homes on smaller lots. A new urbanist design creates civic-oriented centers around large open spaces, resulting in a commercial and residential mix. By visiting the Center’s Web site, coastal managers from around the nation can now compare the development costs and impacts for these three widely different alternatives.

Thanks for watching...and for making Wavebreaking News part of your coastal stewardship experience.


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For More Information

Restoring Maryland's Patuxent River

NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration, Chalk Point/Swanson Creek Oil Spill

Oyster Recovery Partnership

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Chesapeake Field Bay Office

Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Patuxent River Oil Spill

Maryland Department of the Environment, Chalk Point Oil Spill

Contact: Lisa Pelstring, Damage Assessment Center,

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