The estuarine ecosystem team now has recommendations for revisions to your cooperative’s estuarine indicators. These changes are now open for comment until August 18th. You can either comment at the bottom of this post or email me directly (

Here are the proposed changes to the estuarine indicators:

Index of Coastal Condition

This index measures the overall abiotic condition of the system, is well monitored, and is synthesized by the EPA every 5 years. It integrates measures of water quality, sediment quality, benthic habitat quality, coastal wetlands and fish tissue contaminants. Learn more

Proposed change: Use 3 of the 5 measures in the index (water quality, sediment quality, and benthic habitat quality). Coastal wetlands is too strongly correlated with other indicators and fish tissue contaminants isn’t measured at enough points to provide subregional detail.

View GIS layer

Index of Estuarine Birds Index of Wetland Structure

Proposed change: Current estuarine bird index models treat all estuarine wetlands as equal and are not capturing variations in key ecosystem features. The estuarine ecosystem indicator revision team is currently exploring ways to integrate both wetland patch size and area of open water – vegetation edge into an index of wetland structure. This should capture important areas both for estuarine birds but also for shrimp, crabs, fish, and other nekton.

Number of low impervious surface catchments

Impervious cover is easy to monitor and model, widely used and understood by diverse partners, and is strongly linked to water quality and freshwater inflow

Proposed change: None

View GIS layer

Indicators to be used to calculate estuarine integrity: