America's Coasts: View from the States

NOAA's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management partners with state programs to protect and responsibly develop our coastal areas, and promote stewardship, research and education at estuarine reserves.

Join us as state Coastal Zone Program and National Estuarine Research Reserve managers share their perspectives on the value of and challenges facing our nationís coasts.

Water Quality

Water Quality

The health of our ocean is directly connected to the health of coastal communities. When the quality of water along the coastline is compromised, it can cause big problems for all living creatures (including people) calling these areas home.

One thing that's affecting water quality is the introduction of too many nutrients into the water. These excess nutrients can act like fertilizer, causing increased growth of algae, or harmful algal blooms, and low-oxygen areas known as dead zones.

While nutrients do enter the ocean naturally, nutrient inputs from people are much greater than natural inputs. Because there are increasingly more people living in coastal areas, more nutrients from wastewater treatment facilities, runoff from land in urban areas during rains, and farming are entering our coastal waters. All of these factors can lead to increased nutrient pollution, which can degrade the quality of water and life in coastal areas.