Coral Health and Monitoring Program coral at aoml.noaa.gov
Mon Jan 13 10:43:37 EST 1997

Forwarded message:




                                 FOR THE

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4 announces
opportunities for special studies in the Florida Keys National Marine

Special studies are requested on the following priority topics:
        1.  Effects of wastewater pollutants on Sanctuary resources
        2.  Effects of Florida Bay discharge on Sanctuary resources
        3.  Effects of mosquito control measures on non-targeted organisms
        4.  Public health concerns in canals or other confined waters in
the Florida Keys
        5.  Diseases of corals.


The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary was created by Public Law
101-605, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Protection Act of
1990.  Included in the Sanctuary are 2800 square nautical miles of
nearshore waters extending from Biscayne Bay to the Dry Tortugas.  The
1990 Act directed EPA and the State of Florida, in consultation with the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to develop a Water
Quality Protection Program (WQPP) for the Sanctuary.  This is the first
designated marine sanctuary required to have a WQPP.

The purpose of the WQPP is to recommend priority corrective actions and
compliance schedules addressing point and nonpoint sources of pollution to
restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of
the Sanctuary.  This includes restoration and maintenance of a balanced,
indigenous population of corals, shellfish, fish and wildlife, and
recreational activities in and on the water.  In addition, the Act
requires the development of a comprehensive water quality monitoring
program.  This announcement concerns the Research/Special Studies
Component of the WQPP.

Since 1991, EPA and the State of Florida have worked with NOAA and other
federal, state, and local governmental agencies, university scientists,
environmental groups, and the public to develop a WQPP for the Sanctuary.
The National Marine Sanctuaries Program Amendments Act of 1992 requires
EPA and the State to implement the WQPP in cooperation with NOAA.  A
"Water Quality Protection Program Document" was recently approved by the
WQPP Steering Committee and contains the rationale and strategies to
achieve the goals of the WQPP.


EPA and the State have developed an "Implementation Plan for Monitoring
and Special Studies" associated with the WQPP.  The Implementation Plan
prioritizes monitoring and special studies programs based upon available
funding and existing management priorities.  The Implementation Plan also
includes a general description of steps to be taken in implementing the
monitoring and special studies programs.  The monitoring program involves
systematic, long-term data collection and analysis to assess the status of
water quality and biological resources (corals and seagrass communities)
and to detect changes over time.  The Special Studies Program includes
short- and long-term data collection, to understand causal linkages
between pollution sources and ecological problems.  This understanding
will be used to develop predictive models, devise corrective actions, and
improve the monitoring program.

The overall objective of the Special Studies Program is to identify and
understand cause and effect relationships among pollutants, and their
transport pathways, and the biological communities of the Sanctuary.
Specific objectives are to: 1) identify and document cause and effect
linkages between specific pollutants, water quality problems, and
ecological impacts; 2) improve understanding of Sanctuary ecosystems, and
develop predictive capabilities based on that understanding; and, 3)
develop monitoring and research tools to detect pollutants, provide early
warning of widespread ecological problems, and identify cause and effect


Effects of wastewater pollutants and Florida Bay influence on Sanctuary
resources are the two priority topics addressed in the Implementation
Plan.  Three additional priority topics were recently identified by the
WQPP Technical Advisory Committee, including effects of mosquito control
measures on non-targeted organisms, public health concerns associated with
canal systems or other confined waterbodies, and coral diseases.

Wastewater Pollutants

Despite the magnitude of wastewater pollutant loadings, insufficient data
exist to definitively establish cause and effect relationships between
onsite disposal systems, package plant injection wells, or cesspits and
ecological problems in the Sanctuary.  Existing observations and studies,
together with the magnitude and extent of estimated pollutant loadings
from wastewater sources are a strong indication that wastewater pollutants
are reaching nearshore waters and affecting biological resources.
However, given the potential cost of the wastewater options under
consideration, additional data are needed to document ecological impacts
that can be specifically linked to these pollutants.  Also, alternative,
cost effective nutrient removal methods need to be devised and/or tested.

Special studies are needed to: 1) establish pollutant loading thresholds
above which biotic communities are adversely impacted; 2) detect the
presence of wastewater pollutants from onsite


disposal systems, cesspits, package plant bore holes, and/or surface water
discharges and determine relative contributions of each to Sanctuary
surface waters, groundwaters, and/or sediments; 3) document the transport
of pollutants and describe the severity and extent of ecological impacts
that can be specifically linked to these pollutants;  and, 4) test the
efficiency and cost effectiveness of alternative onsite treatment and
disposal options.

Florida Bay

Significant water quality and other ecological problems have developed in
Florida Bay in recent years.  Problems include massive seagrass die-off,
phytoplankton blooms, sponge die-offs, mangrove die-backs, and population
reductions in economically significant species.  Even under "normal"
conditions, transport of Florida Bay waters of variable temperature,
salinity, and turbidity can result in significant impacts to the water
quality and biological resources of the Sanctuary.  In addition, western
Florida shelf waters are another source of water quality concerns which
could impact Sanctuary resources.

Special studies are needed to: 1) estimate long-term net transport and
episodic transport from Florida Bay and the western Florida shelf to the
Sanctuary, movement of water within the Sanctuary, and exchange mechanisms
at the shelf edge for water moving out to the reef tract; and 2) evaluate
whether Florida Bay and western Florida shelf waters flowing into the
Sanctuary are influencing Sanctuary communities, including seagrasses,
coral reefs, nearshore hard bottom communities, and other biota.

Mosquito Control

Ground and aerial spraying of pesticides are used by Monroe County
Mosquito Control District (MCD) to control adult and larval mosquito
populations.  Although the MCD attempts to avoid aquatic areas during
aerial and ground spraying, the potential exists for pesticides to reach
marine waters.  The MCD has recently begun using ultra-low volume (ULV)
spraying.  While ULV may reduce the amount of pesticide applied, there may
be greater potential for drift of the fine droplets to non-targeted areas.
There are currently no data on the effects of the mosquito control program
on living resources of the FKNMS.

Special studies are needed to: 1) assess environmental concentrations and
effects of pesticides on Sanctuary resources; 2) assess alternative
mosquito control methods, such as ditching, larvicides, and biological
controls; and, 3) evaluate the ecological impacts of the use of pesticides
and herbicides in the Florida Keys.

Public Health Concerns in Canals

A major source of nutrients to nearshore and confined waters of the
Florida Keys is poorly treated domestic wastewater.  There are
approximately 17,000 septic tanks, 12,000 cesspits, 700 shallow injection
wells, and 139 marinas harboring more than 15,000 boats.  Nutrients from
these various sources can enter the more than 700 canals and other
confined water bodies present in the Keys.  Several studies have
demonstrated the rapid transport of sewage effluent from onsite disposal
systems to adjacent canals.  Elevated fecal coliform bacteria have been


found in canals, anchorages, and in groundwaters.  To date there has been
no comprehensive study to determine the public health risks of confined
waters of the Florida Keys.

Special studies are needed to:  1) investigate and compile existing data
on public health risks associated with canals or other confined waters in
the Florida Keys; 2) determine adequacy of existing data on public health
risks and if data are not adequate, survey waters and sediments of canals,
marina basins, and other nearshore waters to assess the presence of
disease causing microbes or other organisms associated with wastewater
pollution;  3) assess the risk to the public of disease organisms in
nearshore waters;  and, 4) if found, assess methods of reducing spread of
infectious diseases.

Coral Diseases

Reports of diseases on corals throughout the world have significantly
increased in recent years.  Several new diseases on hard and soft corals
have been recently discovered in the Florida Keys environs.  The
etiologies of coral diseases in general, and the newly discovered diseases
in particular, are largely unknown.  Also, the role of environmental
factors, such as degraded water quality, in the onset and development of
the diseases is not understood.

Special studies are needed to 1) quantify the distribution and abundance
of coral diseases in Sanctuary waters; 2) identify the causal agents of
coral diseases and mechanisms for spread; 3) assess environmental
conditions which may result in onset of diseases; and, 4)  identify and
evaluate methods of prevention and treatment of coral diseases.


EPA has secured approximately $500,000 to fund the special studies
discussed above.  Accepted proposals will be eligible to receive funds
from EPA via a grant, cooperative agreement, or interagency agreement
(federal agencies).  Proposals may be written for one or two years.
Individual grants/cooperative agreements/interagency agreements should not
exceed a total of $100,000 for the length of the project.  Instruction for
proposal preparation and terms and conditions of grants are fully
described in the Program Description and Proposal Guidelines.

Investigators interested in submitting proposals should fill out the form
attached to this announcement and send it to the address or FAX number
given on the form.  Upon receipt of a completed form, a detailed proposal
package including the Program Description and Proposal Guidelines will be
mailed to respondents..

Submission of a preproposal is required.  Preproposals must be submitted
no later than February 17, 1997.  Preproposals will be evaluated and
ranked by the Management Committee of the WQPP.  Evaluation of
preproposals will be based upon conformance to the goals and objectives of
the WQPP.  A full description of goals, objectives and priorities of the
WQPP is given in the "Water Quality Protection Program Document" which is
available upon request.


Investigators who have submitted a preproposal will be notified by
February 24, 1997 whether a full proposal should be submitted for review.
The deadline for receipt of final proposals is March 24, 1997.

Proposals will be peer reviewed by an external review panel and ranked
according to scientific merit and feasibility.  Highly ranked proposals
will be presented to the WQPP Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) for
review.  The TAC will rank proposals with high scientific merit based upon
relevance to the goals of the WQPP.  The Management Committee will give
great weight to the recommendations of the Technical Advisory Committee in
making their final selection of proposals for funding.  The Management
Committee will present their top candidates for funding to the Special
Studies Subcommittee of the Steering Committee for final approval.  Grants
will be awarded on or before September 30, 1997.

If you have any questions concerning the Water Quality Protection Program
or this request for proposals, please call Bill Kruczynski at 305



                               FOR THE

Investigators interested in submitting proposals for special studies in
the Florida Keys National marine Sanctuary should complete this form and
send it by mail or FAX to:

                        Dr. Bill Kruczynski, Program Scientist
                        Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
                        Water Quality Protection Program
                        P.O. Box 500368
                        Marathon, Florida  33050
                        FAX (305) 743-3304

Send Request for Proposal Package

Name:______________________________________ Title:____________________________



Mailing Address:_____________________________ City:____________________________

State:_______________________________________ Zip:_____________________________

Telephone Number:___________________________ FAX:____________________________


Your topic(s) of interest:                      Wastewater

                                                Florida Bay




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