Newport Bay Case Study

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As we progress through the course, a complex yet clearer picture is forming regarding how impacts as a result of changes to environmental systems extend well beyond impacts to the wildlife that inhabit those systems. It has become increasingly apparent that environmental changes influence social and economic dynamics as well. The visibility of environmental issues affecting consumers and wildlife alike is very present when we examine estuaries, also know as bays, sounds, or lagoons. Estuaries are mixtures of freshwater and seawater and are created within the indentations found along coastlines. All along the coast of California, where I reside, there are several bays to be found. With many of our major cities built in coastal zones and nearly…show more content…
Their design exposes them to many elements making them susceptible to major and minor environmental changes. Ecological challenges facing estuaries include pollution from point and non-point sources. Pollution can result from contaminants in stormwater runoff, erosion of soil, and disruption to the estuary nutrient load. Collectively, these challenges can result in habitat loss, which affects native species and also impacts recreational enjoyment. In the case of the Newport Bay, the regulation of pollutants is managed by local organizations such as the Newport Bay Conservancy and also managed by larger scale organizations such as the California Coastal Commission. In either instance of management, organizations abide by the regulations set forth by the USEPA which is guided by the Clean Water Act of 1972. Although much of the spotlight on estuary damage can be of a negative focus, it should be noted that there are many positive strides being made in restoration projects and there is a growing reexamination in to how stormwater runoff may be of some beneficial use if not to estuaries than perhaps to watersheds. In looking into the positive potential use of storrmwater runoff, authors Dallman & Piechota (2010) suggest that stormwater may replenish groundwater aquifers and enhance recreational usage opportunities. Organizations are also looking at educational programs as a method to enhance local knowledge about how they can support restoration of the Back Bay through volunteer efforts. The progress made on many prior restoration projects is encouraging and fosters hope that although many challenges face estuaries, there are also a great deal of opportunities to remedy negative impacts and form more preventive measures towards sustainable estuary

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