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Mussel Watch Contaminant Monitoring


Inspecting results of bottom sediment grab
Inspecting results of bottom sediment grab

Mussel Watch represents the longest running continuous contaminant monitoring program in U.S. coastal and Great Lakes waters. The project was developed to analyze chemical and biological contaminant trends in sediments and bivalve tissues collected at over 300 coastal sites from 1986 to present. Parameters monitored include sediment and bivalve tissue chemistry for over 100 organic and inorganic contaminants; bivalve histology; and Clostridium perfringens (pathogen) concentrations. This project regularly quantifies PAHs, PCBs, DDTs and its metabolites, TBT and its metabolites, chlorinated pesticides and toxic trace elements.


Mussel Watch supports NOAA ecosystem-based management through an integrated program of environmental monitoring, assessment, and research to describe the current status of pollution and to detect changes in the environmental quality of our nation's estuarine and coastal waters. These interrelated activities are designed to provide coastal managers with national context to measures of local and regional environmental condition. Outcomes include a status of contaminant concentrations around the U.S. including Alaska, Hawaii,  and the Great Lakes, and Puerto Rico. Monitoring activities are designed to quantify and assess spatial and temporal trends in coastal contamination, and to provide a baseline to assess impacts of anthropogenic and natural events, including chemical spills, tropical storms, and hurricanes.

Time Frame

1986 - Present


Project Manager:
1305 East West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
301-713-3028 x115


Products and Publications

Projects and Data