National coastal condition report III. Executive Summary, Part 1 of 2
Coastal waters in the United States include estuaries, bays, sounds, coastal wetlands, coral reefs, intertidal zones, mangrove and kelp forests, seagrass meadows, and coastal ocean and upwelling areas (deep water rising to surface). Coastal habitats provide spawning grounds, nurseries, shelter, and food for finfish, shellfish, birds, and other wildlife. These coastal resources also provide nesting, resting, feeding, and breeding habitat for 75% of waterfowl and other migratory birds. Section 305(b) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) requires that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report periodically on the condition of the nation’s coastal waters. As part of this process, coastal states provide valuable information about the condition of their coastal resources to EPA; however, because the individual states use a variety of approaches for data collection and evaluation, it has been difficult to compare this information among states or on a national basis.