Conducted by a committee of Canadian and US government and university scientists, Gulfwatch examines the effects of decades of development and industrialization on the water quality of the Gulf as it relates to human health as well as its impact on other marine organisms. Gulfwatch scientists collect blue mussels at over 60 US and Canadian sites Gulf-wide, and analyze the organisms’ tissue for potentially harmful levels and concentrations of toxins including heavy metals, chlorinated pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
New Hampshire increased the number of Gulfwatch sampling locations from two sites per year in 1997 to an average of five sites per year from 1998-2006. The increased spatial coverage provides comprehensive information for contaminant concentrations throughout the New Hampshire estuarine waters.
All samples collected for the Gulfwatch monitoring program, from the Canadian provinces as well as the New England states involved, have been sent to the same laboratories for analysis. All of the samples have been analyzed at the same time in the same laboratories in an effort to reduce error and variability. This practice has ensured the consistency that was necessary to generate an accurate overall picture of the health of the Gulf.
During the 2006 sampling season, mussels were collected at 5 sampling locations in New Hampshire. The Gulf of Maine Council covered the costs for analyzing three mussel tissue samples. The NHEP covered the costs for analyzing the remaining two mussel samples. The Gulfwatch tasks from the 2006 agreements between DES and the NHEP are listed below.
New Hampshire Estuaries Project
Trowbridge, Phil, "Shellfish Tissue Monitoring in New Hampshire Estuaries 2006" (2008). PREP Publications. 63.