Mussel Watch Program
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Status and Trends (NS&T) Mussel Watch Program is a contaminant monitoring program that started in 1986. It is the longest running continuous contaminant monitoring program of its kind in the United States. Mussel Watch monitors the concentration of contaminants in bivalves (mussels and oysters) and sediments in the coastal waters of the U.S., including the Great Lakes, to monitor bivalve health and by extension the health of their local and regional environment.Mussel Watch consults with experts to determine appropriate contaminants to monitor; these include dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). As of 2008, Mussel Watch monitors approximately 140 analytes. In addition to the effects of contaminants, Mussel Watch is able to assess the effects of natural disasters, such as the 2005 Hurricane Katrina, and environmental disasters, such as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Data collected by Mussel Watch can also be used to monitor the effectiveness of coastal remediation. The Mussel Watch Program utilized its 20 years of monitoring data to effectively analyze the impacts of Hurricane Katrina and has affected regulatory decisions based on the data it has collected on bivalve parasites.