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Coast Report


If we gave our coastlines an environmental report card, what grade should they get? Surprise! There IS a report, and it gives our coasts about a grade "C."

It's called the National Coastal Condition Report, and it's the third in a series started by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2001.

It's the first truly national assessment of all our coastlines' ecological health, including the Great Lakes, Alaska and Hawaii.

Surprisingly, some areas scored better than before. The Northeast and the West have improved since the last report; while the Southeast and the Gulf of Mexico rank lower. Overall, our coastlines earned a down-the-middle "Fair," when it comes to water quality, sediment quality, habitat, contaminants in fish tissue and conditions for bottom-dwelling critters.

But while "Fair" might sound as stinging as a bad grade in math class, it actually holds promise. Comparisons with the 2005 report card show slight improvements due, possibly, to positive effects from environmental laws passed in the 1970s.

If you think our coasts could do better, you're right and you can help by cleaning litter off a beach and eating sustainably farmed seafood. Small changes, maybe. But they make the grade: Coast to coast.

Script by Gail Davis

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