Water quality in the Rio Chone estuary in Ecuador has degraded over the last three decades by a combination of man-made impacts, including the input of organic wastes from shrimp farming activities located in what were once tropical mangrove forests.
An article in the current issue of the Journal of Coastal Research describes water quality experiments by University of Rhode Island oceanographers Diana Stram and Chris Kincaid and US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) oceanographer Dan Campbell to assess the extent of water quality degradation in this ecologically sensitive area. The project was funded by a URI/EPA cooperative fellowship agreement and by the URI Coastal Resources Center.
The Rio Chone estuary has a history of water quality problems due to the combination of seasonal climate influences and management of natural resources. The estuary is affected primarily by an influx of sediment because of erosion of hillsides and construction of ponds; seasonal climate changes combined with decreased freshwater flow; and shrimp mariculture development resulting in mangrove habitat loss and the flushing of shrimp pond production wastes into the estuary.
Lisa Cugini | EurekAlert!
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