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J Environ Manage. 2009 Jan;90(1):644-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2008.03.002. Epub 2008 Jul 3.

Review of submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) in coastal zones of the Southeast and Gulf Coast regions of the United States with management implications.

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Coastal Resources Management Program, Department of Geological Sciences, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA.


Groundwater serves as the primary drinking water source for over half of the coastal populations of the Southeast and Gulf Coast regions, two of the fastest growing regions in the United States. Increased demand for this resource has exceeded sustainable yields in many areas and induced saltwater intrusion of coastal aquifers. A process associated with coastal groundwater, submarine groundwater discharge (SGD), has been documented as a source of subsurface fluids to coastal ocean environments throughout the Southeast and Gulf Coast regions and is potentially a significant contributor to nearshore water and geochemical budgets (i.e., nutrients, carbon, trace metals) in many coastal regions. The importance of groundwater as a drinking water source for coastal populations and the influences of submarine groundwater discharge to the coastal ocean warrant increased research and management of this resource. This paper highlights findings from recent SGD studies on three hydrogeologically different continental margins (Onslow Bay, NC, southern Florida, and the Louisiana margin), provides background on the common methods of assessing SGD, and suggests a regional management plan for coastal groundwater resources. Suggested strategies call for assessments of SGD in areas of potentially significant discharge, development of new monitoring networks, and the incorporation of a regional coastal groundwater resources council.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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