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Rating Scheme for the 17 Questions

The purpose of this appendix is to clarify the 17 questions and possible responses used to report the condition of sanctuary resources in "Condition Reports" for all national marine sanctuaries. Individual staff and partners utilized this guidance, as well as their own informed and detailed understanding of the site to make judgments about the status and trends of sanctuary resources.

The questions derive from the National Marine Sanctuary System's mission, and a system-wide monitoring framework (NMSP 2004) developed to ensure the timely flow of data and information to those responsible for managing and protecting resources in the ocean and coastal zone, and to those that use, depend on and study the ecosystems encompassed by the sanctuaries. They are being used to guide staff and partners at each of the 14 sites in the sanctuary system in the development of this first periodic sanctuary condition report. Evaluations of status and trends may be based on interpretation of quantitative and, when necessary, non-quantitative assessments and observations of scientists, managers and users.

Judging an ecosystem as having "integrity" implies the relative wholeness of ecosystem structure and function, along with the spatial and temporal variability inherent in these characteristics, as determined by the ecosystem's natural evolutionary history. Ecosystem integrity is reflected in the system's ability to produce and maintain adaptive biotic elements. Fluctuations of a system's natural characteristics, including abiotic drivers, biotic composition, complex relationships, and functional processes and redundancies are unaltered and are either likely to persist or be regained following natural disturbance.

Following a brief discussion about each question, statements are presented that were used to judge the status and assign a corresponding color code. These statements are customized for each question. In addition, the following options are available for all questions: "N/A" - the question does not apply; and "Undet." - resource status is undetermined.

Symbols used to indicate trends are the same for all questions: “▲” - conditions appear to be improving;  “▬” - conditions do not appear to be changing; “▼” - conditions appear to be declining; and “?” – trend is undetermined.

Question 1 (Water/Stressors):  Are specific or multiple stressors, including changing oceanographic and atmospheric conditions, affecting water quality and how are they changing?

This is meant to capture shifts in condition arising from certain changing physical processes and anthropogenic inputs.  Factors resulting in regionally accelerated rates of change in water temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, or water clarity, could all be judged to reduce water quality.  Localized changes in circulation or sedimentation resulting, for example, from coastal construction or dredge spoil disposal, can affect light penetration, salinity regimes, oxygen levels, productivity, waste transport, and other factors that influence habitat and living resource quality.  Human inputs, generally in the form of contaminants from point or non-point sources, including fertilizers, pesticides, hydrocarbons, heavy metals, and sewage, are common causes of environmental degradation, often in combination rather than alone.  Certain biotoxins, such as domoic acid, may be of particular interest to specific sanctuaries.  When present in the water column, any of these contaminants can affect marine life by direct contact or ingestion, or through bioaccumulation via the food chain.

[Note: Over time, accumulation in sediments can sequester and concentrate contaminants.  Their effects may manifest only when the sediments are resuspended during storm or other energetic events.  In such cases, reports of status should be made under Question 7 – Habitat contaminants.]

Good Conditions do not appear to have the potential to negatively affect living resources or habitat quality.
Good/Fair Selected conditions may preclude full development of living resource assemblages and habitats, but are not likely to cause substantial or persistent declines.
Fair Selected conditions may inhibit the development of assemblages, and may cause measurable but not severe declines in living resources and habitats.
Fair/Poor Selected conditions have caused or are likely to cause severe declines in some but not all living resources and habitats.
Poor Selected conditions have caused or are likely to cause severe declines in most if not al, living resources and habitats.

Question 2 (Water/Eutrophic Condition):  What is the eutrophic condition of sanctuary waters and how is it changing?

Nutrient enrichment often leads to planktonic and/or benthic algae blooms.  Some affect benthic communities directly through space competition.  Overgrowth and other competitive interactions (e.g., accumulation of algal-sediment mats) often lead to shifts in dominance in the benthic assemblage.  Disease incidence and frequency can also be affected by algae competition and the resulting chemistry along competitive boundaries.  Blooms can also affect water column conditions, including light penetration and plankton availability, which can alter pelagic food webs.  Harmful algal blooms often affect resources, as biotoxins are released into the water and air, and oxygen can be depleted.

Good Conditions do not appear to have the potential to negatively affect living resources or habitat quality.
Good/Fair Selected conditions may preclude full development of living resource assemblages and habitats, but are not likely to cause substantial or persistent declines.
Fair Selected conditions may inhibit the development of assemblages, and may cause measurable but not severe declines in living resources and habitats.
Fair/Poor Selected conditions have caused or are likely to cause severe declines in some but not all living resources and habitats.
Poor Selected conditions have caused or are likely to cause severe declines in most if not all living resources and habitats.

Question 3 (Water/Human Health):  Do sanctuary waters pose risks to human health and how are they changing?

Human health concerns are generally aroused by evidence of contamination (usually bacterial or chemical) in bathing waters or fish intended for consumption.  They also emerge when harmful algal blooms are reported or when cases of respiratory distress or other disorders attributable to harmful algal blooms increase dramatically.  Any of these conditions should be considered in the course of judging the risk to humans posed by waters in a marine sanctuary.

Some sites may have access to specific information on beach and shellfish conditions.  In particular, beaches may be closed when criteria for safe water body contact are exceeded, or shellfish harvesting may be prohibited when contaminant loads or infection rates exceed certain levels.  These conditions can be evaluated in the context of the descriptions below.

Good Conditions do not appear to have the potential to negatively affect human health.
Good/Fair Selected conditions that have the potential to affect human health may exist but human impacts have not been reported.
Fair Selected conditions have resulted in isolated human impacts, but evidence does not justify widespread or persistent concern.
Fair/Poor Selected conditions have caused or are likely to cause severe impacts, but cases to date have not suggested a pervasive problem.
Poor Selected conditions warrant widespread concern and action, as large-scale, persistent, and/or repeated severe impacts are likely or have occurred.

Question 4 (Water/Human Activities):  What are the levels of human activities that may influence water quality and how are they changing?

Among the human activities in or near sanctuaries that affect water quality are those involving direct discharges (transiting vessels, visiting vessels, onshore and offshore industrial facilities, public wastewater facilities), those that contribute contaminants to stream, river, and water control discharges (agriculture, runoff from impermeable surfaces through storm drains, conversion of land use), and those releasing airborne chemicals that subsequently deposit via particulates at sea (vessels, land-based traffic, power plants, manufacturing facilities, refineries).  In addition, dredging and trawling can cause resuspension of contaminants in sediments.

Good
Few or no activities occur that are likely to negatively affect water quality.
Good/Fair Some potentially harmful activities exist, but they do not appear to have had a negative effect on water quality.
Fair Selected activities have resulted in measurable resource impacts, but evidence suggests effects are localized, not widespread.
Fair/Poor Selected activities have caused or are likely to cause severe impacts, and cases to date suggest a pervasive problem.

Poor

Selected activities warrant widespread concern and action, as large-scale, persistent, and/or repeated severe impacts have occurred or are likely to occur.

Question 5 (Habitat/Abundance & Distribution):  What are the abundance and distribution of major habitat types and how are they changing?

Habitat loss is of paramount concern when it comes to protecting marine and terrestrial ecosystems.  Of greatest concern to sanctuaries are changes caused, either directly or indirectly, by human activities.  The loss of shoreline is recognized as a problem indirectly caused by human activities.  Habitats with submerged aquatic vegetation are often altered by changes in water conditions in estuaries, bays, and nearshore waters.  Intertidal zones can be affected for long periods by spills or by chronic pollutant exposure.  Beaches and haul-out areas can be littered with dangerous marine debris, as can the water column or benthic habitats.  Sandy subtidal areas and hardbottoms are frequently disturbed or destroyed by trawling.  Even rocky areas several hundred meters deep are increasingly affected by certain types of trawls, bottom longlines, and fish traps.  Groundings, anchors, and divers damage submerged reefs.  Cables and pipelines disturb corridors across numerous habitat types and can be destructive if they become mobile.  Shellfish dredging removes, alters, and fragments habitats.

The result of these activities is the gradual reduction of the extent and quality of marine habitats.  Losses can often be quantified through visual surveys and to some extent using high-resolution mapping.  This question asks about the quality of habitats compared to those that would be expected without human impacts.  The status depends on comparison to a baseline that existed in the past - one toward which restoration efforts might aim.

Good Habitats are in pristine or near-pristine condition and are unlikely to preclude full community development.

Good/Fair

Selected habitat loss or alteration has taken place, precluding full development of living resource assemblages, but it is unlikely to cause substantial or persistent degradation in living resources or water quality.
Fair Selected habitat loss or alteration may inhibit the development of assemblages, and may cause measurable but not severe declines in living resources or water quality.
Fair/Poor Selected habitat loss or alteration has caused or is likely to cause severe declines in some but not all living resources or water quality.
Poor Selected habitat loss or alteration has caused or is likely to cause severe declines in most if not all living resources or water quality.

Question 6 (Habitat/Structure):  What is the condition of biologically-structured habitats and how is it changing?

Many organisms depend on the integrity of their habitats and that integrity is largely determined by the condition of particular living organisms.  Coral reefs may be the best known examples of such biologically-structured habitats.  Not only is the substrate itself biogenic, but the diverse assemblages residing within and on the reefs depend on and interact with each other in tightly linked food webs.  They also depend on each other for the recycling of wastes, hygiene, and the maintenance of water quality, among other requirements. 

Kelp beds may not be biogenic habitats to the extent of coral reefs, but kelp provides essential habitat for assemblages that would not reside or function together without it.  There are other communities of organisms that are also similarly co-dependent, such as hard-bottom communities, which may be structured by bivalves, octocorals, coralline algae, or other groups that generate essential habitat for other species.  Intertidal assemblages structured by mussels, barnacles, and algae are another example, seagrass beds another.  This question is intended to address these types of places, where organisms form structures (habitats) on which other organisms depend.

Good Habitats are in pristine or near-pristine condition and are unlikely to preclude full community development.

Good/Fair

Selected habitat loss or alteration has taken place, precluding full development of living resources, but it is unlikely to cause substantial or persistent degradation in living resources or water quality.
Fair Selected habitat loss or alteration may inhibit the development of living resources, and may cause measurable but not severe declines in living resources or water quality.
Fair/Poor Selected habitat loss or alteration has caused or is likely to cause severe declines in some but not all living resources or water quality.
Poor Selected habitat loss or alteration has caused or is likely to cause severe declines in most if not all living resources or water quality.

Question 7 (Habitat/Contaminants):  What are the contaminant concentrations in sanctuary habitats and how are they changing?

This question addresses the need to understand the risk posed by contaminants within benthic formations, such as soft sediments, hard bottoms, or biogenic organisms.  In the first two cases, the contaminants can become available when released via disturbance.  They can also pass upwards through the food chain after being ingested by bottom dwelling prey species.  The contaminants of concern generally include pesticides, hydrocarbons, and heavy metals, but the specific concerns of individual sanctuaries may differ substantially.

Good Contaminants do not appear to have the potential to negatively affect living resources or water quality.

Good/Fair

Selected contaminants may preclude full development of living resource assemblages, but are not likely to cause substantial or persistent degradation.
Fair Selected contaminants may inhibit the development of assemblages, and may cause measurable but not severe declines in living resources or water quality.
Fair/Poor Selected contaminants have caused or are likely to cause severe declines in some but not all living resources or water quality.
Poor Selected contaminants have caused or are likely to cause severe declines in most if not all living resources or water quality.

Question 8 (Habitat/Human Activities):  What are the levels of human activities that may influence habitat quality and how are they changing?

Human activities that degrade habitat quality do so by affecting structural (geological), biological, oceanographic, acoustic, or chemical characteristics.  Structural impacts include removal or mechanical alteration, including various fishing techniques (trawls, traps, dredges, longlines, and even hook-and-line in some habitats), dredging channels and harbors and dumping spoil, vessel groundings, anchoring, laying pipelines and cables, installing offshore structures, discharging drill cuttings, dragging tow cables, and placing artificial reefs.  Removal or alteration of critical biological components of habitats can occur along with several of the above activities, most notably trawling, groundings, and cable drags.  Marine debris, particularly in large quantities (e.g., lost gill nets and other types of fishing gear), can affect both biological and structural habitat components.  Changes in water circulation often occur when channels are dredged, fill is added, coastal areas are reinforced, or other construction takes place.  These activities affect habitat by changing food delivery, waste removal, water quality (e.g., salinity, clarity and sedimentation), recruitment patterns, and a host of other factors. Acoustic impacts can occur to water column habitats and organisms from acute and chronic sources of anthropogenic noise (e.g., shipping, boating, construction).  Chemical alterations most commonly occur following spills and can have both acute and chronic impacts.

Good Few or no activities occur that are likely to negatively affect habitat quality.

Good/Fair

Some potentially harmful activities exist, but they do not appear to have had a negative effect on habitat quality.
Fair Selected activities have resulted in measurable habitat impacts, but evidence suggests effects are localized, not widespread.
Fair/Poor Selected activities have caused or are likely to cause severe impacts, and cases to date suggest a pervasive problem.
Poor Selected activities warrant widespread concern and action, as large-scale, persistent, and/or repeated severe impacts have occurred or are likely to occur.

Question 9 (Living Resources/Biodiversity):  What is the status of biodiversity and how is it changing?

This is intended to elicit thought and assessment of the condition of living resources based on expected biodiversity levels and the interactions between species.  Intact ecosystems require that all parts not only exist, but that they function together, resulting in natural symbioses, competition, and predator-prey relationships.  Community integrity, resistance and resilience all depend on these relationships.  Abundance, relative abundance, trophic structure, richness, H’ diversity, evenness, and other measures are often used to assess these attributes.

Good Biodiversity appears to reflect pristine or near-pristine conditions and promotes ecosystem integrity (full community development and function).

Good/Fair

Selected biodiversity loss has taken place, precluding full community development and function, but it is unlikely to cause substantial or persistent degradation of ecosystem integrity.
Fair Selected biodiversity loss may inhibit full community development and function, and may cause measurable but not severe degradation of ecosystem integrity.
Fair/Poor Selected biodiversity loss has caused or is likely to cause severe declines in some but not all ecosystem components and reduce ecosystem integrity.
Poor Selected biodiversity loss has caused or is likely to cause severe declines in ecosystem integrity.

Question 10 (Living Resources/Extracted Species):  What is the status of environmentally sustainable fishing and how is it changing?

Commercial and recreational harvesting are highly selective activities, for which fishers and collectors target a limited number of species, and often remove high proportions of populations.  In addition to removing significant amounts of biomass from the ecosystem, reducing its availability to other consumers, these activities tend to disrupt specific and often critical food web links.  When too much extraction occurs (i.e. ecologically unsustainable harvesting), trophic cascades ensue, resulting in changes in the abundance of non-targeted species as well.  It also reduces the ability of the targeted species to replenish populations at a rate that supports continued ecosystem integrity.

It is essential to understand whether removals are occurring at ecologically sustainable levels.  Knowing extraction levels and determining the impacts of removal are both ways that help gain this understanding.  Measures for target species of abundance, catch amounts or rates (e.g., catch per unit effort), trophic structure, and changes in non-target species abundance are all generally used to assess these conditions.

Other issues related to this question include whether fishers are using gear that is compatible with the habitats being fished and whether that gear minimizes by-catch and incidental take of marine mammals.  For example, bottom-tending gear often destroys or alters both benthic structure and non-targeted animal and plant communities.  “Ghost fishing” occurs when lost traps continue to capture organisms.  Lost or active nets, as well as lines used to mark and tend traps and other fishing gear, can entangle marine mammals.  Any of these could be considered indications of environmentally unsustainable fishing techniques.

Good Extraction does not appear to affect ecosystem integrity (full community development and function).

Good/Fair

Extraction takes place, precluding full community development and function, but it is unlikely to cause substantial or persistent degradation of ecosystem integrity.
Fair Extraction may inhibit full community development and function, and may cause measurable but not severe degradation of ecosystem integrity.
Fair/Poor Extraction has caused or is likely to cause severe declines in some but not all ecosystem components and reduce ecosystem integrity.
Poor Extraction has caused or is likely to cause severe declines in ecosystem integrity.

Question 11 (Living Resources/Non-indigenous Species):  What is the status of non-indigenous species and how is it changing?

Non-indigenous species are generally considered problematic, and candidates for rapid response, if found, soon after invasion.  For those that become established, their impacts can sometimes be assessed by quantifying changes in the affected native species.  This question allows sanctuaries to report on the threat posed by non-indigenous species.  In some cases, the presence of a species alone constitutes a significant threat (certain invasive algae).  In other cases, impacts have been measured, and may or may not significantly affect ecosystem integrity.

Good Non-indigenous species are not suspected or do not appear to affect ecosystem integrity (full community development and function).

Good/Fair

Non-indigenous species exist, precluding full community development and function, but are unlikely to cause substantial or persistent degradation of ecosystem integrity.
Fair Non-indigenous species may inhibit full community development and function, and may cause measurable but not severe degradation of ecosystem integrity.
Fair/Poor Non-indigenous species have caused or are likely to cause severe declines in some but not all ecosystem components and reduce ecosystem integrity.
Poor Non-indigenous species have caused or are likely to cause severe declines in ecosystem integrity.

Question 12 (Living Resources/Key Species):  What is the status of key species and how is it changing?

Certain species can be defined as “key” within a marine sanctuary.  Some might be keystone species, that is, species on which the persistence of a large number of other species in the ecosystem depends - the pillar of community stability.  Their functional contribution to ecosystem function is disproportionate to their numerical abundance or biomass and their impact is therefore important at the community or ecosystem level.  Their removal initiates changes in ecosystem structure and sometimes the disappearance of or dramatic increase in the abundance of dependent species.  Keystone species may include certain habitat modifiers, predators, herbivores, and those involved in critical symbiotic relationships (e.g. cleaning or co-habitating species).

Other key species may include those that are indicators of ecosystem condition or change (e.g., particularly sensitive species), those targeted for special protection efforts, or charismatic species that are identified with certain areas or ecosystems.  These may or may not meet the definition of keystone, but do require assessments of status and trends.

Good Key and keystone species appear to reflect pristine or near-pristine conditions and may promote ecosystem integrity (full community development and function).

Good/Fair

Selected key or keystone species are at reduced levels, perhaps precluding full community development and function, but substantial or persistent declines are not expected.
Fair The reduced abundance of selected keystone species may inhibit full community development and function, and may cause measurable but not severe degradation of ecosystem integrity; or selected key species are at reduced levels, but recovery is possible.
Fair/Poor The reduced abundance of selected keystone species has caused or is likely to cause severe declines in some but not all ecosystem components, and reduce ecosystem integrity; or selected key species are at substantially reduced levels, and prospects for recovery are uncertain.
Poor The reduced abundance of selected keystone species has caused or is likely to cause severe declines in ecosystem integrity; or selected key species are a severely reduced levels, and recovery is unlikely.

Question 13 (Living Resources/Health of Key Species):  What is the condition or health of key species and how is it changing?

For those species considered essential to ecosystem integrity, measures of their condition can be important to determining the likelihood that they will persist and continue to provide vital ecosystem functions.  Measures of condition may include growth rates, fecundity, recruitment, age-specific survival, tissue contaminant levels, pathologies (disease incidence tumors, deformities), the presence and abundance of critical symbionts, or parasite loads.  Similar measures of condition may also be appropriate for other key species (indicator, protected, or charismatic species).  In contrast to the question about keystone species (#12 above), the impact of changes in the abundance or condition of key species is more likely to be observed at the population or individual level, and less likely to result in ecosystem or community effects.

Good The condition of key resources appears to reflect pristine or near-pristine conditions.

Good/Fair

The condition of selected key resources is not optimal, perhaps precluding full ecological function, but substantial or persistent declines are not expected.
Fair The diminished condition of selected key resources may cause a measurable but not severe reduction in ecological function, but recovery is possible.
Fair/Poor The comparatively poor condition of selected key resources makes prospects for recovery uncertain.
Poor The poor condition of selected key resources makes recovery unlikely.

Question 14 (Living Resources/Human Activities):  What are the levels of human activities that may influence living resource quality and how are they changing?

Human activities that degrade living resource quality do so by causing a loss or reduction of one or more species, by disrupting critical life stages, by impairing various physiological processes, or by promoting the introduction of non-indigenous species or pathogens. (Note: Activities that impact habitat and water quality may also affect living resources.  These activities are dealt with in Questions 4 and 8, and many are repeated here as they also have direct effect on living resources). 

Fishing and collecting are the primary means of removing resources.  Bottom trawling, seine-fishing, and the collection of ornamental species for the aquarium trade are all common examples, some being more selective than others.  Chronic mortality can be caused by marine debris derived from commercial or recreational vessel traffic, lost fishing gear, and excess visitation, resulting in the gradual loss of some species.

Critical life stages can be affected in various ways.  Mortality to adult stages is often caused by trawling and other fishing techniques, cable drags, dumping spoil or drill cuttings, vessel groundings, or persistent anchoring.  Contamination of areas by acute or chronic spills, discharges by vessels, or municipal and industrial facilities can make them unsuitable for recruitment; the same activities can make nursery habitats unsuitable.  Although coastal armoring and construction can increase the availability of surfaces suitable for the recruitment and growth of hard bottom species, the activity may disrupt recruitment patterns for other species (e.g., intertidal soft bottom animals) and habitat may be lost.

Spills, discharges, and contaminants released from sediments (e.g., by dredging and dumping) can all cause physiological impairment and tissue contamination.  Such activities can affect all life stages by reducing fecundity, increasing larval, juvenile, and adult mortality, reducing disease resistance, and increasing susceptibility to predation.  Bioaccumulation allows some contaminants to move upward through the food chain, disproportionately affecting certain species.

Activities that promote introductions include bilge discharges and ballast water exchange, commercial shipping and vessel transportation.  Releases of aquarium fish can also lead to species introductions.

Good Few or no activities occur that are likely to negatively affect living resource quality.

Good/Fair

Some potentially harmful activities exist, but they do not appear to have had a negative effect on living resource quality.
Fair Selected activities have resulted in measurable living resource impacts, but evidence suggests effects are localized, not widespread.
Fair/Poor Selected activities have caused or are likely to cause severe impacts, and cases to date suggest a pervasive problem.
Poor Selected activities warrant widespread concern and action, as large-scale, persistent, and/or repeated severe impacts have occurred or are likely to occur.

Question 15 (Maritime Archaeological Resources/Integrity):  What is the integrity of known maritime archaeological resources and how is it changing?

The condition of archaeological resources in a marine sanctuary significantly affects their value for science and education, as well as the resource’s eligibility for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.  Assessments of archaeological sites include evaluation of the apparent levels of site integrity, which are based on levels of previous human disturbance and the level of natural deterioration.  The historical, scientific and educational values of sites are also evaluated, and are substantially determined and affected by site condition.

Good Known archaeological resources appear to reflect little or no unexpected disturbance.

Good/Fair

Selected archaeological resources exhibit indications of disturbance, but there appears to have been little or no reduction in historical, scientific, or educational value.
Fair The diminished condition of selected archaeological resources has reduced, to some extent, their historical, scientific, or educational value, and may affect the eligibility of some sites for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
Fair/Poor The diminished condition of selected archaeological resources has substantially reduced their historical, scientific, or educational value, and is likely to affect their eligibility for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
Poor The degraded condition of known archaeological resources in general makes them ineffective in terms of historical, scientific, or educational value, and precludes their listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

Question 16 (Maritime Archaeological Resources/Threat to Environment):  Do known maritime archaeological resources pose an environmental hazard and is this threat changing?

The sinking of a ship potentially introduces hazardous materials into the marine environment.  This danger is true for historic shipwrecks as well.  The issue is complicated by the fact that shipwrecks older than 50 years may be considered historical resources and must, by federal mandate, be protected.  Many historic shipwrecks, particularly early to mid-20th century, still have the potential to retain oil and fuel in tanks and bunkers.  As shipwrecks age and deteriorate, the potential for release of these materials into the environment increases.

Good Known maritime archaeological resources pose few or no environmental threats.

Good/Fair

Selected maritime archaeological resources may pose isolated or limited environmental threats, but substantial or persistent impacts are not expected.
Fair Selected maritime archaeological resources may cause measurable, but not severe, impacts to certain sanctuary resources or areas, but recovery is possible.
Fair/Poor Selected maritime archaeological resources pose substantial threats to certain sanctuary resources or areas, and prospects for recovery are uncertain.
Poor Selected maritime archaeological resources pose serious threats to sanctuary resources, and recovery is unlikely.

Question 17 (Maritime Archaeological Resources/Human Activities):  What are the levels of human activities that may influence maritime archaeological resource quality and how are they changing?

Some human maritime activities threaten the physical integrity of submerged archaeological resources.  Archaeological site integrity is compromised when elements are moved, removed, or otherwise damaged.  Threats come from looting by divers, inadvertent damage by scuba diving visitors, improperly conducted archaeology that does not fully document site disturbance, anchoring, groundings, and commercial and recreational fishing activities, among others.

Good Few or no activities occur that are likely to negatively affect maritime archaeological resource integrity.

Good/Fair

Some potentially relevant activities exist, but they do not appear to have had a negative effect on maritime archaeological resource integrity.
Fair Selected activities have resulted in measurable impacts to maritime archaeological resources, but evidence suggests effects are localized, not widespread.
Fair/Poor Selected activities have caused or are likely to cause severe impacts, and cases to date suggest a pervasive problem.
Poor Selected activities warrant widespread concern and action, as large-scale, persistent, and/or repeated severe impacts have occurred or are likely to occur.

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