The sediment data are provided as spreadsheet (Microsoft Excel), database (Microsoft Access), and tab-delimited files on CD-ROM and web site. The browser format is the same for both mediums. These data are in the form of appendixes at the end of the report, which provides extensive supporting data, interpretive diagrams, and discussion. The data were obtained from a variety of sources: published reports, theses, unpublished data from agencies and organizations in Louisiana, and Federal agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, NOAA, National Status and Trends benthic surveillance program, and U.S. Geological Survey (publications and new field data)
Assessments of the quality of individual measurements are included in the data as ancillary attributes; the report refers to these as "quality-control fields".
The designation "W" in quality-control fields placed adjacent to data fields in the full database warns that the data in question appear to show unresolvable anomalies. "0" in a concentration field means that the constituent was analyzed and found to have a concentration below the detection limit for the method utilized. (Zeros are different, therefore, from blank fields, which show that the constituent was not measured). Other remarks in the quality-control fields provide comments relating to the data that may be helpful in interpreting or further evaluating the data. See appendix B for further explanations on quality control and codes.
Environmental issues include linking the chemical data to bulk sediment toxicity criteria, searching for possible contaminant sources, and identifying transport and geochemical processes. The in-depth inventory and assessment was only possible with the help of many partners and cooperators.