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LONG ISLAND-NEW JERSEY NAWQA

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Long Island-New Jersey (LINJ) Coastal Drainages Study

Back to LINJ publication list Back to LINJ publication list.

Scope of the Long Island-New Jersey Coastal Drainages Study-Unit Investigation
Fact Sheet FS-030-94, by Mark A. Ayers

In 1991, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) began a National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program to document the status of and trends in quality of a large representative part of the Nation's water resources and to provide a sound scientific understanding of the primary natural and human factors that affect the quality of these resources. The program is designed to produce long-term, consistent water-quality information that will be useful to policymakers and managers at national, State, and local levels.

Investigations of 60 hydrologic systems (study units), which include parts of most major river basins and aquifer systems in the United States, are the building blocks of NAWQA. A framework has been established to ensure nationwide consistency in the approach to each study--in field and laboratory methods, in water-quality measurements, and in the supporting data requirements. Twenty studies were started in 1991, 20 more have begun in 1994, and 20 are scheduled to begin in 1997.

A major design feature of the program that will facilitate integration of water-quality information at national, regional, and local scales is coordination between the individual study-unit teams and the national synthesis effort at all stages of the inve stigations. Thus, results that relate to various topics addressed in the study-unit investigations will be integrated smoothly into NAWQA's national synthesis component. Teams have been developed to address the following topics of national importance: pesticides, nutrients, and volatile organic compounds. These teams are investigating the specific issues by means of comparative studies of a large set of hydrologic systems distributed over a wide range of environmental settings found in the 60 study-units.

The information below summarizes the goals and scope of the NAWQA Program and the Long Island-New Jersey Coastal Drainages study, which began in 1994.

REASONS for NAWQA

  • Protection and enhancement of water quality is a high priority for the Nation.
  • Many clean-water programs do not have data collection or data are not accessible to measure the status or effectiveness of program implementation.
  • Long-term, nationwide, multiscale, interagency, interdisciplinary studies are rare; more such studies are needed to provide information to make sound environmental policy decisions.
  • Additional documentation of nonpoint-source effects on water quality is needed.
  • NAWQA can help reduce uncertainty in water-resources planning, regulation, and management by providing reliable and comparable data at multiple scales.

GOALS of NAWQA

  • Describe the quality of the Nation's surface- and groundwater resources.
  • Detect trends in water quality.
  • Identify the primary natural and human factors that affect the quality of these water resources.

SCOPE of NAWQA

  • Consists of 60 studies--20 each beginning in 1991, 1994, and 1997--and topically focused national synthesis teams.
  • Specifies a rotational, 9-year cycle for each study--3 years of intensive sampling and 6 years of low-level activity.
  • Incorporates about 45 percent of the area of coterminous United States and from 60 to 70 percent of the Nation's water use and population served by public water supply in the 60 study units.
  • Includes plans for a nationally consistent, multimedia, computerized data base on the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of stream and aquifer systems.
  • Provides geographical information system support for developing a national ancillary data base to ensure consistency of interpretations.
  • Employs multiscale study approaches based on analyses of samples of water, suspended and bed sediment, biologic tissues, and aquatic communities.
Map showing the LINJ study area

SCOPE of the LONG ISLAND-NEW JERSEY COASTAL DRAINAGES STUDY-UNIT INVESTIGATION

  • Includes all of Long Island and the New Jersey coastal drainages; excludes the Delaware River Basin (a study scheduled to begin in 1997).
  • Plans for 1994-95 are to compile and analyze available data and to design the study approaches.
  • Plans for 1996-98 are to conduct intensive sampling for a wide array of physical, chemical, and biological characteristics.
  • Plans for 1999-2002 are to complete interpretations of and reports on the intensive sampling data and to begin low-level sampling.

GROUND-WATER STUDY APPROACH

  • Study-unit survey-- to identify water-quality problems in study-unit aquifers to the extent possible with the analysis of available data.
  • Land-use surveys-- to document the effects of land use on shallow water quality in two or three aquifer systems (50-100 wells) not currently well documented.
  • Flowpath studies-- to determine the transport and fate of selected constituents in two or three aquifer systems (50-100 wells of various depths).
  • Water sampling-- to collect samples for analysis for nutrients, pesticides, and volatile organic compounds in water; at some sites, use isotopes and other measures to determine the age and source of the water.

SURFACE-WATER STUDY APPROACH

  • Basic monitoring studies--to determine loads and seasonal patterns of nutrients and suspended sediment at sites indicative of selected land uses and at sites that integrate various land uses (8-10 sites, sampled monthly and during high flows) .
  • Intensive monitoring studies--to determine seasonal patterns of pesticides at a subset of the above sites (3-4 sites, sampled weekly to monthly and during high flows).
  • Synoptic surveys--to determine spatial relations of selected constituents from 20 to 40 sites at a point in time under selected hydrologic conditions.
  • Stream-reach studies --to determine source, fate, and transport of constituents in selected stream reaches through field sampling and computer simulation of physical, chemical, or biological processes.
  • Water sampling --to collect samples for analysis of nutrients, suspended sediment, and pesticides.
  • Suspended- and bed-sediment sampling --to collect samples for analysis for trace elements, pesticides, and other synthetic organic compounds.
  • Biological sampling --to collect biological tissue samples for analysis for trace elements, pesticides, and other synthetic organic compounds; to collect samples of algae, benthic invertebrates, and fish communities; and to describe the associated stream-reach habitats.

STUDY-UNIT LIAISON COMMITTEE

  • Includes affiliates of Federal, State, local, university, private, and citizen groups or organizations.
  • Helps coordinate data and work tasks, reviews plans and results, and guides study toward policy-relevant efforts.
  • Meets about twice a year for a day.

ORGANIZATIONS REPRESENTED ON THE LIAISON COMMITTEE

  • American Littoral Society
  • Brookhaven National LaboratoryHackensack Meadowlands Development CommissionHunterdon County Planning BoardLeague of Women VotersLong Island:
    • Groundwater Research Institute
    • Regional Planning BoardWater Council
  • Manhattan College
  • Nassau County:
    • Department of Public Works
  • New Jersey Department of Agriculture:
    • Division of Rural Resources
  • New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Energy:
    • Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries
    • Bureau of Water Quality and AnalysisOffice of Land and Water PlanningDivision of Parks and ForestryDivision of Science and Research
      • Bureau of Environmental Exposure
      • Water Monitoring ManagementGeological Survey
  • New Jersey Farm Bureau
  • New Jersey Pinelands CommissionNew Jersey State Soil Conservation CommitteeNew Jersey Water Resources Research InstituteNew York City Department of Environmental ProtectionNew York Department of Environmental ConservationNew York Farm Bureau New York State AssemblyOcean County Health DepartmentPassaic River CoalitionRutgers, the State University:
    • Agricultural Extension Service
    • Department of Environmental Science
  • Suffolk County:
    • Department of Health
    • Office of the County ExecutiveWater Authority
  • State University of New York Center for Regional Policy Studies
  • The Nature ConservancyTown of Brookhaven, New YorkU.S. Department of Agriculture:
    • Forest Service
    • Soil Conservation Service
  • U.S. Department of Interior:
    • Fish and Wildlife Service
    • Geological SurveyNational Park Service
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:
    • Environmental Services Division
    • Marine and Wetlands Protection BranchMonitoring Management BranchOffice of GroundwaterSurface Water Quality Branch
  • Upper Raritan Watershed Association

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