USGS Water Science Centers are located in each state.
Program Management, NAWQA
Project Title: Program Management, NAWQA Project Number: 4571CRJ Project Chief: Moulton, Stephen R. Project Start Date: 01-OCT-2006 Project End Date:
The USGS National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program addresses three long-term goals:
Describe the status and trends in the quality of a large, representative part of the Nation's surface-water and groundwater
Provide an improved understanding of the primary natural factors and human activities affecting these conditions.
Provide information that supports development and evaluation of management, regulatory, and monitoring decisions
by other Federal, State, and local agencies.
Strategy and Approach
USGS approaches these goals using four major program elements:
Study unit investigations of major river basins and principal aquifer systems follow consistent practices from data
collection through interpretation, to generate comparable findings over time and across the Nation. Study Units will
collaborate with national synthesis teams on five water-quality topics selected for study on the basis of an extensive
analysis of national and regional water-quality issues and priorities. The topics are: effects of nutrient enrichment on
streams; sources, transport, and fate of agricultural chemicals; transport of contaminants to water supply wells; effects of
urbanization on stream ecosystems; and bioaccumulation of mercury in aquatic organisms.
National synthesis of key findings related to important water-quality topics from investigations in the study units and
from other water-quality investigations compare findings across the country and identify relationships between land use,
geology, soils, climate, and water?quality conditions. The current national synthesis topics are pesticides, nutrients,
volatile organic compounds, trace elements, and aquatic ecology.
Supporting research and methods development ensures NAWQA data collection and analyses are relevant to
emerging issues, about 12 percent of program resources are devoted to developing new methods of sample collection
and analysis, and to continuously improving assessment techniques.
Coordination at local, State, regional, and national levels with environmental and natural resources managers and
other users of water-quality information. Nationally, over the past year, NAWQA coordination has increased significantly
with both the USEPA and the National Park Service. NAWQA has provided direct service to the USEPA Office of
Pesticide Programs; Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds; Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water; and
Office of Science and Technology, assisting in the timely and relevant application of NAWQA data to those Offices'
decisionmaking processes. This association has made millions of dollars of field pesticide data available in a useful form
for USEPA decisionmaking. In addition to the national efforts, every study unit maintains a local liaison activity.
Collectively, these study unit liaison activities involve more than 1,500.