Open-File Report 2009-1296
In 1991, the U.S. Congress established the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program to develop long-term, nationally consistent information on the quality of the Nation's streams and groundwater. Congress recognized the critical need for this information to support scientifically sound management, and regulatory and policy decisions concerning the increasingly stressed water resources of the Nation.
The long-term goals of NAWQA are to: (1) assess the status of water-quality conditions in the United States, (2) evaluate long-term trends in water-quality conditions, and (3) link status and trends with an understanding of the natural and human factors that affect water quality. These goals are national in scale, include surface water and groundwater, and include consideration of water quality in relation to human uses and aquatic ecosystems.
The purpose of this report, which is the first of two planned documents on the Cycle 3 design, is to outline and describe a framework of water-quality issues and priorities for Cycle 3 that reflect the unique capabilities and long-term goals of NAWQA, to update and assess stakeholder priorities, and to emphasize and identify potential approaches and partners. Eleven nationally important water-quality issues were identified by NAWQA stakeholders. Collectively the 11 issues provide an initial framework from which a detailed Science Plan for Cycle 3 can be developed. It is important to note, however, that NAWQA will not necessarily address all 11 issues in Cycle 3, nor will all selected topics addressed in Cycle 3 be given equal attention. Regarding the scope of this report, background information on water-quality issues featured in Cycles 1 and 2 is provided in the section entitled “Evaluation of Priority Issues” to establish the baseline. The section entitled “Priority Issues and Potential Approaches” describes 11 important issues identified by stakeholders as priorities for consideration in Cycle 3, including:
The last section entitled “Guiding Principles, Funding Scenarios, and Next Steps for Planning Cycle 3” describes guiding principles and considerations that will be used by the Cycle 3 Planning Team (C3PT) for the development of a Cycle 3 Science Plan. Several appendixes are included at the end of the report to document: (1) the process used to solicit stakeholder feedback on priority issues, (2) water-quality issues identified by NAWQA stakeholders in fall 2008, (3) baseline and stakeholder budget scenarios, and (4) general information about agencies and programs identified as potential partners for Cycle 3 activities.
First posted January 19, 2010
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Rowe, G.L., Jr., Belitz, Kenneth, Essaid, H.I., Gilliom, R.J., Hamilton, P.A., Hoos, A.B., Lynch, D.D., Munn, M.D., and Wolock, D.W., 2010, Design of cycle 3 of the National Water-Quality Assessment Program, 2013–2023: Part 1—Framework of water-quality issues and potential approaches: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009–1296, 54 p.
Goals and Objectives of NAWQA
Purpose and Scope of this Report
NAWQA’s Unique Role in Assessing Current and Future Issues
Evaluation of Priority Issues
Review of Cycle 1 and Cycle 2 Priorities
Priority Issues and Potential Approaches
Energy and Natural Resource Development
Population Growth and Land-Use Change
Policies, Regulations, and Management Practices
Hydrologic Modification and Wastewater Reuse
Common Chemical and Microbial Contaminants
Effects of Multiple Stressors
Guiding Principles, Funding Scenarios, and Next Steps for Planning Cycle 3
Guiding Principals for Planning Cycle 3
Next Steps in the Planning Process
Appendix 1: Process Used to Solicit Initial Stakeholder Feedback on Priority Water-Quality Issues for Cycle 3
Appendix 2: Water-Quality Issues Identified by Stakeholders in Fall 2008
Appendix 3: Background on Baseline and Stakeholder Budget Scenarios
Appendix 4: Potential Partners and Collaborators