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Alaska Annual Data Report 2005

Special Networks and Programs

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Hydrologic Benchmark Network is a network of 61 sites in small drainage basins in 39 States that was established in 1963 to provide consistent streamflow data representative of undeveloped watersheds nationwide, and from which data could be analyzed on a continuing basis for use in comparison and contrast with conditions observed in basins more obviously affected by human activities. At selected sites, water-quality information is being gathered on major ions and nutrients, primarily to assess the effects of acid deposition on stream chemistry. Additional information on the Hydrologic Benchmark Program may be accessed from

National Stream-Quality Accounting Network (NASQAN) is a network of sites used to monitor the water quality of large rivers within the Nation´s largest river basins. From 1995 through 1999, a network of approximately 40 stations was operated in the Mississippi, Columbia, Colorado, and Rio Grande River basins. For the period 2000 through 2004, sampling was reduced to a few index stations on the Colorado and Columbia Rivers so that a network of five stations could be implemented on the Yukon River. Samples are collected with sufficient frequency that the flux of a wide range of constituents can be estimated. The objective of NASQAN is to characterize the water quality of these large rivers by measuring concentration and mass transport of a wide range of dissolved and suspended constituents, including nutrients, major ions, dissolved and sediment-bound heavy metals, common pesticides, and inorganic and organic forms of carbon. This information will be used (1) to describe the long-term trends and changes in concentration and transport of these constituents; (2) to test findings of the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program; (3) to characterize processes unique to large-river systems such as storage and re-mobilization of sediments and associated contaminants; and (4) to refine existing estimates of off-continent transport of water, sediment, and chemicals for assessing human effects on the world´s oceans and for determining global cycles of carbon, nutrients, and other chemicals. Additional information about the NASQAN Program may be accessed from

The National Atmospheric Deposition Program/National Trends Network (NADP/NTN) is a network of monitoring sites that provides continuous measurement and assessment of the chemical constituents in precipitation throughout the United States. As the lead Federal agency, the USGS works together with over 100 organizations to provide a long-term, spatial and temporal record of atmospheric deposition generated from this network of 250 precipitation-chemistry monitoring sites. The USGS supports 74 of these 250 sites. This long-term, nationally consistent monitoring program, coupled with ecosystem research, provides critical information toward a national scorecard to evaluate the effectiveness of ongoing and future regulations intended to reduce atmospheric emissions and subsequent impacts to the Nation´s land and water resources. Reports and other information on the NADP/NTN Program, as well as data from the individual sites, may be accessed from

The USGS National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program is a long-term program with goals to describe the status and trends of water-quality conditions for a large, representative part of the Nation´s ground- and surface-water resources; to provide an improved understanding of the primary natural and human factors affecting these observed conditions and trends; and to provide information that supports development and evaluation of management, regulatory, and monitoring decisions by other agencies.

Assessment activities are being conducted in 42 study units (major watersheds and aquifer systems) that represent a wide range of environmental settings nationwide and that account for a large percentage of the Nation´s water use. A wide array of chemical constituents is measured in ground water, surface water, streambed sediments, and fish tissues. The coordinated application of comparative hydrologic studies at a wide range of spatial and temporal scales will provide information for water-resources managers to use in making decisions and a foundation for aggregation and comparison of findings to address water-quality issues of regional and national interest.

Communication and coordination between USGS personnel and other local, State, and Federal interests are critical components of the NAWQA Program. Each study unit has a local liaison committee consisting of representatives from key Federal, State, and local water-resources agencies, Indian nations, and universities in the study unit. Liaison committees typically meet semiannually to discuss their information needs, monitoring plans and progress, desired information products, and opportunities for collaboration among the agencies. Additional information about the NAWQA Program may be accessed from

The USGS National Streamflow Information Program (NSIP) is a long-term program with goals to provide framework streamflow data across the Nation. Included in the program are creation of a permanent Federally funded streamflow network, research on the nature of streamflow, regional assessments of streamflow data and databases, and upgrades in the streamflow information delivery systems. Additional information about NSIP may be accessed from

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