Monitoring & Assessment Branch
The primary goal of the branch is to build the scientific basis for monitoring and assessment of condition of the Nation’s aquatic ecosystems. In addition, the branch provides state-of-the-art science and technology support for the states, regions, and the Office of Water to meet Clean Water Act reporting requirements which includes an unbiased estimate of conditions in estuaries.
The focus of the Monitoring and Assessment Branch is to:
- Test & demonstrate the probabilistic sampling approach in diverse areas & establish statistical variability of measured parameters.
- Determine the ability of indicators to detect changes & trends in the condition of streams and estuaries, developing better indicators of condition, if needed.
- Demonstrate the effectiveness of the probabilistic sampling approach to state, tribal & local agencies, & build their capacity to develop & analyze information from statistical monitoring designs.
- Improve storage & transfer of information.
Projects include the National Coastal Assessment program, regional monitoring programs (REMAP), landscape modeling to predict aquatic condition and impairment, developing indicators to evaluate benthic condition, developing and evaluating remote sensing as a method to monitor phytoplankton community changes, and refining watershed-based emergy accounting tools, while working in partnerships with states and other government agencies.
A framework, constructed to describe the context of the branch’s research, guides state partners through processes that lead to successful development and implementation of Clean Water reporting requirements.