The United States Environmental Protection
Agency's Environmental Monitoring
and Assessment Program (EMAP) is conducting a study
in the western United States. This study will advance
the science of ecological monitoring and demonstrate
techniques for regional-scale assessment of the condition
of aquatic resources in the western united states (EPA
Regions 8, 9, 10, and New Mexico).
Human stresses on
the natural resources of the United States are intense.
These pressures have resulted in many unintended
changes in our ecosystems -- loss of biodiversity,
increases in the number of endangered species (e.g.
salmon), habitat degradation, and increases in contamination
and pollution. Major public and private efforts have gone
into controlling pollution, and protecting and restoring
natural resources and the ecosystems they depend
on. Corrective actions have, and will continue to
have, an impact upon how we all lead our lives. We
react to the problems that are most visible and thus
receive the greatest amount of publicity. To make
the most of our environmental efforts, we need to
understand and assess the status and trends in the
condition of our ecological resources and the stressors
affecting these systems. It is not at all clear if
we are currently targeting financial resources and/or
lifestyle changes on problems or at locations where
they will have the most effect.