Special Monitoring Projects
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A pilot phase of the National Water Quality Monitoring Network (Network) for U.S. Coastal Waters and their Tributaries is moving forward. The goal of the Network is to provide information about the health of our oceans, coastal ecosystems and inland influences on coastal waters. The Network is unique because it uses an integrated, multidisciplinary approach and addresses a broad range of water resources, from upland watersheds to offshore waters. The design was developed by 80 representatives working through the National Water Quality Monitoring Council, including from Federal, state and local governments, universities, water associations and businesses, including EPA's mid-Atlantic Region and the Delaware River Basin Commission. The Council is a sub-committee of the Advisory Committee on Water Information, managed by the U.S. Geological Survey for the Department of Interior. The Committee was asked to develop the design of the Network by the President’s Council on Environmental Quality in response to a recommendation from the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy.
This year, the Network will begin a pilot phase to examine current monitoring practices and gaps in relation to the proposed Network design in three geographic areas: the Delaware River Basin, Lake Michigan, and the San Francisco Bay. These three pilot areas were selected from among 12 expressed areas of interest around the country and is the second step to implement the Network design. This pilot phase is expected to be completed by January 2008 and the next phase will likely involve improvements to existing monitoring sites and installation of new sites, sensors, and data systems needed to fill critical data gaps in selected regions. Further Network efforts will help develop regional elements of a National coastal observing system, and will be a key element in addressing coastal water resource management issues.
- USGS News Release - National Water Quality Monitoring Network Underway (PDF) (1 pp, 154K, About PDF)
Since 2002, a series of fish kills have occurred in portions of the Shenandoah River and the South Branch of the Potomac River. Representatives of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection have formed a bi-state task force on the fish kills in an effort to determine their cause. EPA's mid-Atlantic Region is providing technical assistance to the states’ efforts.
For background on the fish kills and updates on the current investigations: