Olsen, A.R. 1999. Going against the current: expanding the inland aquatic monitoring culture of federal and state agencies. Pages 25-32 in Proceedings of the Biometrics Section, American Statistical Association, Alexandria, VA.
My interest concerns the design of lake and stream monitoring programs implemented by federal and state agencies in response to the Clean Water Act. Past, and most current, monitoring designs select sites using judgment criteria. Such designs provide valuable data for assessing impacts of point source discharges. The Clean Water Act also requires a national assessment of all waters within the United States. The assessment is accomplished by compiling information obtained from state monitoring programs. Such data do not provide a defensible assessment. An impetus for change began in the late 1980s. The U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. EPA initiated two independent programs:' the National Water Quality Assessment program (NAWQA) and the Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP). These programs use two different scientific approaches for monitoring. In addition, States have competing monitoring requirements. When the academic community's scientific research perspective is added, the result is a natural adversity among the groups. The paper discusses the underlying cultural conflicts associated with monitoring and present mechanisms that have been used to expand the culture, especially with states.