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National Aquatic Resource Surveys

Partners in the National Aquatic Resource Surveys

EPA is working with state, tribal, and other federal agencies to implement the National Aquatic Resource Surveys (NARS). States and tribes participate in these surveys through their Clean Water Act Section 106 Monitoring Initiative grants. These groups are key partners in planning, conducting field/lab work, and analyzing/reviewing data. Additionally, many of these organizations opt to add additional sites or indicators during the field year for state/tribal specific purposes.

EPA cooperates with a variety of other federal agencies on survey design, indicators, lab methods, field sampling, assessment and reporting, as well as on enhancing the surveys through intensifications in selected areas or related to key issues.


U.S. Department of Agriculture

Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS)

Technical support for soils field work, lab work and methods development; use data to build the NRCS national hydric soils database (National Wetland Condition Assessment [NWCA]); plant data will inform USDA PLANTS database nationally  (NWCA).

National Forest Service (FS)

Assistance and feedback on site access.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Field work for the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Wetland Pilot (NWCA); technical support for algal toxins; use data to support USGS research on algal toxins (NWCA); data analysis of microcystin; site and sample intensifications in the Mississippi Basin (National Rivers and Streams Assessment [NRSA]); sampling of reference sites (NRSA).

U.S. Department of Interior

Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

Site intensifications on BLM land (NRSA); assistance and feedback on site access.

National Park Service (NPS)

Feedback on indicators and reference sites; reference site sampling; NWCA methods incorporated into Vital Signs sampling efforts; assistance and feedback on site access (NWCA); participates on Steering committee, offering assistance and feedback on protocols, indicators and design (National Coastal Condition Assessment [NCCA]); conducted a study of Great Lakes coastal waters in NPS areas in 2010 (NCCA).

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)

Technical support for survey design; production of site maps (NWCA); NWCA (quality) will complement FWS data on wetland acreage (quantity); assistance and feedback on site access.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Feedback on indicators and reference sites (NCCA), provided recommendations for hand-picked reference sites in National Estuarine Research Reserves (NWCA).

Canadian Ministry of the Environment

Field sampling in Lake Erie (NCCA).