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In 1991, the U.S. Congress established the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program within the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to develop nationally consistent long-term datasets and provide information about the quality of the Nation’s streams and groundwater. The USGS uses objective and reliable data, water-quality models, and systematic scientific studies to assess current water-quality conditions, to identify changes in water quality over time, and to determine how natural factors and human activities affect the quality of streams and groundwater. NAWQA is the only non-regulatory Federal program to perform these types of studies; participation is voluntary. In the third decade (Cycle 3) of the NAWQA program...
In 2013, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project of the National Water Quality Program launched a new type of study: the Regional Stream Quality Assessments (RSQA). The goals of the RSQA are to characterize water-quality stressors—contaminants, nutrients, sediment, and habitat—and ecological conditions in streams at regional scales and to determine the effects of these stressors on aquatic organisms. The studies include intensive sampling of stressors at approximately 100 wadeable streams, toxicity testing, and ecological surveys of algae, invertebrates, and fish. Sampling is done during spring and summer targeting the period of highest agricultural and urban chemical...
The Integrated Watershed Studies Team is a multidisciplinary group of scientists who carry out collaborative investigations of water chemistry at varying spatial scales. The team integrates physical, chemical, and biological data by applying models and spatial geographic data to quantify the role of hydrological and biogeochemical processes on the chemical evolution of surface water and groundwater. This group is part of the National Water Quality Assessment Project of the U.S. Geological Survey.
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The Hydrologic Systems Team (HST) provides technical support and spatial analysis for the USGS National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program. One of the important roles of the HST in NAWQA is to help develop datasets, models, and decision-support tools to forecast the effects of changes in climate and land use on water quality in streams and aquifers. The HST works closely with the USGS Center for Integrated Data Analytics (CIDA) and with EROS Data Center to complete these tasks. These pages are intended for a place to house and distribute spatial datasets created and used within the NAWQA program.
The National Water-Quality Assessment Project’s study Agricultural Chemicals: Sources, Behavior, and Transport focused on the connections between agriculture and water quality by examining multiple components of the hydrological system within agricultural areas to improve the understanding of how agricultural chemicals are transported into streams and groundwater.
The U.S. Geological Survey’s National Water-Quality Assessment Program is currently conducting a comprehensive evaluation of water-quality trends in the Nation’s streams and rivers as part of its goal to document and explain how water quality has been changing over time. The trend results will be used to describe the geographic distribution, environmental significance, and causes of water-quality changes over time throughout the Nation. Understanding how, where, and why water quality has changed over time is needed to gauge the value of the billions of dollars spent on pollution control in the United States and to adapt future management strategies to better protect and improve water quality on local, regional,...
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project will characterize the status and trends of water quality and aquatic ecosystems by monitoring ambient water-quality and ecological conditions through the newly established National Water Quality Network (NWQN) for Rivers and Streams. The NWQN is the primary source of data for the systematic annual reporting of ambient conditions nationally. The NWQN will also be a primary source of data for periodic interpretive analysis of status and trends for selected topics and regions, but these more intensive interpretive analyses will also utilize other sources of data, including compatible historical and current data from other monitoring...


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