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Large rivers and the OW Non-Wadeable Streams Assessment

Joseph Flotemersch 1, Treda Smith 2, Steve Paulsen 3, and Susan Holdsworth 2

1 USEPA/ORD/NERL, Cincinnati, Ohio
2 USEPA/OW/OWOW, Washington, DC
3 USEPA/ORD/OE, Corvallis, OR
4 USEPA/OW/OWOW, Washington, DC

The U.S. EPA is engaging states, tribes and other parties in designing a national survey to assess the condition of non-wadeable rivers and streams. The rivers survey is one of a series of surveys being implemented as a partnership among states, tribes, and U.S. EPA, with the collaboration of the U.S. Geological Survey and other organizations. The purpose of these surveys is to periodically generate statistically valid and environmentally relevant reports on the condition of the Nation’s water resources. These collaborative assessments are intended to facilitate improved collaboration across jurisdictional boundaries and to enhance states’ and tribes’ ability to assess and manage water quality. The goal of the rivers survey is to address two key questions about the quality of the Nation’s non-wadeable rivers and streams:

  • What percent of the Nation’s non-wadeable rivers are in good, fair, and poor condition for key indicators of ecological health and human activities?
  • What is the relative importance of key stressors such as nutrients and pathogens?
In January of 2007, a planning meeting was held in San Antonio, TX to engage states, tribes and other interested parties regarding the survey. Discussion topics included sampling design, indicators, reference condition, analysis, and how to best enhance states’ and tribes’ ability to manage water quality. Feedback from the meeting is being used by a steering committee and focused workgroups to advance the overall study design.

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