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A Regional Perspective: State-Federal Partnerships for Monitoring Water Quality in Estuaries of the Southeastern United States

Paul T. Heitmuller 1 and James E. Harvey 2

1 U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Gulf Breeze, Florida
2 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Gulf Ecology Division,
Gulf Breeze, Florida

Federal and State resource agencies have worked together over the past four years to promote effective coastal monitoring in conjunction with National Coastal Assessment (NCA) activities in the Southeast Atlantic Region (Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia). EPA's National Coastal Assessment program demonstrates the successful implementation of a national program at regional and state levels through development of partnerships and division of duties among state and federal scientists and managers. The NCA program is coordinated at the national level by a steering committee composed of federal and state environmental scientists, state resource managers, and a tribal representative. The program is conducted by states and tribes in close collaboration with federal regional scientists and quality assurance experts. Sampling design, sample collection, use of state or national laboratories for sample analyses, sample tracking and transfer among participating states and laboratories, data analyses, data quality and data availability are discussed in the Southeast with particular emphasis on roles and responsibilities of state and federal scientists. This program demonstrates the advantages and difficulties of implementing a large-scale program through tiered management approaches and shared responsibilities.

Keywords: environmental monitoring, estuary, National Coastal Assessment, regional, and Southeast Atlantic Coast.

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