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A National Water Quality Monitoring Network for U.S. Coastal Waters and Their Tributaries

Gail E. Mallard 1, Charles Spooner 2, Toni M. Johnson 3 and Brian D. Melzian 4

1 U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia
2 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC
3 U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia
4 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Narragansett, Rhode Island

The U.S. Ocean Action Plan (2004) called for the development of a National Monitoring Network for U.S. Coastal Waters and their Tributaries (Network) to assure effective stewardship of ocean and Great Lakes resources. The National Water Quality Monitoring Council of the Advisory Committee on Water Information was asked to design this Network; in part because of its broad membership, including federal, tribal, state and local agencies, water associations, universities and the private sector.

The proposed Network shares many attributes with ongoing monitoring efforts; but is unique in that is uses an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to address a broad range of resource components, from upland watersheds to offshore waters. Key design features include:

Resource components included in the design are estuaries, nearshore marine waters, offshore marine waters, Great Lakes, rivers, groundwater, atmospheric deposition, beaches, and wetlands. Constituents to be monitored include physical characteristics, inorganic and organic chemical concentrations, and biological conditions.

The next phases of the Network development include the development of one or more “Pilot Studies” in 2007, followed by one or more “Demonstrations Studies” in 2008. For additional information about the Network, please visit: http://acwi.gov/monitoring/network/ .

Keywords: monitoring, network, ocean, marine, coastal waters, Great Lakes, beaches, and wetlands.

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