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State Comprehensive Monitoring and Assessment Strategies: EPA's Expectations for Achieving Comprehensive Coverage, Good Science and Effective State Monitoring Programs

Diane I. Switzer

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 1, North Chelmsford, Massachusetts

In 2003, EPA produced a guidance document, Elements of a State Water Monitoring and Assessment Program (March 2003), which provided a framework for the states to develop written comprehensive monitoring and assessment strategies for meeting both Clean Water Act and their own state environmental goals. Production of the strategies by September 20, 2004 will meet requirements of CWA 106(e)(1) and 106 grants. The strategies are to address all 10 elements of a state monitoring and assessment program and should work toward attaining comprehensive coverage of state waters and core designated uses, good science, and a balanced program that produces measured environmental results under efficient and effective processes.

A key component of the strategies are the monitoring designs useful in achieving comprehensive coverage of water body types and water quality standards or designated uses. Many states use only targeted site selection, limited fixed station networks, or census sampling (e.g., designated beaches) of a small subset of waters. Many waters or designated uses are not monitored and are not part of any priority listing to be monitored. EPA anticipates that to expand coverage of waters in a methodical, statistically sound and unbiased manner, a randomized approach is an additional design states should consider.

Keywords: water monitoring program, water monitoring strategy, statewide conditions.

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