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Perspectives on a Maturing Program: Innovative Ways to Address New Issues

Stephen B. Weisberg

Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, Costa Mesa, CA

EMAP is now an 18 year-old venture and the metrics of its success have changed over that time period. The goal early in the program was to establish credibility among the scientific community, with success judged through the number of papers published and the comments provided by various technical review committees. Later in the program, particularly after R-EMAP was instituted, the goal of the program was to transition the principles on which EMAP was based to the many state and local programs that EPA supports through the Office of Water. EMAP was founded on two basic principles: 1) The need for probability-based sampling to allow estimates to be projected to a regional assessment, and 2) reliance on biologically-based sampling. From that perspective, EMAP was incredibly successful in its middle years, as virtually every state now has a program that incorporates these principles. The challenge for EMAP now is to recognize that its historic goals have been largely achieved and to reinvigorate itself with new goals. This expansion can be in the form of sampling new habitats, such as the wetlands initiative that requires development of alternative sampling designs. Alternatively, it could be improved interpretive tools, such as California is doing with its sediment quality objectives. Finally, EMAP needs to determine how it wants to incorporate new indicator options, such as real-time measurements from the Integrated Ocean Observing System or genetic techniques that allow more comprehensive biological measurements.

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