USGS Holds Briefing on Report of Ecological Health in the Nation’s Streams

On July 19th, the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program conducted a Senate Briefing (ASDWA staff attended) in coordination with Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), and Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), along with the Water Environment Federation and the Northeast Midwest Institute entitled, “Health of U.S. Streams Reduced by Streamflow Modifications and Contaminants.”  Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD) opened the briefing by explaining the critical need for NAWQA science and data to inform public policy decisions on how to protect water quality, make infrastructure investments, and sustain economies.

The purpose of the briefing was to convey the findings from the report, “Ecological Health in the Nation’s Streams, 1993—2005,” that assessed the condition of three biological communities (algae, macroinvertebrates, and fish) and the direct association of their presence and condition in rivers and streams to streamflow modification, pesticides, nutrients, and other factors.  During the briefing, USGS explained the importance of assessing all of these factors, and the implications the findings have for prioritizing protection and restoration actions.  Speakers from the state fish and wildlife programs in Tennessee and California explained how they are using the NAWQA data, along with other data sets and modeling tools, to develop protection and restoration strategies, and long-term water supply management plans.  This is part of the states’ overarching goals to ensure food supplies, drinking water, recreation and fishing, flood control, and economic growth; and to prepare for and lessen impacts from stressors such as growing populations, changes in land use, and variations in climate and weather.

Visit the USGS web site to view the report, press release, fact sheet, and presentations from the briefing at:  More information about the NAWQA program can be found on the web site HERE.