assess the occurrence and distribution of contaminants not yet measured by NAWQA.

The status component is the baseline for all further NAWQA activities. The various themes, objectives, and contaminants selected for monitoring in Cycle II under the status goal of NAWQA are fundamental to the priority issues selected for national synthesis. The committee was asked in its statement of task to “assess the completeness and appropriateness of priority issues (e.g., pesticides, nutrients, volatile organic compounds, trace elements) selected for broad investigation under the national synthesis component of the program.” Before commenting on the proposed status themes and related objectives for Cycle II, it is appropriate to state that the committee supports these existing priority national synthesis topics—pesticides, nutrients, volatile organic compounds, and trace elements— and commends NAWQA for its past and ongoing work on these important topics. The committee also strongly supports the priority for ecological synthesis that was initiated in the last years of Cycle I; this is a very important topic to which NAWQA can make a significant contribution. In the sections that follow in this chapter, the committee further comments on additions to these issues and other proposed priorities.

In the context of assessing the water quality of resources not previously sampled, as well as the stated intent to focus on potable water sources, this chapter first explores the impact of reducing the number units for Cycle II on NAWQA’s ability to achieve its stated status objectives. The continued omission of lakes, reservoirs, and coastal waters in the Cycle II program (see also Chapter 2), as it will impact NAWQA’s ability to fully understand significant chemical, physical, and biological processes that affect water quality, is then explored. A significant portion of the chapter is devoted to an analysis of the last of the three status themes—that of monitoring for contaminants not previously sampled. In this regard, there are several contaminants and groups of related contaminants proposed for monitoring in Cycle II for which sampling was not conducted during Cycle I. The appropriateness of each of the proposed contaminants or contaminant groups, relative to the goals of NAWQA, is evaluated. Next, an assessment of the importance of conducting sediment monitoring as related to Cycle I activities and opportunities for Cycle II and related recommendations are provided. The chapter ends with a summary of the conclusions and recommendations of the committee concerning the status goal, themes, objectives, and corresponding investigations planned for Cycle II.


The first two new status themes of Cycle II are to assess water resources that were not sampled during Cycle I and to focus more heavily on streams and aquifers that are sources of drinking water (Gilliom et al., 2000b). The committee

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