Flood-stage warning in the United States is the responsibility of NOAA’s National Weather Service3 using sophisticated numerical models that incorporate real-time precipitation data as well as the real-time streamflow data from the USGS stream gauge network. The USGS stream gauge network provides a long-term record of river flow in addition to real-time data in support of flood monitoring. A 2007 report from the National Research Council recommended expanding the USGS monitoring activities on rivers and called for a plan for a 21st-century river monitoring system for data collection, transmission, and dissemination (NRC, 2007).


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)4 is charged with monitoring disease incidence and prevalence. The CDC surveillance system is designed to coordinate with the nation’s departments of health and with hospitals regarding reporting of any unusual patterns in infectious disease, and illness or deaths resulting from radioactive contamination, poisoning, or other sources. Research is needed to continue to improve this surveillance system and to design best practices in response when a problem is detected (e.g., NRC, 2011c).




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