NAWQA Cycle 3 Science Plan Goals and Objectives
Goal 1: Assess the current quality of the Nation’s freshwater resources and how water quality is changing over time.
(a) Determine the distributions and trends of contaminants in current and future sources of drinking water from streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs.
(b) Determine mercury trends in fish tissue.
(c) Determine the distributions and trends in microbial contaminants in streams and rivers used for recreation.
(d) Determine the distributions and trends of contaminants of concern in aquifers needed for domestic and public supplies of drinking water.
(e) Determine the distributions and trends for contaminants, nutrients, sediment, and streamflow alteration that may degrade stream ecosystems.
(f) Determine contaminant, nutrient, and sediment loads to coastal estuaries and other receiving waters.
(g) Determine trends in biological condition in relation to trends and changes in contaminants, nutrients, sediment, and streamflow alteration.
Goal 2: Evaluate how human activities and natural factors, such as land use and climate change, are affecting the quality of surface water and groundwater.
(a) Determine how hydrologic systems—including water budgets, flow paths, travel times, and streamflow alterations—are affected by land use, water use, climate, and natural factors.
(b) Determine how sources, transport, and fluxes of contaminants, nutrients, and sediment are affected by land use, hydrologic system characteristics, climate, and natural factors.
(c) Determine how nutrient transport through streams and rivers is affected by stream ecosystem processes.
(d) Apply understanding of how land use, climate, and natural factors affect water quality to determine the susceptibility of surface-water and groundwater resources to degradation.
(e) Evaluate how the effectiveness of current and historic management practices and policy is related to hydrologic systems, sources, transport, and transformation processes.
tive 1a includes lakes and reservoirs. Again, while scientifically valuable, the committee encourages caution when pursuing an objective that has not been traditionally part of NAWQA’s design.
Goals 2 and 3 represent the planned extension of Cycle 3 into “understanding” water-quality status and trends, per the original program design (Cycle 1, status; Cycle 2, assessment; Cycle 3, understanding). Many Objectives in Goals 2 and 3 are considered “essential” (2a, 2b, 2d, and 2e; 3b,