The Use of the Terms Cooperation, Coordination, and Collaboration in this Report
Cooperation, coordination, and collaboration are complementary but distinct activities within the context of the NAWQA program.
• Cooperation: Sharing goals, plans, data, and other information within USGS and with other federal, state, and local agencies as well as stakeholder groups to increase awareness and reduce inter- and intra-agency friction.
• Coordination: In addition to the activities captured in the definition of cooperation, the committee uses “coordination” to mean proactive efforts by NAWQA to work within USGS and with other agencies and partners to ensure compatibility of goals, data gathering, and other program activities. If done well, coordination increases programmatic efficiency and reduces redundancies and conflicts.
• Collaboration: Taking coordination one step further, collaboration implies working together to conceptualize, plan, fund, and implement activities that lead to a larger understanding and programmatic impact that could not have been achieved if NAWQA and its partners acted independently.
The development of the comprehensive Science Plan with the input of the NAWQA National Liaison Committee (NLC), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) personnel, other stakeholders, and this committee (NRC, 2010) is a clear example of the effort NAWQA has successfully put forth to work toward a cooperative, coordinated, and collaborative program. The committee commends NAWQA for its work in this arena and concurs with past reviews of NAWQA (NRC, 2002) and USGS Water Programs (NRC, 2009) that have cited NAWQA as exemplary for its efforts to establish cooperative relationships within USGS and with external stakeholders. There are many examples of such cooperative efforts throughout this report. Such cooperative efforts contribute to program and policy relevance and provide additional opportunities to communicate NAWQA’s broader message of leveraging activities of others.
To successfully implement the Cycle 3 Science Plan, NAWQA will need to place even greater emphasis on collaborative efforts in which it is already engaged. These involve data sharing, interpretive efforts, and even mutual planning. However, NAWQA in Cycle 3 will need to go beyond these existing efforts to establish more active collaboration with external agencies and organizations (e.g., related to budgets and staffing) in which NAWQA and these partners work toward common assessment and other scientific goals. The effort will require a change in approach for parts of NAWQA in order to more fully and directly involve these potential partners and collaborators