National Research Program, the Toxics program, and the National Stream Quality Accounting Network (NASQAN).
NAWQA has worked to establish relationships with external partners beyond the NLC. The committee received testimony from many federal agency representatives and other stakeholders that highlighted interactions with and observations of NAWQA. From this dialogue and the committee’s own observations, the committee concludes that NAWQA has done an admirable job of establishing collaborative relationships with other federal agencies and state-local authorities (Chapter 3). NAWQA’s efforts have become critical to the missions of other agencies, and these relationships have strengthened NAWQA and USGS as a whole. NAWQA can use past experiences as models for the future efforts. Some examples follow, from the committee’s assessment.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
EPA is one of NAWQA’s most critical partners. During Cycle 1 and part of Cycle 2, USGS placed staff as formal liaisons within several national offices of EPA to enhance coordination. USGS Water Resource Discipline staff liaisons were in residence in EPA’s Office of Water and worked in support of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Amendments of 1996,5 the Clean Water Act,6 and development of water-quality standards and criteria.7 Other USGS staff were in residence in EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), helping to provide information and technical support about pesticide occurrence in water, as well as fate and transport perspectives.
These USGS staff liaisons provided EPA with important scientific perspective in technical approaches to water-quality assessments, development of regional nutrient criteria, and identification of contaminants of emerging concern. Most importantly, perhaps, they also provided USGS with important perspectives on EPA’s statutory responsibilities, for example, development of TMDLs and corresponding information needs. These staff liaisons enhanced working relations and led to some jointly funded projects that were complementary to NAWQA efforts (e.g., studies of pesticides in reservoirs used for drinking water). The formal liaisons were productive ac-
5 The purview of EPA’s Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water.
6 The purview of the EPA’s Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds.
7 The purview of EPA’s Office of Science and Technology.