enhancing the quality of USGS science. Although a separate and distinct mission area, water is also a cross-cutting topic important to other themes. NAWQA data and products can fit within most if not all of these mission areas, and opportunities for collaboration should abound from overlapping interests. NAWQA leaders should seek further opportunities for cooperation, coordination, and collaboration within the USGS and make a systematic effort to communicate its capabilities and potential value to the relevant programs and offices within the USGS through the Science Plan.
NAWQA has worked to establish cooperative relationships and coordinated efforts with external partners including other federal agencies and state and local authorities. NAWQA’s efforts have become important to other agencies, and these relationships have strengthened NAWQA and USGS as a whole. NAWQA should maintain its interface with the other federal agencies and stakeholder groups and work toward leveraging collaborative resources to meet the needs of the national Science Plan. For example, in May 2011, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and USGS announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding “to form an innovative partnership to address America’s growing water resources challenges.” NAWQA data and collaboration have contributed to the continuing efforts of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), one of NAWQA’s most critical partners, to meet the goals of the Clean Water Act and provided insight on unregulated chemicals under consideration for addition to the Contaminant Candidate List (CCL).8 This is an example of working toward real collaborative approaches, as urged in this report.
To meet the national needs outlined in the Cycle 3 Science Plan, NAWQA will need to emphasize collaboration in two modes: as a leader that partners with other USGS and external programs, and as a follower with other federal agencies, state and local governments, and the private sector. As part of this approach NAWQA would need to:
• focus on core mission areas where it has unique capabilities, for the program’s own implementation efforts;
• leverage resources with other agencies to achieve more of the objectives of the Cycle 3 Science Plan;
• foster higher levels of involvement and investment by other agencies; and
• help others design their own mission-critical programs to meet identified national objectives of the Cycle 3 Science Plan without NAWQA’s direct involvement; and
8 EPA’s Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water is charged with developing a list of contaminants every 5 years that may require regulation, the CCL.