explain why these goals need to be pursued. Specifically, the plan needs to clarify “Why the USGS?”, “Why now?”, and “Why NAWQA?” much like it was presented to the committee in the fall of 2010 (October 26th, 2010 open session meeting of this committee). Why dynamic water quality monitoring is important now, and why the USGS via NAWQA can achieve this needs further clarity in the document although the concept and the need is compelling. Including points such as the following will enhance the draft Science Plan:
Outputs and Potential Outcomes
NAWQA’s Science Plan has four goals, with objectives under those goals. The Science Plan should identify key expected outputs (the products) and potential outcomes from each objective. Outputs and potential outcomes are identified for the objectives under Goals 1 and 2. Outputs and potential outcomes are described under Goal 3, but are not objective specific. Outputs and potential outcomes are not provided for Goal 4. Developing outputs and potential outcomes for each goal is viewed as critical for the science plan’s implementation, to help frame the significance of dynamic water quality monitoring, and to help NAWQA allocate its resources effectively and efficiently over the next 10 years. To the extent possible, NAWQA should estimate when the potential outcomes are expected to occur. (The committee acknowledges that what is practical within a research-oriented product approach may be different from what is needed in a public information-oriented product approach.) Description of deliverables and their timing will help NAWQA implement its Science Plan and help its partners and stakeholders plan how and when they will utilize NAWQA’s work. USGS should strive to make NAWQA data, synthesis, and model projections available to users as quickly as practical, increasing the usefulness and relevance of its work.
Trends vs. Dynamics
Traditional monitoring assesses change by periodic measurements (for example, in the same seasons) to establish baseline water quality attributes and their seasonal averages. Results from regular sampling in time can help identify periodic changes in the state of the system with some recognition of climate or other changes in water quality, but cannot lead to a more fine-tuned understanding of trends