and scope of this Science Plan is to describe a science strategy for Cycle 3. It outlines four major goals for Cycle 3, the approaches for monitoring, modeling, and scientific studies, partnerships required to achieve the four major goals, and products and outcomes that result from planned assessment activities. The committee was asked to focus on whether the Science Plan sets forth adequate priorities and direction for the future (Statement of Task items 1 and 4).

The committee responded to this request through a second letter report, Letter Report Assessing the USGS National Water Quality Assessment Program’s Science Plan (Appendix B), published in January of 2011. The committee concluded that the Science Plan is technically sound and that NAWQA has the scientific capability to achieve its objectives. The committee also noted that the program’s scientific investments are maturing with the completion of Cycles 1 and 2, enabling NAWQA to move past the current water-quality monitoring to understanding the dynamics of water-quality changes, and using that understanding to forecast likely future conditions under different scenarios of climate and land use change.

This report addresses the entirety of the Statement of Task, augmenting the two previous letter reports. The following chapters reflect on NAWQA’s history and accomplishments (Chapter 2 and Chapter 3) and outline a way forward for the program (Chapter 4), which includes an emphasis on collaborative efforts (Chapter 5).

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