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Strengthening Regional and National Monitoring CONTINUUM OF MONITORING SCALES One of the committee's major findings is that monitoring designed prin- cipally to meet regulatory compliance needs generally does not adequately answer questions about the regional and national risks of pollutant inputs to public health, coastal environmental quality, or living resources. The reason is that compliance monitoring Epically does not address potential effects removed from specific discharge points, including overall responses of the ecosystem to anthropogenic and natural stresses. Such information may not directly affect day-to-day decision making about a particular dis- charge, but improved knowledge on broader space and time scales of the changing environment and the status of its living marine resources is re- quired to place site-specific regulatory decisions in a relevant context. The three case studies found that, in general, site-specific monitoring programs conducted specifically to assess the effects of specific wastewater discharges or activities were not sufficiently integrated to address questions about regional-scale problems. (See Box 3.1.) For this reason, the committee evaluated the benefits of strengthened monitoring efforts at regional and national scales to improve understand- ing of broader-scale trends in marine environmental quality. However, before the findings of this assessment are presented, the scale of various monitoring activities is briefly described. Marine environmental monitoring may cover a continuum of scales. Local monitoring around a discharge site for compliance purposes generally has a characteristic scale of tens of 38

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STRENGTHENING REGIONAL AND NATIONAL MONITORING 39 BOX 3.1 COMMITTEE FINDINGS ON REGIONAL MONITORING When monitoring programs were designed principally to deter- mine compliance with permits or were not coordinated with the organizations conducting the monitoring within a region, they were not adequate to measure broader-scale regional and national trends. Southern California Bight . The extensive monitoring here mainly involves sampling new specific permitted activities (e.g., a wastewater outfall, power plant, drilling rig). Many of the environmental problems, however, are much larger spatially. . The effects of unpermitted activities (e.g., stormwater runoff, atmospheric fallout) that could have large impacts are not assessed by existing programs. Compliance monitoring programs could be redirected and integrated for evaluating environmental quality regionally. Chesapeake Bay . The Chesapeake Bay Monitoring Program, begun in 1984, is a coordinated federalistate effort to assess environmental quality trends and the effectiveness of pollution abatement efforts throughout the bay. The living resource component of this new program was not integrated and coordinated with the water quality component. Modifications were made in 1989 for better evaluation of status and trends in living resources. Sampling and analysis methods often differ among program participants, complicating the determination of areawide trends. Particulate Wastes Because particulate wastes may be deposited on the seabed in coastal and shelf environments, their effects on the benthos and sediments are generally compounded by the cumulative impacts of multiple activities that are regional in scope. Monitoring particulate waste discharges is often confounded by natural variation (e.g., seasonal patterns) and external environ- mental factors (e.g., hypoxia in dredged material disposed of in Long Island Sound, discharges from offshore oil and gas activities in the Gulf of Mexico) that can be understood only when data on the major sources of variation have been quantified.

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40 MANAGING TROUBLED WATERS kilometers, but it often includes "control" stations farther afield. Regional monitoring can encompass areas exceeding hundreds of kilometers (e.g., Chesapeake Bay, Southern California Bight). Existing monitoring programs on a national scale (e.g., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminis- tration [NOAA] National Status and [lends INS& Program) have been able to collect data at stations spaced about 100 kilometers apart; thus only a few sampling sites fall within an identifiable region. Monitoring of global environmental trends, although not within the scope of this study, is being conducted at an international level to understand the interaction of physical, chemical, and biological processes that regulate the total earth system. The International Geosphere Biosphere Program (IGBP) is one of a number of ongoing global ocean monitoring programs currently planned or under way. The effectiveness of trends monitoring, on either a regional or national scale, in quantizing meaningful changes in the marine environment and its resources depends on the selection of appropriate parameters to mea- sure. A framework for monitoring design that encompasses selection of meaningful and sensitive parameters is provided in Chapter 4; it is beyond this study to prescribe them. However, it is clear from the committee's review that even compliance monitoring programs measure chemical and biological variables primarily because of the feasibility of monitoring them or because of a convention (e.g., inclusion on a list of priority pollutarlts) without regard to their relationship to environmental quality goals. Monitoring at different scales from site-specific to national provides distinctly different strengths and limitations. Some of these are summarized in Table 3.1. Three points emerge from this comparison: there is no singularly appropriate scale for all objectives, integration of data from all scales is necessary for a comprehensive assessment of status and trends, and regional monitoring is especially important. THE ROLE OF REGIONAL MONITORING Rationale for Regional Monitoring It is clear from Table 3.1 that monitoring programs at the regional scale have great potential to contribute information pertinent to management of the coastal marine environment and its resources; yet few regional monitoring programs exist because of important technical, institutional, and financial obstacles. These problems are apparent in the two regional case studies commis- sioned by the committee. Southern California has extensive local mon- itoring but no coherent regional monitoring program, although regional

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STRENGTHENING REGIONAL AND NATIONAL MONITORING TABLE 3.1 The Potential of Marine Env~ronn~cntal Monitoring Contributions to Management Objectives Scale of Monitoring Program Objective Measure effects of specific High source Evaluate effects of source High abatement Assess risks to living resources Determine public health risks Address public concerns Assess cumulative effects Place effects in context of natural variation Set national priorities Low Low Moderate High Moderate Moderate High High High Low monitoring has long been proposed. monitoring program is relatively new. 41 Site-Specific Regional National Moderate Low Moderate Low High Low Moderate Moderate Moderate Moderate Low High Chesapeake Bay's comprehensive Lessons from the Southern California Bight and Chesapeake Bay Monitoring in the Southern California Bight has been conducted for many years and is predominantly organized around discharge permits. A1- though at least $17 million is spent to support these activities each year, a regional assessment of status and trends cannot be accomplished by syn- thesizing and integrating the available data. The case study (NRC in press) identified several program deficiencies regarding the relevance of moni- toring activities to public concerns about human health, living resources, and ecosystem integrity, including: significant diffuse (nonpoint) sources of chemical and microbial contaminants in riverine and stormwater discharges to the bight have not been adequately quantified; no formal institutional mechanisms exist for requiring the findings from the ongoing monitoring programs to be integrated into a regional assessment of environmental quality; and no effective system exists for communicating findings of mon- itoring programs to the public, the scientific community, or policy makers in terms that the respective audiences can understand. As a result of these findings, the case study panel recommended development and implemen- tation of a regional monitoring program for the Southern California Bight. The regional program should: address specific questions about the environ- mental condition of the bight as a whole and the resources therein; require standardized sampling, analysis, and data management methods; establish a data and information management system for all monitoring and resource

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42 MANAGING TROUBLED WATERS data; coordinate the regulatory, management, and technical needs and re- sponsibilities of the local, state, and federal agencies to optimize use of available resources; and involve the public and the scientific community as participants. The Chesapeake Bay Monitoring Program encompasses an exception- ally wide array of measurements of both riverine and estuarine habitats, sediment contaminants, biological variables (including submerged aquatic vegetation, plankton, and benthos), and fisheries parameters. It is an am- bitious undertaking with broad objectives and mechanisms to encourage interstate and intergovernmental coordination. The panel evaluated the program in the context of the conceptual model for marine environmental monitoring described in Chapter 1 (see Figure 1.1) using the questions re- produced in Appendix B. Despite the great strides made by the Chesapeake Bay Monitoring Program, it has some limitations. First, the questions addressed and hypotheses tested through specific monitoring projects were not always clearly and precisely stated at the outset of their implementation. In most cases, the program implemented was not designed to establish cause-effect relationships clearly. Movement from general program goals to specific environmental quality objectives evolved along with the increased body of scientific information and understanding of the processes controlling water quality and the abundance of living resources, including pollution problems. Second, the monitoring program design originally consisted of what is familiar and is easy and inexpensive to measure. Station locations and sampling strategies were not necessarily appropriate to answer some impor- tant systemwide questions: for example, what is the relationship between the status and trends in water quality and the status and trends in living resources? That is to say, sampling strategies for living resource and water quality management agencies were not well coordinated, and many of the data that have been collected by water quality agencies are not easily related to the available living resource data. Despite coordination efforts, jurisdic- tional and institutional boundaries often reduce comparability of data and impede information transfer. The Chesapeake Bay Monitoring Program now faces the common dilemma of choosing between the need for long- term consistency and the desire for flexibility in incorporating improved sampling strategies, innovative approaches, and improved coordination. As a result, the limits to the detection of human-induced effects in a background of large natural variation were seldom stated and in most cases are not known. Sometimes sampling frequency and spatial intensity were not consistent with the scale of temporal and spatial variability of the parameters measured. A major deficiency of the Chesapeake Bay Monitoring Program identi- fied by the case study is that too little attention and resources were directed

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STRENGTHENING REGIONAL AND NATIONAL MONITORING 43 at the management, analysis, synthesis, and interpretation of data relative to the investment made to collect the data. In general, available funding is not adequate for regular interdisciplinary analysis, synthesis, and inter- pretation of data across disciplinary or jurisdictional boundaries. Because of the relative simplicity of the interdisciplinary analyses that have been conducted, there is a heavy dependence on correlation among parameters for providing the information needed to develop remediation strategies. As a result, the program is not sufficiently responsive to the information requirements of decision makers; nor has it provided them with information tailored to their specific needs. Inclusion of data from other monitoring programs in the data base is limited by the capacity of the central data management system, not by whether the data are required for specific analyses that are needed. Although the above list of problems identified by the Chesapeake Bay case study is lengthy, the criticisms are not meant to be damning. Indeed, they are relative to the ideal monitoring program and the model discussed previously. Human, technical, institutional, and financial limitations will always adversely affect any large regional enterprise. For this reason, the findings of the case study are coupled with positive suggestions for evolu- tionary improvements. The Chesapeake Bay program is the nation's most ambitious regional marine environmental effort. The problems encountered in the case study are an illumination of those that will be encountered in other regional programs such as that proposed for the Southern California Bight. The Federal Role The federal government can and should be important in the devel- opment of regional monitoring programs. For example, federal permitting agencies (e.g., Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] regional offices) could require dischargers to participate in a regional monitoring program as a condition of obtaining discharge permits. Permitted dischargers in Southern California have expressed a willingness to participate in this type of regional monitoring program because the broader-scale assessment that would result would provide a context for the localized discharge effects that are usually found. In addition, over the long term, they feel that a re- gional program would document the effectiveness of their routine pollution abatement measures. The major beneficial effect of federal participation in regional monitoring efforts is to catalyze multijurisdictional efforts through active coordination and financial support, as EPA does in the Chesapeake Bay Monitoring Program. Technical assistance in monitoring design, development of standardized sampling and analysis protocols, intercalibration and quality control of

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44 MANAGING TROUBLED WATERS laboratories, and data and information management and interpretation are also technical areas in which regional monitoring programs would benefit from federal coordination and direct participation. For example, NOAA's NS&T Program and EPA's National Estuary Program (NEP) provide a framework around which a regional multiagency state-federal monitoring effort could be established. THE ROLE OF NATIONAL MONITORING Rationale for National Monitoring In addition to strengthened regional monitoring and assessment, there is a need to provide a national overview as a broader context for evaluating trends in marine pollution and the electiveness of pollution control policies, for determining whether observed changes are limited to certain regions or are more widespread, and for generally strengthening the early warning capability for future environmental problems. As described in Chapter 1, our nation spends more than $133 million on monitoring each year. Most is for compliance monitoring, much less for monitoring status and trends at the regional level, and still less for monitoring national status and trends. The United States needs an effective comprehensive national program for measuring and evaluating the status of marine environmental resources and trends in marine environmental quality. We presently have only the modest beginnings of such a program. The federal government participates in various regional monitoring programs through EPA's NEP and conducts a national program to monitor toxic materials in marine mollusks, bottom- feeding fish, and sediments (NOAA:s NS&T Program). These projects do not individually, or in the aggregate, constitute a comprehensive national status and trends monitoring program. EPA is developing an Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP), to include the coastal ocean. Presently we have no authoritative scientific information to address public concerns about widespread deterioration of the oceans. Alternate Approaches Leo fundamentally different approaches can be taken to constructing a comprehensive national marine environmental monitoring program: a fixed station national sampling design and a national program consisting of integrated regional monitoring programs. An Independent National FL,ced-Stanon Monitoring Program Maintenance of a national network of fixed-point sampling stations spaced around the coasts to measure key indicators of pollution impacts

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STRENGTHENING REGIONAL ANI) NATIONAL MONITORING 45 using standard sampling and analysis protocols and careful quality control to ensure comparability among stations and over time is the basic concept of NOAA's NS&T Program. Its goal is "to create, maintain, and assess a long-term record of contaminant concentrations and biological responses to contamination in the coastal and estuarine waters of the United States" (NOAA 1988~. The basic NS&T station network consists of 200 sites, with an average spacing of 20 kilometers within bays and estuaries and 80 kilometers along open stretches of coastline. Samples are collected annually. There are two types of measurements. Benthic surveillance involves the collection of bottom-feeding fish and sediments at 50 sites; mussel watch involves the collection of mussels or oysters and bottom sediments at 150 sites. Both monitor trace elements, chlorinated pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons. In sediments, two measures of sewage- related contamination are included the steroid coprostanol and spores of an indicator bacterium, Clostridium perfiingens. NOAA's NS&T Program is the closest current approach to a stan- dardized national assessment of marine pollution. It illustrates both the strengths and weaknesses of the fixed-station network approach to a na- tional monitoring and assessment framework On the positive side, it pro- vides for carefully controlled collection and analysis of samples and display of summary information in a way that facilitates comparisons of contami- nation conditions over space and time. (See Figure 3.1.) To some degree, these comparisons may be illusory, particularly the ones that suggest dif- ferences among regions. The sampling grid, however, is not dense enough to permit accurate spatial comparisons of the extent of contamination of coastal environments. Samping sites for the NOAA program are selected to be representative of regional conditions, rather than hot spots near known sources of con- tamination or pristine, unpolluted sites. There is some question about how representative any isolated site can be of wider regional conditions when it is located in an area where there may be a range of pollution conditions or considerable local variability in the processes controlling the transport and distribution of contaminants. These limitations lead to the conclusion that the NS&T Program may be more useful in measuring temporal trends at individual stations than in assessing the national status of the marine environment or in comparing the extent and severity of pollution among regions in any precise way. This limitation, in turn, can lead to misin- terpretation of the significance of the program's findings. For example, most of the NS&T data suggest that the coastal environment is relatively uncontaminated with pollutants. (See, e.g., Figure 3.1.) However, until the representativeness of the NOAA sampling sites is known, it is inappropriate to draw this conclusion.

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46 Southampton Shoal CA Nisqually Reach WA Hunters Point CA Dana Point CA Columbia River OR S.D. Bay South Bay CA Seal Beach CA Lutak Inlet AK Bodega Bay CA Santa Monica Bay CA Eastern L.l. Sound NY Western L.l. Sound CT Heron Bay MS Elliott Bay WA Oakland Estuary CA Commencement Bay WA Nahku Bay AK Casco Bay ME Coos Bay OR San Pedro Canyon CA Mississippi Delta LA Merrimack R. Mouth MA San Pablo Bay CA S.D. Bay outside CA Narragansett Bay Rl Charlotte Harbor FL Chesapeake Bay Lower VA Apalachicola Bay FL Buzzards Bay MA Round Island MS Lower Laguna Madre TX Pamlico Sound NC Corpus Christi Bay T)( San Antonio Bay TX St. Johns River estuary FL Mobile Bay AL Delaware Bay DE Boston Harbor MA Baritaria Bay LA Sapelo Island GA Galveston Bay TX Salem Harbor MA Charleston Harbor SC MANAGING TROUBLED WATERS SHS NIS HUN DAN COL SDA SEA LUT BOD SMB ELI 1 . . 12.03 WLI ~ 1,.92 HER t... ... :. ~ 1.83 ELL I:::..::: i,.52 OAK [. :::..:.] ,.5 COM ~ . 1~39 NAH ~ ,.26 CSC ~ ~ 14 COO 0.96 SPC ~ B] MRD ~ 0-7 MER ~ 0.69 PAB ~ 0.56 SDF ~1 0.56 NAR ~ 0.54 CHR ~ 3 0.54 LCB ~ 0.5 APA ~ 0.49 BUZ ~ 0.39 ROU ~ 0.32 LLM [] 0 3 PAM ~ 0.28 CCB m 0.23 SAB ~ 0.24 SJR ~ 0.~6 MOB ~ 0.45 DEL ~ 0.45 BOS ~ 0.14 BAR a 014 SAP ~ 0.12 GAL ~o., SAL ~o.oe CHS 10.07 ~ Fish Liver OverallCoefficientofVariation: 58% FIGURE 3.1 Cadmium in fish liver tissue, 1984 samples. SOURCE: NOAA 1987, p. C-6. With sampling only annually, the NS&T Program is designed to em- phasize measurements that minimize problems associated with short-term temporal variability. Thus integrative measures such as the accumulation of contaminants in sediments and biological tissues are emphasized, rather than highly variable measurements such as water column chemistry or

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STRENGTHENING REGIONAL AND NATIONAL MONITORING 47 plankton populations. On the one hand, this emphasis is a strength of the sampling design. On the other, it reflects some inherent limitations in ad- dressing the program's goal of providing a record of "biological responses to contamination." For example, eutrophication has been identified as a problem of growing concern in estuarine and coastal waters. Yet the annual sampling frequency of the program cannot accommodate sampling for nutrients, algal biomass, or oxygen concentrations, all of which exhibit large short-term temporal (as well as spatial) variability. Thus the program does not include a key pollution issue in its assessment of contaminant conditions. Other major pollution issues not addressed by the NOAA NS&T Program are habitat modifications, including loss of wetlands and submerged aquatic vegetation and the construction of dams, and the effects of global climate change on ecological resources. These shortcomings reflect constraints imposed by the scope, spacing, and frequency of the sampling program that result from budgetary limita- tions. Of necessity, the program was designed to fit within the constraints of available funds, about $4 million annually. However, expansion of the national marine monitoring program may now be possible under the fis- cal year (FY) 1990 budget proposed by the administration. This proposal provides additional resources for NOAA's NS&T Program and for EPAs EMAP. Nonetheless, even this expansion of effort is unlikely to encompass the array of sampling points and measurements needed to estimate the extent of pollution impacts given the vast extent of coastal environments. Evaluation of the findings of water quality records from two nationwide monitoring networks designed to measure riverine water quality illustrates some of the limitations of the fixed station network approach (Smith, Alexander, and Wolman 1987~. Although the data from these systems did reveal some significant trends in water quality, they were only indicative. The data collected from fixed sampling stations around the county proved inadequate to explain or validate some of these apparent trends. It was necessary to make extensive interpretations based upon other sources of information to make meaningful inferences concerning the significance of the findings. An Integrated Network of Regional Monitoring Programs The second broad approach to providing a national assessment of marine environmental quality is for a federal agency, NOAA or EPA, for example, to pull together, synthesize, and interpret available data from an integrated series of regional monitoring programs that have been designed to meet regional and local needs. Well-conceived regional monitoring activ- ities would contribute meaningful information on environmental conditions in individual estuaries and coastal areas. Collectively, these initiatives

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48 MANAGING TROUBLED WATERS could provide the basis for a national assessment of status and trends. The national contributions to such a program would consist of identification, development, and standardization of measurements; establishment of the appropriate baseline and sampling design; and compilation and integra- tion of the findings from regional programs in a national assessment. The benefit of this approach is that it uses intensive and extensive monitoring data for individual areas. These data are more likely to be representa- tive of environmental conditions in the regions under study and to explain cause-effect relationships with respect to observed changes. Relying on a network approach has several shortcomings: some major estuaries or important coastal stretches may not be covered by suitably intensive studies; intensive studies may focus on short-term information needs the `'contaminant of the month" syndrome and fail to provide the consistency in long-term sampling needed for a national assessment; and it is difficult to compare data collected by different organizations for different purposes. This element is in contrast to an independent national program such as NOAA's, In which consistency and comparability are relatively easy to ensure. EPAs proposed ELLAP has many characteristics of an integrated network of regional programs. BOX 3.2 EPA'S NATIONAL ESTUARY PROGRAM Established by Clean Water Act Amendments of 1987 to protect and improve water quality and enhance living resources. Creates a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan, with participation by representatives of federal, state, regional, and local agencies; affected industries; academia; and the public. Calls for assessing water quality and natural resources trends in the planning phase and monitoring effectiveness in the implemen- tation phase. Estuary programs under development: -Albermarle/Pamlico Sound -Buzzards Bay -Delaware Bay -Delaware inland bays -Galveston Bay -Long Island Sound -Narragansett Sound -New YorklNew Jersey Harbor -Puget Sound -Sarasota Bay Wan Francisco Bay -Santa Monica Bay

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STRENGTHENING REGIONAL AND NATIONAL MONITORING A Network of Regional Programs Coupled with a National Program 49 A national program that couples an independent national program with a network of regional programs and includes areas of special attention, such as the Southern California Bight, Chesapeake Bay, and other estuaries included in EPA's NEP (see Box 3.2), would overcome almost all the obstacles identified above. The sparse national array of stations in regions not the subject of intensive monitoring would be increased, and within the intensively monitored regions, sites would be selected for long-term trend assessment of common parameters. Sites within these regions would include hot spots as well as areas of intermediate and minimal contamination. The use of common protocols and intercalibration would ensure comparability of results. Cooperation between EPAs NEP and NOAA's NS&T Program would combine regional programs with a sparser national network of long- term stations and studies. These existing programs could be coordinated and enhanced to improve coverage of unmonitored areas. Another benefit of cooperation between these programs would be better data management and interpretation. ~ accomplish such a union of national and regional programs, a national policy would have to provide both directives and incentives. In any case, effecting the required coordination among federal agencies, state and local agencies, and permittees is a challenge. The needs, barriers, and some opportunities for interagency and intergovernmental coordination are discussed in the following section. COORDINATION The Need for Interagency and Intergovernmental Coordination Whether there is an expanded independent national status and trends monitoring program, a national monitoring program built largely from a network of regional monitoring programs, or a combination of the two, greater coordination among the various federal, state, and local agencies involved in marine environmental monitoring to adopt consistent, or at least compatible, monitoring methods and designs would clearly benefit all levels. Efforts to improve interagency coordination face formidable obstacles at both regional and national levels. Although there have been many federal efforts at coordination, the results have usually been disap- pointing, and many examples of overlapping, fragmentary, and unrelated monitoring efforts remain. At best, coordination task forces are able to serve as forums for information exchange and are not vehicles for modify- ing agency attitudes, behavior, and programs because of basic institutional and bureaucratic behavior. Monitoring to determine the conditions of

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50 MANAGING TROUBLED WATERS well-defined coastal areas, for example, Chesapeake Bay and the Southern California Bight, may offer greater opportunities for coordination both among agency programs and between compliance monitoring and trend monitoring initiatives. In regional studies, interests shared in a geographic area may overcome the more autonomous agency interests at the national level and provide a more fertile atmosphere for coordinated efforts. In addition, technical problems that hinder coordination on national levels (e.g., what to measure) actually facilitate coordination at regional levels because it is usually easier to make decisions for specific regions. As described earlier, NOAA is mandated under the National Ocean Pollution Research, Development, and Monitoring Act of 1978 to develop a coordinated federal program for ocean pollution research, development, and monitoring. However, this effort has largely involved information exchange and documentation of individual agency programs rather than adjustments and modifications to existing programs to achieve a truly co- ordinated national effort. Despite repeated recommendations calling for a more coordinated national effort (see Box 3.3~, no such effort has emerged. In an attempt to remedy this deficiency, the National Ocean Pollution Pro- gram office has established the Working Group on Monitoring, cochaired by NOAA and EPA, to define the federal role in coastal ocean pollu- tion monitoring. It may encounter similar problems unless participating agencies make a more serious commitment. Other federal coordination arrangements are found in existing legisla- tion (the Water Quality Act of 1987 and the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, Title II, 1972) but they have not been implemented effectively. Both require critical review and possible revision if they are to improve interagency coordination. Opportunities to Develop a Coordinated Program There are increased potential opportunities for a coordinated national effort, provided effective federal leadership can be brought to bear. With mounting public concern about the condition of marine resources, the number of regional monitoring efforts is likely to grow. For example, EPAs NEP, authorized by the 1987 Water Quality Act, has stimulated the planning of several intensive regional monitoring programs that could contribute to a national assessment while serving more specific localized management needs. As an initial step, consideration should be given to requiring that management conferences for estuaries included in NEP make a multiyear commitment to participate in a national estuarine monitoring network. They would be requested to monitor prescribed parameters using standard- ized protocols and to provide data and information in standardized formats and on a prescribed schedule to a national coordinator. In turn, they would

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STRENGTHENING REGIONAL AND NATIONAL MONITORING 51 BOX 3.3 PRO GRAM CO O RDINATIO N: 10 YEARS OF EFFO RT The first Federal Plan for Ocean Pollution Research, Develop- ment, and Monitoring (Interagency Committee/Federal Coordinating Council 1979) recommended that a national ocean pollution moni- toring plan be developed for inclusion in the second federal plan. It was to be based upon integration of existing monitoring programs. The second National Marine Pollution Program Plan (Inter- agency CommitteeJFederal Coordinating Council 1981) stated: "The need for development of a national monitoring program has been recast in modified form.... lilt is now believed that the real need is for organizing and structuring existing programs into regional moni- toring networks rather than establishing a new national program for monitoring." The plan proposed "a national marine pollution mon- itoring network, composed of well-defined regional monitoring net- works...." The fourth National Marine Pollution Program Plan (NOAA 1988) adopted as one of its SEX goals the documentation of trends in the status of marine ecosystems. The program recommended: "The Federal Government should promote coordination of state and regional programs, develop guidelines for use in standardizing mon- itoring techniques, and support useful analysis of historical and en- countered data." An Ad Hoc Working Group on Monitoring Environmental Qual- ity of Marine Ecosystems was recently constituted to: establish the objectives of the federal program in this area and determine appropriate roles at the federal and state levels. propose a systematic strategy for developing a national mon- itoring capability to meet these objectives. The strategy will incorpo- rate existing national and regional programs and will use encountered data, peer review, and information synthesis and dissemination. promote the development of improved indicators of ecosys- tem status (NOAA 1988~. have free access to similar data contributed from other participating estuary groups. They should receive supplemental funding for the additional work required. The committee stresses, however, that any such requirements should be limited to consistency in analytical protocols, intercalibration, and formating and reporting certain information to a central point. Any centralization requirement that impinges upon the flexibility needed to tailor regional programs to regional needs would be self-defeating.

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52 MANAGING TROUBLED WATERS In summary, the desired diagnostic national assessment of status and trends in marine environmental quality is most likely to come about through the orchestration, coordination, and synthesis of the results of well-designed local and regional studies. The inherent difficulties involved in comparing and accumulating the results of studies designed and conducted by different organizations and for different purposes are likely to be outweighed by the fact that studies tailored to specific environmental conditions and problems of an area have the best chance of yielding meaningful results. At the same time, although the committee can offer no panaceas or magic formulas, we urge continued efforts to achieve regional coordination of study protocols and parameters. Through development and demonstration of standardized approaches, such as those used in NOA~s NS&T Program, the federal government can encourage wider adoption of methods that will enhance the opportunities for development of information useful in national assessments.