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1 Introduction THE PROBLEM There is a growing perception that coastal ocean environments in the United States and elsewhere are deteriorating. Recent reports highlight degradation of some coastal marine environments (Office of Technology Assessment IOTA] 1987), and the broad public perception, chronicled in the popular press (lbufexis 1988; Morganthau 1988), is that this deterioration is accelerating and pervasive. The large mortality of bottle-nosed dolphins off the East Coast from the Carolinas to New England during 1987, the banning of many popular sport fisheries in the 1980s, the closure of New York and New Jersey beaches during 1988 due to stranded garbage, trash, and a small amount of medical wastes, continued controversies surrounding offshore oil and gas development, ocean outfalls off California and sewage sludge dumping off New York, extensive closures of shellfish beds around the country, the Valdez oil spill, and a host of other problems along the U.S. coasts have all heightened public concern. Deterioration in some marine environments is fairly well documented, for example, in terms of loss of coastal wetlands and seagrass beds, con- tamination of bottom sediments and fish with toxic pollutants in certain harbors, and closure of substantial shellfish beds to harvesting in areas contaminated with human fecal pathogens. However, other perceptions of environmental deterioration and the relationship of certain alarming trends to human activities are not, at this point, supported by available scien- tific evidence. It is also the case that selected indicators of some severely 5

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6 MANAGING TROUBLED WATERS degraded marine environments, such as Los Angeles-Long Beach Harbor, South San Francisco Bay, the Potomac estuary and Delaware Bay, and New York Harbor, have shown marked improvements as a result of waste control and treatment. A formidable array of governmental regulations and programs has been set in place to protect or restore marine environmental quality and resources. But continued signs of environmental degradation in some areas point to shortcomings in the availability and use of technical information to predict or detect environmental degradation in relation to either specific or cumulative human activities. Partially as a result of these perceived short- comings, public policies (involving either action or inaction) are frequently developed in the absence of conclusive scientific evidence relating human activities to presumed environmental effects. Conversely, public policies are sometimes developed too late to prevent widespread environmental damage. There is a growing need for better technical information on the con- dition and changes in the condition of the marine environment to guide management and regulatory decisions, verify the efficacy of existing pro- grams, and help shape national policy on marine environmental protection. Regional abatement programs, which involve control of numerous nonpoint as well as point sources, also place greater emphasis on the need for knowl- edge about the condition of the environment. Environmental monitoring is one approach to gathering technical information indicative of the condition of the marine environment. Monitoring is also a useful tool for judging whether protective or restorative steps are warranted or are effective. GOALS AND OBJECTIVES OF THIS STUDY The ultimate goal of the present study is to improve the usefulness of monitoring information. ~ this end, the committee sought to: review the current status of monitoring systems and technology, assess marine environ- mental monitoring as a component of sound environmental management, and identify needed improvements in monitoring strategies and practices. This report is especially directed toward legislators at all levels; offi- cers of regulatory and resource management agencies, public utilities, and industries; and technical service staff and contractors whose responsibility it is to require, specify, or design marine environmental monitoring or to interpret or apply its results. It is not a scientific review of the adequacy of marine environmental monitoring; nor is it a program-specific critique of monitoring practices. Its orientation is more forward looking than ret- rospectively critical. Its aim is to advise on what can be expected from marine environmental monitoring, how it should be designed, and how it can supply information more useful in decision making. Many excellent

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INTRODUCTION 7 works provide advice on the design and implementation of environmental monitoring (e.g., Holling 1978; Green 1979; Beanlands and Duinker 1983; Fritz, Rago, and Murarka 1980; Rosenberg et al. 1981~. This report strives to make the best advice more widely accessible and to place its recom- mendations in the broad framework of environmental management and policy. MARINE ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING Environmental monitoring is frequently conducted to assess the status of the marine environment, detect changes in its status, and guard against the deleterious effects of specific activities, such as waste disposal. Organi- zations required to conduct monitoring, regulatory agencies, the scientific community, decision makers, and public interest groups have all questioned the adequacy and usefulness of marine environmental monitoring programs. Their criticisms deal with both the technical adequacy of the monitoring per se and the usefulness of results in sound environmental management- in other words, with the entire environmental monitoring system. In view of these concerns, the Marine Board of the National Research Council es- tablished a Committee on a Systems Assessment of Marine Environmental Monitoring to assess monitoring programs as they are currently practiced and applied and to make recommendations for improving them. Monitoring is defined in many ways (e.g., Considine 1983; Interagency Committee on Ocean Pollution Research, Development, and Monitoring 1979) and has many historical uses, usually with an emphasis on the re- peated nature of the measurements (time-series). For this assessment, the committee viewed monitoring as a component of an environmental management system. This definition necessarily includes the regulatory, institutional, and decision-making aspects of environmental problems, thus focusing committee attention on the features of monitoring programs that either enhance or detract from their capability to supply information needed for environmental management. Within this context, the committee then defined "marine environmental monitoring system" as a range of activities needed to provide management information about environmental condi- tions or contaminants. Depending on the requirements of any particular situation, these activities could include conceptual and numerical modeling, laboratory and field research, preliminary or scoping studies, time-series measurements, data analysis, synthesis, and interpretation. What distin- guishes a monitoring system from any of these activities taken alone is that a monitoring system is integrated and coordinated with the specified goal of producing Redefined management information; it is the sensory com- ponent of environmental management. This broader view of a monitoring system enabled the committee to address more fully the question of how

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8 MANAGING TROUBLED WATERS the range of available scientific and technical tools could best be used to enhance marine environmental monitoring. Although monitoring is conducted for various purposes, it is generally intended to produce information about three broad categories of problems: (1) compliance, to ensure that activities are carried out in accordance with regulations and permit requirements; (2) model verification, to check the validity of assumptions and predictions used as the basis for sampling design or permitting and for evaluation of management alternatives; and (3) trend monitoring, to identify and quantify longer-term environmental changes anticipated (hypothesized) as possible consequences of human activities. Modeling for compliance and model verification are implicitly tied to specific management actions, whereas trends monitoring may be conducted for the less-directed purposes of surveillance (sense Helawell 1978), which may be carried out in the absence of an identified need for decision making. The committee uses the term monitoring in a broad sense to include all such activities used to evaluate whether environmental management goals are being met. Not included in the committee's operational definition of marine moni- toring are continuing observations of environmental conditions for purposes other than assessing marine environmental quality, for example, measuring water levels and assessing fishery stocks for management of their exploita- tion. Marine environmental monitoring is conducted by federal, state, and local agencies; waste dischargers; and researchers. At the federal level, various statutes require monitoring to be conducted. (See Able 1.1.) Five federal agencies conduct environmental quality monitoring activ- ities in the coastal ocean: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administra- tion (NOAA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE), U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and Minerals Manage- ment Service (MMS) of the Department of the Interior (DOI). Each of these agencies focuses on different space scales, ranging from effluent dis- charges from individual sources (point sources) and their short-term effects at a site-specific scale (e.g., EPA's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System iNPDES] monitoring programs and COE's Dredged Area Moni- toring System [DAMOS]) to measuring the far-field, long-term erects of discharges from multiple (nonpoint) sources on the coastal environment (e.g., NOAA's National Status and Trends iNS&T] Program). Both COE (dredged material disposal) and MMS (offshore oil and gas platforms) conduct monitoring for specific pollution sources. Most agencies (e.g., EPA, COE, and USCG) conduct or require mon- itoring to ensure compliance with permit conditions specified under the authorities of the Clean Water Act (EPA), Title I of the Marine Protec- tion, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA) (EPA, COE, and USCG),

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INTRODUCTION TABLE 1.1 Federal Mandates for Marine Environmental Monitoring 9 Date Title Number 1890 1894 1899 1948 1953 1956 1961 1965 1966 1970 1970 1979 Rivers and Harbors Act Rivers and Harbors Act (the "Refuse Acts") Rivers and Harbors Act Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA or the "Clean Water Act") Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) FWPCA amendments FWPCA amendments FWPCA amendments FWPCA amendments National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) Water Quality Improvement Act Federal Water Pollution Control Act (major amendments) 1972 Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA or the "Ocean Dumping Act") MPRSA amendments Deep Water Port Act MPRSA reauthorization 1974 1975 1977 1977 1978 1987 1988 PL 80-845 PL 83-212 PL 84-660 PL 87-88 PL 89-234 PL 89-753 PL 91-190 PL 91-224 PL 92-500 PL 92-532 FWPCA major amendments National Ocean Pollution Research, Development, and Monitoring Planning Act of 1978 1978 OCSLA amendments 1978 FWPCA amendments 1980 Clean Water Act (FWPCA amendments) 1985 Clean Water Act amendments (national) 1986 Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (MPRSA amendments) Water Quality Act (reauthorization and amendment of Clean Water Act) Ocean lumping Ban Act PL 93-254 PL 93-627 PL 95-153 PL 95-217 PL 95-273 PL 95-372 PL 95-576 PL 96~83 PL 99-160 PL 99-272 PL 1004 PL 100-688 SOURCE: Adapted and updated from Environmental Protection Agency (1982~. and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act amendments (MMS). Others conduct long-term trends monitoring at different space scales (e.g., COE at the site-specific level, EPA at the regional scale through efforts such as its Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes programs, MMS through regional environmental studies programs, and NOAA at the national level). All these agencies, except USCG, conduct field monitoring to test research hypotheses and verify models. The roles and responsibilities of the agencies as they relate to marine environmental monitoring are summarized in Able 1.2. EPA, in cooperation with other federal agencies, is required by the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to "establish . . . and maintain a water

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10 MANAGING TROUBLED WATERS quality surveillance system for the purpose of monitoring the qualifier of navigable waters . . . for the contiguous zone and the oceans." NOAA, in coordination with EPA and USCG, is required by the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act to "initiate a comprehensive and continuing program of monitoring and research regarding the effects of the dumping of material into ocean waters . . . or the Great Lakes." DOI, under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, is required to "monitor the human, marine' and coastal environments of such area or region (OCS [outer continental shelf] oil and gas leasing area) in a manner designed to provide time-series and data trend information which can be used for . . . the purpose of identifying any significant changes in quality and productivity of such environments, for establishing trends in the areas studied and monitored, and for designing experiments to identify the causes of such changes." MARINE ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING EXPENDITURES How much is spent is not an easy question to answer because of the various sectors involved (federal, state, and local government bodies and the private sector) and because of the widely varied scope of monitor- ing. The committee attempted to estimate the level of expenditures for marine environmental monitoring, not to quantify these costs rigorously but to put them in context. Estimates were obtained from the following sources: annual reports prepared for Congress by NOAA on ocean pol- lution, monitoring, and research; annual summaries of federal programs and projects related to marine pollution (e.g., Battelle 1984~; periodic in- ventories of nonfederally funded marine pollution research, development, and monitoring activities (e.g., Battelle 1984~; and a telephone survey of federal, state, local, and private organizations known to have monitoring TABLE 1.2 Agency Roles in Marine Environmental Monitoring NOAA EPA COE USCG MMS Type of Monitoring Compliance X X X X Trends X X X X Model validation/ X X X X research Space Scale Local Regional National X X X X X X X X

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INTRODUCTION 11 Private $23,691 ,000 \/ : \ ~ :~ , : / ~Stately ~ , ~ $52,695,000~ ~/ : : ~: :: : : :: / / / ~: - / FIGURE 1.1 Estimated costs of U.S. marine monitoring programs. responsibilities and programs in the coastal zone. These cost data were used to estimate average annual monitoring costs for 1985-1987 by sector and federal agency. The estimates include all types of monitoring activities (i.e., data collection, laboratory processing, data management, analysis, in- terpretation, and synthesis). Also included are the costs of baseline surveys designed as benchmarks for future studies. Marine monitoring programs in the United States cost at least $133 million annually.) Federal agencies accounted for 43 percent of the total, state and local agencies 37 percent, and the private sector 18 percent, as shown in Figure 1.1. Within the federal sector, EPA accounted for 42 percent; other major contributors were the Department of Defense (mainly COE), MMS, NOAA, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). EPAs relatively high proportion of the total federal expenditures results from its many compliance monitoring programs associated with permitting and enforcement programs. (See Figure 1.2.) Expenditures on marine environmental monitoring vary greatly among state and local agencies. States with the largest agency expenditures are California, Florida, New York, Maryland, Washington, Texas, and Virginia; ~ Another way of estimating monitoring expenditures is to apply certain assumptions to data on expenditures forwater regulation and monitoring reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of the Department of Commerce (Bureau of the Census 1987~. BEA estimates that $451 million was spent nationally on water regulation and monitoring in 1985. As explained subse- quently in the text, 33 percent ~ 10 percent of those expenditures can be assumed to have been in coastal areas. Thus the range of expenditures for water regulation and monitoring in coastal areas in 1985 was $104 million-$194 million.

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12 MANAGING TROUBLED WATERS 3O,000 20,000 x oh 0 1 0,000 o EPA = Environmental Protection Agency DOD = Department of Defense MMS = Minerals Management Service NOM = National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration USGS = U.S. Geological Survey DOE = Department of Energy HHS = Department of Health and Human Services FWS = Fish and Wildlife Service NASA = National Aeronautics and Space Administration r_ : : : : 1: : : : ,. . _ ..... ..... _ - ~ o~cOcycO o~ `~c~ <~c~-~ ~ FIGURE 1.2 Estimated costs of marine monitoring programs, by federal agency. all spend in excess of $5 million annually. (See Figure 1.3.) A substantial portion of state and local efforts is directed toward the protection of public health, including measurement of contaminants and human pathogens in water, sediments, and fish and shellfish tissues. They are probably un- derestimates because data on the costs of many local programs were not available. As a result, the state and local (including municipal utility) expenditures are probably underestimated by a factor of at least two. Accurate estimates of private sector monitoring expenditures were not obtained for any state. These costs are poorly reported, and individuals with the information could not be identified for all industries in all states. Within the private sector, monitoring programs associated with electric power production, oil and gas development, the chemical industry, and coastal development account for most of the expenditures. Private sector monitoring expenditures are frequently on the same order of magnitude as those of state and local governments. The figures shown in Figure 1.3 are mainly associated with the electric power production industry, and even they are accurate for only a few states (i.e., California, New York, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Connecticut). No estimates of the costs of marine environmental monitoring for the oil and gas development or chemical industries could be obtained. The private sector cost estimates are therefore greatly underestimated. Although the $133 million national expenditure minimum for marine environmental monitoring by all sectors is certainly large, it is helpful to

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14 MANAGING TROUBLED WATERS TABLE 1.3 Pollutant Abatement Expenditures for Publicly Owned Treatment Works and Industrial Point Source Facilities, 1985 Activity Cost ($ billion) Publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) construction POTW operations and maintenance (O&NI) Industrial point source facility construction Industrial point source facility O&M Total $ 6.71 5.95 2.94 5.04 $20.64 aIn constant 1982 dollars. SOURCE: Bureau of the Census (1987), Table 340, p. 195. this expenditure in context. Annual expenditures for pollution control are orders of magnitude larger. The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates national water pollution control expenditures each year.2 In 1985, total spending for water pollution abatement was about $20.6 billion (in constant 1982 dollars), up about 15 percent from $21.2 billion in 1982. Spending for water pollution abatement at point sources was $20.6 billion in 1985; pollution abatement at nonpoint sources was about $3.8 billion. Almost 85 percent of all water pollution abatement expenditures were for publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) and industrial point sources. (See Able 1.3.) For a rough estimate of coastal area expenditures, it is appropriate to multiply each of the figures by 33 percent ~ 10 percent.3 The basis for doing so is the fact that about 28 percent of the POTWs with a capacity exceeding 1 million gallons/day (mad) are located in coastal counties, and about 40 percent of the total wastewater flow from POTWs with a capacity greater than 1 mad is from facilities located in coastal counties. Only 9 percent of NPDES-permitted industrial point sources are lo- cated in coastal counties. However, approximately 32 percent of total indus- tnal process wastewater discharged nationwide is within coastal counties, where many of the big water users (e.g., refineries, petrochemical plants, and pulp and paper plants) are located. Ibble 1.4 uses these assumptions in a first approximation of expenditures (in constant 1982 dollars) on point source pollution abatement in coastal areas. Thus, using the figures in Tables 1.3 and 1.4, one can see that the nation spends about 2 cents on monitoring out of every dollar spent on pollution abatement. 2 Unfortunately, these estimates cannot be disaggregated by county for a comparison of coastal and noncoastal expenditures; nor can they be disaggregated by state. 3The committee is indebted to C. N. Ehler, NOAA, for the data and assumptions that follow.

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INTRODUCTION 15 PERCEIVED INADEQUACIES OF MONITORING Despite considerable effort and expenditures, monitoring programs have been criticized for failing not only to provide adequate information for environmental management decisions but also to resolve controversies related to specific waste discharges and to ensure environmental protection and restoration in the face of multiple impacts. The underlying issues related to these perceived inadequacies may be seen as institutional or technical or a mix of the two. The lack of communication and coordination among the entities spon- soring or conducting monitoring and making environmental management decisions inhibits the proper design of monitoring programs and limits the usefulness of monitoring results. Inflexible regulatory requirements also limit opportunities to adapt programs to new needs. In some cases, uncer- tainties about institutional and financial support affect program usefulness, particularly with respect to long-term monitoring. Major unresolved problems remain with respect to the design of tech- nically sound sampling schemes that can detect change and separate human effects from natural variability. Further, it is frequently difficult to quantif, and interpret observed effects in terms meaningful to society. Monitoring programs are usually not closely linked with research programs or other sources of contamination and disturbance information designed to identify sources and to understand the transport, fate, and effects of wastes or to elucidate natural environmental processes. Without this type of informa- tion, interpretation of monitoring results in terms that are useful to the public and decision makers is not possible. TABLE 1.4 A First Approximation of Pollution Abatement Expenditures in Coastal Areas, 1985 Activity coma ($ billion) Publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) construction POTW operations and maintenance (O&M) Industrial point source facility construction Industrial point source facility O&I\I Total $1.5-2.9 1.4-2.5 0.7-1.2 1.2-2.2 $4.8-8.8 -In constant 1982 dollars. SOURCE: C. N. Ehler, based on the Bureau of the Census (1987), Table 340, p. 195.

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16 MANAGING TROUBLED WATERS Another shortcoming is that monitoring programs are often not de- signed to address public concerns directly or to provide information needed by management or public policy makers. Meaningful communication with, and participation of, the public and decision makers in the development of monitoring programs is rarely achieved. Results are often not reported at all; when they are, they may not be in a useful form. ASSESSMENT APPROACH Conceptual Model To provide a common and comprehensive basis for evaluating marine environmental monitoring programs and generate recommendations that deal with the perceived problems of monitoring as it is practiced, the com- mittee developed a conceptual model of the design and implementation of a marine environmental monitoring system (see Figure 1.4 and Appendix B). The conceptual model was sketched out following meetings with federal agency representatives, scientists, and engineers familiar with marine envi- ronmental monitoring programs. It included the regulatory, institutional, and decision-making interactions that affect the genesis and use of monitor- ing information. It was further refined by a review of the literature dealing with the philosophy and design of monitoring ~nr1 o.olle.~tiv~. rlPlihPr~innc of the committee. , ~ ~ _ ~ ~ ~ rev Figure 1.4 depicts the ideal relationship between those who require monitoring information and those who supply it. The figure does not dis- tinguish among the various types and purposes of monitoring (compliance, model verification, and trends) or the space and time scales over which monitoring is conducted (site-specific, regional, and national; short-term, long-term); it is generally applicable to all types and scales. The degree to which each component in Figure 1.4 has a major role in the development, implementation, and use of monitoring information and the importance of feedbacks, however, vain with the type of monitoring and the scale. All components are important for regional and national trends monitoring, whereas technical design components are more important for short-term compliance monitoring. Deficiencies in monitoring strategies usually result from failure to con- sider one or more elements of the model or from considering them out of logical sequence or context. Implicit in the model is the establishment of specific objectives based on how monitoring information will be used in decision making. Also implicit is the development of a technical design significantly rigorous to provide this information. The shaded portion of the figure shows the components that are controlled by scientists and engineers developing and implementing technical designs. Use of monitoring results is reflected as a feedback loop to the institutional setting and decision

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INTRODUCTION INSTITUTIONAL SETTING l ~ Mandates Missions Societal Needs \ NATURAL ENVIRONMENTAL SETTING Basic Features of Environment Resources / AL ENVIRONM ENTAL '/ QUALITY OBJECTIVES Specific Programmatic Undefined - ~ ?! ~ ~ ~ :: ~ ~ ~:TEGHNICAr~D~ESi~GN: ~:: :: : : ::::: ~ ~: :~: :: ~ :: ~ I:: ~ : : :: ~ ~ :: :: ~ ~ Specific ~Obj:ect~ves~ ~::~ ~ ~:~ ~::~:: ~ :~: ~ ~ : ;; ~ ~ ~ ~Focusin:g--Role~of Tiersd~Appr~aches: : a ~* ~At; jet t ~ :~: : ~ ~ ~ ; ;~:~:~ 1~: ~INTER~PR~ON~: ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ _ | DECISION MAKING | FIGURE 1.4 A conceptual model of marine environmental monitoring systems. 17 l making functions. The feedback loops in Figure 1.4 describe the flow of information into higher elements of the framework The information may influence policies, management actions, monitoring design, research, or modeling. The committee considered the idealized processes shown in each box in Figure 1.4 and, specifically, the interconnections among boxes. A set of specific questions was then developed for each box. (See Appendix B.) Case Studies Listing all current marine environmental monitoring programs, much less evaluating them, is not possible. Instead, a case study approach was adopted to assess classes of monitoring programs in depth. The committee evaluated case study candidates on the basis of their feasibility and national significance, potential for the case study results to inspire improvements, and balance among case study types. To of the three chosen involve im- portant geographic regions: the Chesapeake Bay, a large estuarine system

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18 MANAGING TROUBLED WATERS with a newly implemented regional monitoring program, and the Southern California Bight, a coastal ecosystem with extensive but uncoordinated mon- itoring programs. The Southern California case study allowed evaluation of whether monitoring specific activities in a region influenced by multiple hu- man activities was adequate for detecting cumulative impacts on the region. Selecting the Chesapeake Bay allowed comparison of coordinated regional monitoring, such as exists there, with extensive source-specific monitoring programs that characterize the Southern California Bight. The third selec- tion is not region specific; it evaluates monitoring efforts associated with the disposal of particulate wastes such as dredged material, sewage sludge, and drilling discharges in coastal environments. Integration of Information Within the conceptual model, the committee evaluated the major pol- icy and technical limitations and opportunities of marine environmental monitoring based on the results of the case studies, other examples, rel- evant literature on monitoring strategies, and the collective experience of the members. In this report, the committee first places monitoring in the context of environmental management by answering the question "Why monitor?" and evaluating the contributions to and shortcomings of moni- toring for environmental management. Next are discussed the institutional dynamics of monitoring: public perceptions, political pressures, legal con- straints, and resource limitations influencing monitoring (Chapter 2~. The role of and needs for monitoring at different space scales local, regional, and national are evaluated in Chapter 3. The technical design and imple- mentation of monitoring are a major focus of Chapter 4, including the steps involved in the development of sampling and measurement design, from the initial management goals and objectives to technological innovation to the conversion of resulting data into information useful in decision making.