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3 implementation, Coordination, and National Synthesis CURRENT STATUS OF NATIONAL WATER QUALITY ASSESSMENT AND MONITORING PROGRAMS At the request of the committee, W. G. Wilber of the USGS prepared a summary of national water quality assessment ac- tivities of the federal agencies (Appendix B. #18~. A description of the present and proposed programs is presented here and in Table 3.1. Except for NAWQA, the current USGS national monitoring and assessment activities are the National Stream Quality Accounting Network (NASQAN), the Hydrologic Bench- mark Program, and the National Trends Network. The total annual budget for these three programs is $6.S million. NAWQA, if fully funded, will have an annual budget of $60 million. The primary focus of the present and proposed USGS assessments is rivers and ground water. NAWQA will be more comprehensive than any other national assessment in the media sampled with planned sampling of the water column, sediments, and fish and wildlife tissues. At present, EPA has the largest water quality assessment program through its $27 million per year National Water Quality Inventory as required by Section 305(b) of the Clean Water Act. This assessment covers rivers, lakes, and ground water. The National Pesticides Survey and the Bioaccumulation Study are one-time activities. If EPA's proposed Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) is funded, then EPA will have an additional $60 million per year national assessment capability. EMAP will evaluate a wide variety of receiving waters, forests, wetlands, and agroecosystems. The NOAA National Status and Trends Program is the major assessment of water quality condi- tions in near coastal waters. This $5.0 million per year program includes analysis of fish and mollusc tissues. 73

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80 NAUSEA Pilot Program The National Contaminant Biomonitoring Program (NCBP) of the Fish and Wildlife Service evaluates the status and trends of contaminant levels in fish and wildlife. Its budget is $0.3 million per year. Summaries of these national water quality assessment programs are presented below. Most of this information was received from W. Wilber of the USGS (Appendix B. #18~. National Stream Quality Accounting Network The U.S. Geological Survey established the National Stream Quality Accounting Network (NASQAN) in 1973. The current goals of NASQAN are to: 1. identify national water quality trends and, to the extent possible, relate these trends to upstream land and water use; and 2. account for constituent transport between major river basins and into estuaries and the Great Lakes. The NASQAN network is made up of 411 active and 26 in- active data collection sites. The majority of the NASQAN sites are located on major rivers at the downstream end of the hydrologic accounting units. More than 50 measurements are made at fixed sampling intervals at each site. These measurements include field parameters such as discharge' water temperature, and pH; selected nutrients; major ions; trace elements; and fecal indicator bacteria. Samples are collected bimonthly at 58 percent of the sites and quarterly at 42 percent of the sites. These data are stored in the USGS WATSTORE data base with biennial transfers to the EPA's STORET data base. The 1989 funding for NASQAN was $3.6 million. Hydrologic Benchmark Network The U.S. Geological Survey's Hydrologic Benchmark Network was established in 1964 to do the following: 1. document natural changes in hydrologic characteristics, 2. provide a better understanding of the hydrologic structure of natural basins, and 3. provide a comparative basis for studying the effects of man on the hydrologic environment.

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Implementation, Coordination, and National Synthesis 81 The network consists of 58 stations located in watersheds across the country that have been minimally affected by humans. Most of the network stations are sampled for water quality, and more than 50 physical and chemical measurements are made at fixed sampling intervals. Field measurements include discharge, water temperature, pH, and alkalinity. Water samples are analyzed for concentrations of selected nutrients, major ions, trace elements, and fecal indicator bacteria. Samples are collected quarterly at 73 percent of the stations, bimonthly at 23 percent of the stations, and monthly at 4 percent of the stations. These data are stored in WATSTORE with biennial transfers to STORET. This program was funded at $800,000 in fiscal year 1989. National Trends Network The U.S. Geological Survey, as lead agency for the Task Group on Atmospheric Deposition and Air Quality Monitoring of the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program, manages the National Trends Network (NTN). A variety of federal, state, and local agencies operate the 150 rural monitoring stations. The goals of this network are to: 1. provide regional-scale information on the spatial variation in the chemistry of precipitation (rain and snow) in the United States, and 2. detect long-term trends in precipitation chemistry. Wet deposition samples are collected weekly. Funding for fiscal year 1989 was $3.0 million. National Water-Quality Inventory In accordance with Section 305(b) of the Clean Water Act of 1972 and its 1986 amendments, the EPA must submit a water quality assessment report to Congress every two years. This report consists of a set of state reports prepared by the states and an overview prepared by EPA. The goals for the 1990 cycle (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1989) are as follows: 1. Increase the coverage of the nation's waters. In 1986, only one-fifth of the nation's river miles and one-third of its lake shoreline miles were assessed by the states. In addition to in- creasing this coverage, additional emphasis will be given to assessing water quality in estuaries, coastal areas, and wetlands.

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82 NAWQA Pilot Program 2. Improve data quality and utility to support the shift in emphasis from technology-based to water-quality-based approaches. A computerized data system called the Waterbody System (WBS) has been developed for this purpose and is already in use in several states. 3. Continue Clean Water Act reporting as follows: Under Sections 304~1) and 303(d), identify all waters threatened or impaired with toxic pollution control problems. Under Section 314, identify the trophic states of lakes that are impaired and lakes with acidity problems. Under Section 319, identify waters that cannot reasonably be expected to attain or maintain water quality standards owing to nonpoint pollution. Primary sources of information for the state reports include long- term monitoring records, short-term intensive surveys, and profes- sional judgments of state agency personnel. Funding for this program was approximately $27 million in fiscal year 1989. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is developing con- cepts for an Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) to assess the overall risks to natural ecological systems from multiple pollutants and stresses. The proposed goals of EMAP are to: 1. characterize ecological resources at risk, 2. quantify baseline conditions and trends and their status, and 3. identify probable causes by examining corresponding pat- terns and trends in pollutant exposure and other stressors. Ecosystems to be assessed by EMAP include the atmosphere, forests, agroecosystems, lakes and streams, wetlands, near-coastal marine systems, and estuaries. A variety of indicators and environmental measurements would be taken during 5- to 7-year index periods to define current conditions. Annual sampling would be done at selected sites to define trends. If fully funded, EMAP would have an annual budget of $60 million.

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Implementation, Coordination, and National Synthesis National Pesticide Survey 83 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began the National Pesticide Survey of ground water used for drinking water purposes in 1988. The goals of this one-time survey are to: 1. provide estimates of pesticide contamination in community and domestic drinking water wells in the United States due to selected pesticides, and 2. examine relationships of pesticide contamination to patterns of pesticide use and ground water vulnerability. About 750 private domestic wells and 600 community wells are being sampled over a two-year period. Field work is scheduled for completion in early 1990 with a report expected by December 1990. Total estimated funding for this two-year survey is $11 million. Bioaccumulation Study The National Bioaccumulation Study of EPA began in l9X6 as an outgrowth of the National Dioxin Study. The objectives of this one-time screening study are to determine the extent to which water pollutants are bioaccumulating in fish and to identify correlations with sources of the contamination. Potential effects on human health from exposure through consumption of con- taminated fish are also being evaluated. The total cost for this one-time survey was about $1 million. National Contaminant Biomonitoring Program The National Contaminant Biomonitoring Program (NCBP) of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began in 1967 as the National Pesticide Monitoring Program, a cooperative effort with the USGS, Food and Drug Administration, and Federal Water Pollution Control Administration. The primary goals of this program are to: 1. describe contaminant levels in freshwater fish and wildlife, and 2. define long-term trends in contaminant levels in fish and wildlife. The 1989 funding for this program was approximately $300,000.

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86 TABLE 3.2 continued NAWQA Pilot Program Data Base Description Reference U.S. Census of Agriculture Population in the United States U.S. Census summarized for about 400,000 Bureau, 1983. block groups and enumeration districts; identified by latitude and longitude. U.S. Coal Production Surface and underground coal Mining production by county. Information Services, 1983. U.S. Environmental Estimated discharge from about Philip Taylor, Protection Agency 54,000 industnal and municipal U.S. En~riron- Industnal Facility facilities having EPA permits; mental Pro- Discharge File identified by permit number in section Agency, the National Pollution Discharge commun., 1988. Elimination (NPDES) and by nver- reach number. U.S. Environmental Estimates of now and concen- U.S. Environ- Protection Agency "rations of biochemical-oxygen mental Pro- Needs Surrey demand in the effluent die- tection Agency, charged from about 30,000 1982b. publicly owned sewage treat- ment plants identified by NPDES permit number and river-reach number. U.S. Environmental Numeric listing of about 67,000 Dewald and Protection Agency stream reaches arranged sys- others, 1987. River-Reach File tematically to provide hydro- logic linkages among major U.S. rivers.

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Implementation, Coordination, and National Synthesis TABLE S.2 continued Data Base Description 87 Reference U.S. Environmental A computerized data base con- U.S. Environ- Protection Agency taining geographic and other mental Pro- STOrage and descriptive data for water- tection Agency Retrieval System quality data-collection sites, 1982a. (STORET) data related to the physical charactermtice and chemical constituents of water, fish tissue, and sediment; infonna- tion on municipal waste sources and disposal systems; data on pollution-caused fish lcille; and daily streamilow data. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Formerly referred to as the May and Service National National Pesticide Monitoring McKinney Contamination Bio- Program, the program was es- 1981; Lowe monitoring Program tablished to monitor temporal and others, and geographic trends in 1985. Organochlorine chemical and elemental contaminants in the nation's freshwater fish. Source: Hirsch et al., 1988. NATIONAL ASSESSMENTS AS A COMPONENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING PROGRAMS Table 3.3 summarizes the estimated expenditures for environ- mental monitoring by federal and nonfederal organizations. The cost of environmental monitoring by federal agencies was estimated to be about $500 million in 1989. This estimate includes all types of monitoring (e.g., compliance, status, and trends) and activities related to monitoring such as program design, data collection and processing, data management, analysis, interpreta- tion, and synthesis. A like amount of money is estimated to be spent by nonfederal agencies for a total estimated annual expendi- ture of about $1 billion per year. The National Water Quality Assessment program is estimated to have an annual budget of approximately $60 million, or 6 percent of the total annual expenditure for monitoring activities. Many of the monitoring data being collected outside of NAWQA are useful for regional and national assessments. Thus it is vital that a significant component of the NAWQA activity be committed to

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88 NAWQA Pilot Program TABLE 3.3 Estimated Costs of Environmental Monitoring by Federal Agencies Millions of % for dollars per Agency Budget Monitoring year Agriculture Soil Conservation Servicer 387 10 38.7 Forest Service 23.2 Administration & R - ounce cone. 34.8 25 Forest environment research 31 25 Range management 27 25 Commerce 63.9 NOAA- Coastal % estuarine averments 6.9 100 National Manne Fisheries Service 49 100 Other (e.~., weather, coast watch) 8 100 Defense 3 68 Corps of Engineers 18 100 Other4 50 100 Energy5 25 En~rironmental Protection Agency6 237.4 Ambient 92.9 100 Methods 27.5 100 Planning/management 19 100 Quality a~urance/quality control 14.6 100 Source 74.7 100 Auto. data processing 8.7 100 Interior (FY 1989) 44.4 National Water Quality Asses. Program National Stream Quality Accounting Net. 7 100 3.6 100

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Implementation, Coordination, and National Synthesis TABLE 3.3 Estimated Costs of Environmental Monitoring by Federal Agencies 89 Agency Budget Millions of % for dollars per Monitoring year Hydrologic Benchmark Network National Trends Network Other environmental monitoring activities in USGS7 Total 0.8 3 100 100 100 30 500.6 . NOTE: 1Estimate ~ based on FY 89 budget for conservation operations. Expenditures include Surreys of sail and inventory and monitoring of natural resource trends. No direct estimate available. 3A significant part of this funding is for the dredging program. 4No direct estimate available. Known large monitoring activities to support hazardous waste Mediation activities. No direct estimate available. Known large monitoring activities at national labs for hazardous matenale and ecological activities. This estimate is based upon data for 1987. The total is the sum of monitonug expenditures in the programs: Water (23.0%), Air (29.0%), Solid Waste (23.5%), Research and De~relop- ~ent (22.6%), and Pesticides (1.9%~. Estunate needs to be checked. Source: Holland, F. (Verear, Inc., Columbia, Maryland) personal conununication 1990 to K. Thornton and R. Kutz, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. utilizing this large amount of data available from secondary sources. Also, NAWQA should attempt to use information from ongoing studies by other groups with a view toward using these results as part of the national assessments. INTERAGENCY COOPERATION Description Information on interagency cooperation on water quality data monitoring activities was provided by Bill Wilber of the USGS at the request of the committee (W. G. Wilber private communication to I. P. Heaney, February 6, 1990~. The Interagency Advisory Committee on Water Data and the Advisory Committee on Water Data for Public Use were formed in 1967 to coordinate the data acquisition activities of federal agen- cies. The responsibility for these committees was delegated by Office of Management and Budget Circular A-67 to the Depart-

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90 NAWQA Pilot Program ment of the Interior, which placed the responsibility with the USGS. The Interagency Advisory Committee on Water Data has representatives from 34 federal agencies, and the Advisory Com- mittee on Water Data for Public Use consists of 27 members repre- senting state and local agencies, technical societies, universities, and private enterprises. With regard to NAWQA coordination at the national level, a National Coordinating Work Group was established in the pilot program to advise the USGS on national aspects of the NAWQA program. The work group, which has met every six months since November 1986, functions under the auspices of the long-standing Interagency Advisory Committee on Water Data and the Advisory Committee on Water Data for Public Use. The work group is chaired by the chief hydrologist and currently consists of nine federal members, seven nonfederal members, and representatives from each of the pilot project liaison committees. Organizations represented include the American Water Resources Association, the Association of American State Geologists, the Association of State and Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators, the Chemi- cal Manufacturers Association, the Interstate Conference on Water Policy, the National Association of Conservation Districts, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the EPA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, NOAA, the Soil Conservation Service, and the Council on Environ- mental Quality. Two new subcommittees focusing on water quality will be formed within the existing subcommittee structure. These com- mittees will focus on the overall problem of national water quality assessments, including, but not limited to, the NAWQA program. In addition to the above subcommittees, EPA and the USGS have an Interagency Committee for Program Coordination. This Memorandum of Understanding, signed November 26, 1985, in- cludes explicit mention of the NAWQA program. Other inter- agency committees exist with NOAA, Office of Surface Mining, Bureau of Reclamation, Forest Service, and Soil Conservation Service. The USGS and the Fish and Wildlife Service have a draft Memorandum of Agreement (see Appendix G) that outlines the . : terms and conditions under which these two agencies will operate with a fully implemented NAWQA program. Current national assessment activities related to water quality are being conducted by EPA, USGS, NOAA, and the Fish and Wildlife Service. The total expenditures for these programs, in- cluding the NAWQA pilot program, are about $46 million per year. Full-scale NAWQA and EMAP programs will greatly expand these national assessment activities with each of these programs esti-

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Implementation, Coordination, and National Synthesis 91 mated to cost $60 million per year. The total annual investment in environmental monitoring in the United States is about $1 billion per year. The federal agencies have long-standing agreements to cooperate on water quality monitoring activities. They appear to be aware of the activities and programs of their sister agencies. Critique . Current and proposed national water quality monitoring and assessment activities by the federal water agencies constitute a significant and worthwhile component of water resources manage- ment activities. However, in spite of the fact that interagency cooperative agreements have existed at least since 1967, no master plan has been available to ensure that existing and proposed monitoring activities will provide the basis for a comprehensive national water quality assessment program, even with NAWQA and EMAP. Such a plan is essential in order to evaluate whether federal funds are being wisely allocated among the suites of problems, e.g., bacteriological contamination, pesticides, and nutrients; receiving environments, e.g., rivers, lakes and impound- ments, ground water, and wetlands; constituents (physical, chemi- cal, and/or biological); and beneficial uses, e.g., water supply, recreation, and fish and wildlife protection. The local liaison committees and the National Coordinating Work Group are the current means of outside input into NAWQA. Each of these groups serves an important function of technology transfer and information sharing, but they do not have any ap- parent authority to decide the direction of NAWQA. They can influence NAWQA by participating in the selection of the national issues to be addressed by the issue-based teams. Since no issue teams have yet been formed, the committee has been unable to evaluate this process. A new, independent, and unbiased scientific advisory committee should be considered for outside review of NAWQA's progress. Summary Cooperation among those agencies performing water quality assessments is essential to providing a thorough, detailed assessment of the nation's water. NAWQA alone cannot assess all of the nation's water quality. For example, lakes and estuaries are not a part of NAWQA. Other agencies have water quality data on these

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92 NAWQA Pilot Program water bodies that should be integrated with the USGS data to provide the national water quality assessment that decisionmakers need. In order to combine and synthesize the water quality data from those agencies, an interagency council is recommended to serve this important function. Membership on this council should comprise representatives of USGS, EPA, NOAA, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Forest Service, USDA, and the Council on Environmental Quality. During its first two years of activity, this council might consider accomplishing the following tasks: 1. Prepare a detailed inventory of current water quality moni- toring and assessment activities of the federal agencies. This inventory should be a greatly expanded and improved version of Table 3.1 of this report. This inventory should include accurate estimates on the current expenditures of the agencies for water quality related activities. 2. Prepare an action plan of how overall agency programs will perform national water quality assessments by: a. issue, e.g., wastewater treatment, pesticides, nutrients; b. receiving water bodies, i.e., rivers, lakes and impoundments, estuaries, and wetlands; c. beneficial uses, e.g., water supply, recreation, and fish and wildlife protection; and d. type of water quality constituent, i.e., physical, chemical, or biological. This master plan should also indicate which agencies will perform which tasks. To ensure the success of NAWQA to provide a truly national assessment of water quality, the following internal and external committees are envisioned. USA NAWQA ~q EN Internal (USGS) Interag~q council on national water quality It* ~ Committed Nate Coord. Wow Grp Scientific Advisory. Ca~ttee* Stud~r-Unit Team (60) I~Based Team National Synthesis Tearn * Indian a new committee proposed by the WSTB

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Implementation, Coordination, and National Synthesis NATIONAL SYNTHESIS Description 93 NAWQA is intended to characterize water quality and detect trends, and therefore incorporates both fixed and synoptic sam- pling. But more importantly, it is designed to improve our under- standing of physical, chemical, and biological processes and causal relationships. This is to be accomplished by focusing on the study- unit scale, by including intensive sampling at relatively small scales, and by using both deterministic and statistical models. The advantage of this approach is its emphasis on process under- standing. However, because it is not based on an overarching statistical design, it will not lead to rigorous probabilistic general- izations at the national scale. Instead, national conclusions will be based on aggregating "findings from comparative studies conducted in a wide range of hydrologic settings nationwide" (Hirsch et al., 1988). Each study-unit team in carrying out its portion of NAWQA will implement a nationally consistent set of analyses and protocols such that data can be aggregated and compared. It is the com- mittee's understanding that two approaches will then be used within the USGS to synthesize these data into information that is useful at the regional and/or national scale. The first approach to national synthesis will be "issue-based" teams to focus on critical regional and national water quality issues. Issues under consideration at the time of this report include (1) factors influencing the distribution and fate of pesticides in surface and ground waters; (2) nutrient and suspended sediment impacts on streams, lakes, and impoundments; and (3) volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in ground water and urban surface waters (W. Wilber, personal communication, April 11, 1990~. During the first NAWQA cycle, four such issues will be addressed, each by separate teams of four to five individuals. Each team will operate for an average of six years, during which a series of reports will be published. For example, preliminary plans call for three reports from the issue-based team investigating factors influencing the distribution and fate of pesticides in surface and ground waters: (1) an initial report summarizing current knowl- edge; (2) a summary of reconnaissance level efforts to improve understanding based on the pilot studies, the initial 20 study units, and other USGS programs; and (3) a report on detailed case studies in some study units focusing on factors related to the management of pesticides (W. Wilber, personal communication, April ll, 1990~. The initiation of each team will be staggered at yearly intervals,

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94 NAWQA Pilot Program starting in 1993. This will make it possible for at least some of the topics to be based on early findings of the study-unit investiga- tions. Selection of topics will also be based on results of other water quality assessment programs and on the advice of the National Coordinating Work Group and other technical advisory committees. The second approach to national synthesis will use a "national synthesis" team of five individuals to compile information and key findings from the study units, the issue-based teams, and other USGS programs to prepare a general overview of national water quality conditions and trends. This team will function con- tinuously over the ten-year cycle and will prepare two or three reports. In addition to the above mentioned internal issue and national synthesis teams, the USGS plans to obtain input on national and regional synthesis from outside sources such as other federal agencies, professional societies, and academia. The current methods of soliciting outside advice and guidance are through the local liaison committees, the National Coordinating Work Group, and other informal contacts. Critique One of the strengths of NAWQA is the study-unit concept, which focuses activity at the scale dictated by hydrological pro- cesses. The challenge of NAWQA is to use the information and understanding obtained at the study-unit scale to make generaliza- tions at the regional scale, and then to aggregate the regional findings to inform decisionmaking at the national scale. The issue- based and national synthesis teams have the potential to perform this critical integrating role. Because these teams were not in place during the pilot program, the committee was unable to evaluate their actual performance. However, the committee does offer some comments on the prerequisites for successful synthesis. The success of the national synthesis will depend on the following: ~ The choice of critical tonics. Because only a few national issues will be explored during each NAWQA cycle, it is critical that these issues be chosen wisely and with broad input. Once a topic has been chosen, several years will be needed for the series of synthesis reports to be completed. Hence, the choice of issues must anticipate the key questions facing aec~s~onmaKers. ~ The capabilities of the personnel. It is essential that each issue-based and national synthesis team be led by an experienced

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Implementation, Coordination, and National Synthesis individual who is familiar with both the scientific and manage- ment issues of the particular problem, since the goal of each team is to synthesize scientific information and understanding into products that are useful to decisionmakers. The extent of communication with the study units. It is obvious that the synthesis teams must be well aware of the ac- tivities of the study units. Close communication is essential. ~ The ability to influence the activities of the Study units. If effective regional and national synthesis is to be achieved, the synthesis teams must have the ability to influence the design of the individual study-unit activities. Otherwise, the study units will likely be dominated by local interests and concerns. Based on observations of the pilot studies, there will be strong resistance to outside influence on study-unit activities. The most effective way to overcome this resistance is to have strong group leaders who can develop a good rapport with the individual study unit teams. The extent of interaction and coordination with or~aniza- tions outside USGS. As with all of NAWQA, the USGS must not rely solely on its own data and expertise in achieving national synthesis. It is imperative that the issue-based and national synthe- sis teams make a significant effort to identify relevant data and information from all available sources in preparing reports on regional and national issues. 95 Summary The committee recommends that the USGS pursue its proposed use of issue-based and national synthesis teams to achieve a national-level synthesis of the information and knowledge developed at the study-unit scale. These teams should be in regular communication with the study-unit teams, should be given the authority to influence the activities of the study-unit teams, should be led by the most capable and experienced personnel, and should not restrict their vision only to USGS data and information. A strong review process should be put in place to assure wise choice of regional and national issues with broad input.

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