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2 Future WRD Roles and Interactions The USGS has been investigating water resources for more than 100 years. Thus, it has developed a broad picture of the nation's water supplies. It has built a resource of expertise, particularly in the fields of hydrology, hydrogeology, geology, geophysics, geochemistry, engineering, and, more recently, biology. Despite the agency's long history, the nation's relatively recent environmental awakening has resulted in substantial increases in water resources activity and funding in agencies other than the USGS. Consequently, some of the leadership in the field has moved away from the USGS. For example, the EPA has become a key player in funding site-specific investigations of water contamination in connection with its regulatory missions. The Departments of Defense, Energy, and Agriculture have rapidly growing needs to investigate water pollution sources that are related to their missions: toxic waste at military bases, wastes at energy facilities, and nonpoint-source pollutants (such as pesticides) from agricultural activity. In the future, the nation's ability to address water pollution problems will depend on effective interaction and cooperation by all agencies. Clearly, the success of WRD programs will depend in part on how effectively the WRD cooperates with other agencies that are undertaking similar works ~ Other divisions of the USGS--notably the National Mapping Division and the Geologic Division--have programs and services available to the WRD (e.g., land-use and geographic information systems) that strengthen the WRD's ability to carry out its responsibilities. These resources are well understood by the WRD and are not addressed here. 16

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Future WRD Roles and Interactions 17 The WRD's progress will also depend on its ability to keep abreast of new scientific discoveries. The extent to which major scientific advances have already affected WRD programs is illustrated by the current work in ground water contamination. Advances in analytical chemistry have contributed to the high level of federal funding for efforts such as the NAWQA program, which the WRD is currently implementing to assess the extent of water pollution nationwide. Before 1950, NAWQA would have been impossible because the capability to measure the concen- trations of organic contaminants (like pesticides and industrial solvents) was limited. The few calorimetric methods available could not detect concentrations below the 1 to 10 milligrams per liter (mg/L) range. The development of gas chromatography by Martin and James in 1952 made it possible to detect chemicals with concentrations in the sub-mg/L range. More recently, the advent of better materials for separating organic chemicals from water and the coupling of the gas chromatograph with the mass spectrometer have allowed measurements even below the micro- grams per liter range. The current concern about contamination of water supplies with synthetic organic chemicals became an issue only with the development of methods to reproducibly measure organic contaminant concentrations at these very low levels. This chapter discusses ways in which the WRD should cooperate with other federal agencies, states, universities, and other research organizations. It also recommends how the WRD can promote technology transfer most efficiently: both inside and outside its offices. Further, it suggests ways the WRD can work with schools to recruit future scientists for water resources research. EXTERNAL COOPERATION Cooperating with outside experts is not new to the WRD. For example, the WRD has been fostering joint research with states for decades. It administers the Water Resources Research Institutes that provide an avenue for communication with universities and state agencies. Additionally, it coordinates the collection of water data for all federal agencies. But as water science problems become more complex, WRD cooperation with outsiders will become increasingly important. Below are recommendations for

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Future WRD Roles and Interactions 19 how the WRD can streamline its work with other federal agencies, states, and universities. Federal Agencies The Office of Management and Budget authorized the USGS by Circular A-67, issued in 1964, to coordinate the water data acquisition activities of all federal agencies. The circular speci- fied that the WRD, through its Office of Water Data Coordina- tion, should: lead the coordination of water data from the agencies that collect it; review requirements for water data; prepare a federal plan for more efficient data collection; maintain a central catalog of existing data and federal plans for acquiring more data; design and operate a national network for acquiring data on the quality and quantity of surface and ground water; and organize the national network and catalog to facilitate the data's maximum use. The major accomplishments of the A-67 coordination process have been the establishment of the National Water Data Network and the Catalog of Information on Water Data, the publication of the National Handbook of Recommended Methods for Water Data Acquisition and a series of hydrologic unit maps, sponsorship of conferences and meetings, and the development of consensus standards. The WRD should reexamine the intent of Circular A-67 as an instrument for interagency coordination. Changing land-use practices, pollution problems, and potential global change have led to a shift from research that involves just one scientific discipline to research that examines the interactions of physical, chemical, and biological processes. Consequently, many emerging federal programs, such as those that address global change, wetlands protection, and environmental restoration, do not fall within the domain of any single government agency but require coordinated efforts in which each agency program is integrated into a larger whole. One example of WRD cooperation with other agencies to solve water quality problems is the Mid-Continent Herbicide Initiative.

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20 Preparing for the Twenty-First Century Under this initiative, the WRD and the Department of Agriculture are jointly researching the fate and transport of agricultural chemicals in midwestern water supplies. In the future, the WRD should undertake more cooperative research efforts of this type. States Most of the projects at WRD district offices receive joint funding from state and local governments. The projects that receive joint funding are usually meant to evaluate a particular local problem or address a specific local need for information. The WRD's high level of credibility derives in large measure from these unbiased investigations. Moreover, the WRD presence in every state has established a framework of applied research management and technical talent that is often called upon to provide the nucleus of various other programs. However, in some cases, the WRD is acting as a consultant to the local government; this situation should be avoided unless some broader purpose is served. Clear exceptions are portions of the stream flow network, RASA, and NAWQA, all of which have national-interest implications and operate in part or entirely outside the federal/state cooperative programs. Other exceptions occur at sites where cutting edge science is being applied or where the results of the activity may be expected to contribute to more generalized understanding of a water resource problem. The WRD should continually evaluate the merits of its local assessments and cooperative activities to ensure that its limited personnel are engaged in projects with a scientific or national purpose. This change may mean that many states will have to increase their own expertise in water resources, gradually replacing some WRD personnel from projects that address primarily state and local concerns. The WRD could help the states in acquiring greater technical competence and autonomy by involving state personnel in cooperative studies, advising on programs, and providing training through short courses. Over the past decade, there have been many calls for the states to play increased roles in natural resources management, especially ground water management, and this heightened technical capability should support such initiatives well. At the same time, the cooperative program will continue to be an important element in the WRD. Although fundamental

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Future WRD Roles and Interactions 21 research and other programs may begin to account for a larger proportion of the WRD budget, cooperative efforts with state and local governments focused on data networks, local problems with a broader transferability, and state personnel working in cooperative studies will continue to be important functions of the WRD. Universities The WRD's collaboration with academia has been mainly informal, occurring through universities that are near district or regional offices or through professional contacts. Recently, however, the WRD has involved university researchers in ongoing USGS projects. We believe such projects hold promise for future extension and expansion. One example of WRD cooperation with universities is it work at the Cape Cod toxic waste research site in Massachusetts. The site is part of the WRD's Toxic Substances Hydrology Program, set up to examine the fate and transport of hazardous waste. One of the studies at Cape Cod concerns a sewage plume originating from a former Otis Air Force Base sewage treatment facility. WRD personnel carried out most of the early investigations. As the various processes that affect the transport and attenuation of contaminants in the plume became better known, the WRD invited university researchers to use the site for their own experiments. The long-term nature of the Cape Cod project and the well- defined hydrological and hydrogeological framework make it ideal for multidisciplinary and multi-institutional involvement. Another research site where the WRD has cooperated with universities is at Konza Prairie, in Kansas. Konza Prairie is part of the National Science Foundation's Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program, established to promote academic research into whole ecosystems, such as watersheds, rain forests, and prairies. At the site, WRD researchers worked alongside university researchers studying plant communities as indicators of global change; WRD staff focused on water resources aspects of the project. The development of more research sites like that at Cape Cod and further participation in LTER projects are but two examples of how the WRD can establish better ties with universities. Such relationships are critical to the development of the human resources that the WRD will require to carry out its future - mission.

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22 Pre paring for the Twenty-First Century TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER Technology transfer--the dissemination of new data and research results beyond the lab or study site from which the information originated--is key to the advancement of water science. The WRD produces several types of information important in technology transfer: water data gathered through its national networks, problem-solving approaches devised in its district offices, and fundamental research reports written by its scientists. Below are recommendations for improving the WRD's technology transfer capabilities. External Technology Transfer The best way for the WRD to improve technology transfer to scientists outside the agency is to encourage WRD scientists to publish their research in widely circulated technical journals. A common complaint in the technical community is that WRD data are difficult to obtain. Before WRD work products can be published, they are subject to a time-consuming internal review. The review process delays communication of work products. We recommend that the WRD streamline the process to ensure that key research findings are published promptly. A second way the WRD can improve technology transfer to outside scientists is by expanding its sponsorship of conferences, workshops, and seminars. Internal Technology Transfer There are three paths for internal technology transfer at the WRD: between district offices, between National Research Program scientists and district offices, and between WRD scientists and USGS management. The WRD's internal communi- cation process could be enhanced by establishing two newsletters: one dealing with technical material and the other with policy Issues. A technical newsletter would improve communication among district offices and between districts and the National Research Program. Technology transfer among districts is difficult because of the districts' wide geographic distribution. Opportunities to share valuable lessons learned with other district offices are rare;

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Future WRD Roles and Interactions 23 most district offices operate fairly independently. Technology transfer between National Research Program scientists and district offices is difficult because research scientists focus on fundamental work, and district scientists typically focus on applied work. A technical newsletter would help overcome these communication barriers by providing a regular forum for WRD technical discourse. - A policy newsletter would improve communication between WRD scientists and managers at the USGS and other federal and state agencies. The policy newsletter could discuss research results and their implications. Managers, though they may be technically trained, typically are less in touch with the newest technical terminology than are front-line scientists. Consequently, the newsletter should be written in plain language. The newsletter could also be distributed externally to increase the usefulness of WRD accomplishments. EDUCATION There is a general concern in the scientific and engineering communities that the United States will face a shortage of technically trained personnel in the next decade and beyond. In conjunction with all U.S. scientists, the WRD needs to become more active in nurturing student interest in science. At the primary and secondary school levels, WRD district office staff could help recruit future scientists by working with schools to expose young children to science's challenges and rewards. To promote interest in their fields, WRD personnel could educate students through such activities as visiting schools, serving as mentors to stimulate students to take science and engineering courses, and participating in science fairs. They could also host open houses at district offices for students and their parents. At the college level, the WRD could expand its programs of part-time and summer employment for students. Employment programs provide a source of trained future employees; they are ideal for field offices because they require more service than money. WRD offices and personnel should also consider hosting field trips and open houses for college students, donating older scientific equipment to schools, and developing educational materials for classroom use that use information gained through

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24 Preparing for the Twenty-First Century the agency's various technical programs. Among their potential benefits, such activities provide important visibility for the agency. At the graduate level, the WRD should allot more funds for projects that involve graduate students. The WRD should also consider establishing USGS fellowships for master's and doctoral students, similar to those offered by the Department-of Energy. Increasing the number of graduate students who work on WRD projects would give the WRD the inside track for hiring the best young scientists. It would keep the WRD up to date on the cutting edge science taking place in universities. And it would help educate students in scientific areas in which the shortage of well- trained people is acute.2 2 See the recent (1991) Water Science and Technology Board publication, Onnortunities in the Hydrologic Sciences, for exten- sive discussion of frontiers and education in the hydrologic sciences.