Water is essential to all plants and animals (including humans), but depending on where it is located, water can have different physical, chemical, and biological characteristics. These properties define ‘water quality’ and fundamentally determine which plant and animal species live in aquatic ecosystems such as streams, lakes, rivers, and oceans. Water quality also determines whether humans can use water for drinking, swimming, and numerous other activities. Maintaining and improving water quality is crucial, not only to National Park visitors, but also to the many other organisms that live in and around aquatic ecosystems.
Our scientists study and document water quality in two large rivers (Delaware River and New River) in the Eastern Rivers and Mountains Network – having this information through time will help park managers protect and improve river ecosystems, and the many human uses that depend on them, for future generations.