NPS-USGS Water Quality Assessment and Monitoring

Since 1998, the National Park Service (NPS) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) have gathered information on water quality in parks to enable the National Park Service to address its most critical water quality management responsibilities.

How It Works
Annually, parks submit funding proposals to the program;these are ranked and selected by an interagency work group. The projects selected address the highest priority NPS water quality issues identified by park managers. They include
  • investigations of nutrient transport in groundwater
  • nutrient, sediment and metal transport and loading in streams
  • atmospheric deposition in streams and lakes
  • microbiological contamination in recreational waters
  • organic contamination in stream and lake sediments
  • aquatic biological health
In addition, fixed-station monitoring and technical assistance projects are implemented to address park needs related to providing baseline water quality data and advice on specific water issues.

Benefits of the Partnership
Through the activities of the partnership, new relationships are established which provide opportunities for future collaborations. Also, the partnership is producing tangible products for park managers including data for resource decision-making, information for interpretation purposes, monitoring plans for park staff, and professional reports with detailed results.

More Information
The NPS—USGS partnership is administered out of the USGS Headquarters in Reston, Virginia, and the NPS Water Resources Division in Fort Collins, Colorado. For further information on the NPS/USGS Partnership Program.

Last updated: December 22, 2015