What We Do

The Water Resources Division of the National Park Service works to conserve, protect, and restore water resources in America's national parks. WRD provides assistance, expertise, and guidance for aquatic ecosystem stewardship in national parks. WRD provides its services through a broad range of programs in the areas of fisheries, groundwater, information management, natural resource condition assessments, ocean & coastal resources, rivers, wetlands, water quality, and water rights.

WRD is a team of scientists dedicated to preserving the planet’s most important resource.

WRD values:

  • Accountability: We earn trust each day by competently and transparently fulfilling our responsibilities.
  • Adaptability: We evolve with changing environmental and social conditions to develop and provide high-quality service and products.
  • Collaboration: We succeed by engaging beyond our silos, tapping new ideas, and expanding our community.
  • Engagement: We each participate fully, extend genuine invitations, and remove barriers to inclusion.
  • Integrity: We deal honestly, ethically, and fairly in all interactions.
  • Respect: We embrace our differences and treat each person with dignity.
  • Stewardship: We provide and inspire exceptional care of the resources entrusted to us.

The Water Resources Division supports national parks through a diverse range of interdisciplinary programs:

  • Coho salmon swimming in a river.
    Fish Program

    The Fish program provides technical assistance and policy guidance in managing and restoring native fish and their habitats in parks.

  • Big Thompson River rushes by in Rocky Mountain National Park.

    The rivers program provides technical and policy advice regarding hydrologic issues for rivers, streams, lakes, and reservoirs.

  • Tools used to collect data for water monitoring.
    Information Management

    The Information Management program supports parks in analysis and archiving of hydrologic data.

  • Weather monitoring equipment set up in national park.
    Natural Resource Condition Assessment

    NRCA provides funds and oversight for preparation of resource condition assessments in parks.

  • Ocean wave crashing on shore
    Ocean and Coastal Resources

    The Ocean and Coastal Resources Program works to advance ocean and Great Lakes stewardship in the National Park System.

  • River at Olympic National Park
    Water Rights

    The National Park Service seeks to protect and conserve surface waters and groundwaters in park units as integral components of ecosystems

  • Water lapping onto shore at Lake Clark National Park.
    Water Quality

    The Water Quality program coordinates aspects of water quality protection in national parks.

  • View looking out over wetlands at Denali National Park.

    The Wetlands program provides expertise for protection and management of over 20 million acres of NPS wetlands.

  • Group of rafts waiting to launch.
    Wild and Scenic Rivers Program

    The Wild and Scenic River Program aims to protect and enhance river resources under the National wild and Scenic River Act.

Last updated: February 8, 2024