What We Do

Water is an ideal medium for the chemistry of life. In fact, water is the most important feature of our planet. Water is essential to every single living being, from the easiest microorganism to the most complex creature. Water flows through land pretty much as it does through the human body, transporting, dissolving, renewing supplements and natural matter, while diverting waste material.

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 values:

Service: Appropriate products and services to meet needs...
Quality: delivered efficiently, comprehensively, usefully, and timely...
Competence: in a manner that is professional, analytical, science-based, and credible.

The division provides oversight for Natural Resource Condition Assessments and State of the Parks, which provide park staff with tools to better understand park resources and to make more effective management decisions.

Water Resources Division also provides its services directly to parks through a broad range of programs contained in three branches:



A fisherman fishes at Lake Clark

Aquatic Systems Branch

The Aquatic Systems Branch encompasses four areas of freshwater management.

Ocean wave crashing on shore

Ocean and Coastal Resources Branch

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

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Water Rights Branch

NPS seeks to protect and conserve surface waters and groundwaters in park units as integral components of water and land.

Last updated: April 3, 2017