Tuesday, March 26, 2013

National Rivers and Streams Assessment Draft Report Released for Comment

The U.S. EPA Office of Water's Assessment and Watershed Protection Division announced on Monday (March 25) that it was releasing its draft report of the National Rivers and Streams Assessment 2008-2009 (NRSA) for public evaluation and comment during a 45-day comment period. The NRSA report describes the results of the nationwide survey of river and stream conditions that was conducted during the summers of 2008 and 2009, and also describes survey methods, and future actions and challenges. This is the first time a national monitoring study of the overall condition of rivers and streams has been conducted using a statistically-valid random sample approach.

Biological Condition by Ecological Region
(click to enlarge)
According to the draft NRSA, 55% of U.S. river and stream miles do not support healthy biological communities when compared to least disturbed sites in similar ecological regions. In the Mississippi River Basin, the Upper Midwest, Southern Appalachian and Coastal Plain ecoregions fared worse than the national average, while the Northern and Southern Plains came out better than the average. Nationally, "fair conditions" were observed in 23% of river and stream miles, and only 21% were found to be in "good condition" and supporting healthy aquatic biological communities. Of the stressors examined during the survey, phosphorus and nitrogen are the most ubiquitous, and biological communities were seen to be at increased risk when phosphorus and nitrogen levels were observed to be high.

Interested parties can link to the report on this National Rivers and Streams Assessment web site. The Federal Register notice announcing the report's release and and additional background on the topic can be viewed here. Comments on the NRSA must be received by 11:59 p.m. May 9, and can be sent by email to nrsa-hq@epa.gov.

1 comment:

  1. There will be a “Draft National Rivers and Streams Assessment 2008-2009” webinar on April 3, from 1-3 pm EDT (go here to register: http://1.usa.gov/GB3KhT)