Tuesday, July 2, 2013

USGS, State Officials To Brief Congress and the Public on Health of U.S. Streams

The Northeast-Midwest Institute and the Water Environment Federation will co-host a public briefing at the U.S. Capitol on July 19, on new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) findings regarding the ecological health of the Nation’s streams. During the briefing, USGS National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program and state officials will describe the results of a national assessment of stream health, along with challenges and successes related to assessing aquatic life impairment and restoration. The presentations will emphasize the importance of assessing various stream health indicator and stress factors, and the implications the study findings have for establishing protection and restoration priorities.

Among the national assessment's key findings, the authors conclude that "efforts to understand the causes of reduced stream health should consider the possible effects of nutrients and pesticides, in addition to modified flows, particularly in agricultural and urban settings," and that "stream health is often reduced due to multiple physical and chemical factors. Understanding how these multiple factors influence biological communities is essential in developing effective management strategies aimed at restoring stream health."

According to a USGS release announcing the briefing, the national survey was "unprecedented in the breadth of the measurements that were made—including assessments of the condition of three biological communities (algae, macroinvertebrates and fish) as well as streamflow, pesticides, nutrients and other factors."

The briefing will be moderated by Bill Wilber, Chief of the USGS NAWQA Program, and speakers will include:
  • Daren Carlisle, USGS NAWQA Program
  • David McKinney, Chief of Environmental Services, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
  • Peter Ode, Director, Water Pollution Control Laboratory, California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Daren Carlisle is Ecology Studies Coordinator for the NAWQA Program.  David McKinney and Peter Ode both have extensive experience in their respective state programs, in assessing aquatic life impairment and developing stream protection and restoration strategies.  

The briefing will run from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. in room SVC Room 209-208 of the Capitol Visitor Center, Washington, D.C.  It is co-sponsored by Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), and Reps. Donna Edwards (D-4-MD) and Jim Moran (D-8-VA), and is being held in cooperation with the USGS Office of Water Quality and NAWQA.  

The event is free and open to the public. Those interested in attending should RSVP cbarbour@usgs.gov, or otherwise will need to show a picture ID to gain entrance to the event. For more information about the survey, its results or the briefing, the USGS contact is Bill Wilber (wgwilber@usgs.gov or 703-648-6878).

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