National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program
Assess the status and trends of aquatic ecological conditions (invertebrates, fish, algae and habitat) in rivers and wadeable streams.
Relate ecological conditions to chemical stressors (such as nutrients and pesticides), physical disturbances (such as habitat and hydrologic alterations) in the context of different environmental settings and land uses.
Enhance understanding of factors that influence the biological integrity of streams and how these stream ecosystems may respond to diverse natural and human factors.
Develop key ecological indicators of aquatic health.
Invertebrate photos by:
Jim Carter and Steve Fend, USGS, Menlo Park, CA
The Ecological National Synthesis (ENS) Project of the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program provides a national-scale perspective and assessments on aquatic ecology, and the chemical and physical factors that affect aquatic conditions and health. Implemented in 1991, data have been collected by NAWQA on chemistry, hydrology, land use, stream habitat, and aquatic life in parts or all of nearly 50 States using a nationally consistent study design and uniform methods of sampling (access method, sampling, and analytical protocols).