In Reply Refer To:
Mail Stop 412

October 13, 2009

Office of Water Quality Technical Memorandum 2010.02

Subject: National Stream Quality Accounting Network, Fiscal Year (FY) 2010

This memorandum contains a summary of the activities of the National Stream Quality Accounting Network (NASQAN) for FY 2010, including the stations being operated, constituents measured, and funding allocations. The attachments to this memorandum provide specific information on sample collection and processing for FY 2010. Please ensure that all field personnel sampling at NASQAN stations have a copy of this memorandum and its attachments.

In FY 2010, NASQAN will continue to use the revised network design prepared by the ad hoc NASQAN Technical Committee (NTC) in February 2007. Further details on NASQAN operations can be obtained from Charlie Crawford (NASQAN Coordinator) or Dave Reutter (NASQAN support). Contact information is contained at the end of this memorandum.

NASQAN Stations

The current NASQAN design is organized around two networks – a Coastal Network and a Mississippi Basin Network. The number of stations operated in each network is shown in Table 1. Attachment 1 provides a listing of the stations that will be sampled and the number of samples to be collected for NASQAN in FY 2010. The fund transfers, by Water Science Center (WSC) and by account number, are contained in Attachment 2 (contact the NASQAN Coordinator with any updates or corrections to the account numbers).

FY 2010 allocations are based on a three-percent increase over FY 2009. Please note that the NASQAN budget allocations are tentative because the FY 2010 NASQAN appropriation has not been finalized. We anticipate being able to allocate the full amounts indicated in Attachment 2 as long as NASQAN funding remains at least at FY 2009 levels. Should NASQAN funding be less than anticipated, the allocations and number of samples to be collected in FY 2010 will be reduced accordingly.

Table 1. Number of NASQAN stations by Network.

Network Number of Stations
Mississippi 20
Coastal 13
Total 33

Sampling Frequency and Constituents Measured

All NASQAN stations will be sampled bi-monthly with a part of the year containing additional seasonally weighted samples, as determined by the NASQAN coordinator. The number of samples to be collected by month for each station is shown in the attached NASQAN SWPLAN spreadsheet. The sampling should be spaced two weeks apart for months during which two samples are collected. NASQAN has discontinued routine sampling based on hydrologic conditions (“event samples”). Contact the NASQAN Coordinator with any questions or concerns regarding the information contained in the NASQAN SWPLAN.

With few exceptions, the same constituents will be measured across the NASQAN network, although the lab schedules used may vary somewhat depending on local conditions. The constituents measured will include major ions, nutrients and carbon, pesticides (schedule 2033 rather than schedule 2001), suspended sediment, isotopes, and field parameters (including alkalinity). Collection of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and ultraviolet absorbing organic constituents at 412 nm (UV412) also will continue to be collected. Analytical services (National Water Quality Laboratory (NWQL) and sediment laboratory) for NASQAN samples will be charged to account 4565-9CE00. (Note: this account is only for NWQL or sediment laboratory costs. Funds for shipping have been included in the WSC allocations and should not be charged to this account.)

Questions about NASQAN sampling procedures or how to implement the protocols contained in the attachments, in addition to any concerns about the information contained in the attachments or the protocols, should be addressed to the NASQAN Sampling Coordinator.

NASQAN Networks

Mississippi Basin Network

NASQAN will continue to address questions specific to the Mississippi River Basin related to hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. A total number of 20 sites will be sampled in the Mississippi River Basin by NASQAN in FY 2010. The general scheme used to select stations for this network is to have one station mid-basin and one station near the mouth of the Missouri and Ohio Rivers, one station in the upper and mid-basin region of the Mississippi River, several stations in the Lower Mississippi River Basin, and the most important tributaries to these rivers in terms of nitrogen and phosphorus inputs. The NTC selected 18 stations for the Mississippi Basin Network (Attachment 1). (Note: Mississippi River at Belle Chasse and Atchafalaya River at Melville are included in the Coastal Network.)

Coastal Network

The Coastal Network will address questions about the annual transport of selected constituents from selected large rivers to coastal waters of the United States. The NTC selected 13 stations for the Coastal Network. This will include 12 stations in the conterminous United States and the Yukon River station in Alaska. Together, the 12 stations on rivers in the conterminous United States measure approximately 80 percent of the total discharge of streamflow, nitrogen, phosphorus, and suspended sediment to coastal waters. Samples will be collected at most coastal stations twelve times a year. Samples will be collected at the Yukon River station seven times a year; however, pesticide samples will be collected only three times per year at the Yukon River.

NASQAN Contact Information

For any questions on the NASQAN Program contact any of the following individuals:

NASQAN Coordinator: Charlie Crawford, Indiana WSC,, 317-290-3333 ext 176
NASQAN Support: Dave Reutter, Ohio WSC,, 614-430-7732
NASQAN Sampling Coordinator: Richard Coupe, Mississippi WSC,, 601-933-2982

Terry L. Schertz /s/
Acting Chief, Office of Water Quality


This memorandum supersedes OWQ Technical Memorandum 2009.01.

Distribution: A, B, WSC Directors, AO, WSC and Regional Water-Quality Specialists

List of Attachments

Attachment 1. FY 2010 NASQAN Stations
Attachment 2. FY 2010 NASQAN Funding Allocations by WSC and Account Number
Attachment 3. FY 2010 NASQAN Operations
Attachment 4. NASQAN Water-Quality Sampling Protocols
Attachment 5. Sample coding guidance
Attachment 6. Guidelines for collection of NASQAN QC samples
Attachment 7. NASQAN parameter codes
Attachment 8. NASQAN SWPLAN spreadsheet

Terrry L. Schertz, Acting Chief, Office of Water Quality
U.S. Geological Survey
412 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
703-648-6693 (fax)