PROGRAMS AND PLANS--National Stream Quality Accounting Network (NASQAN): Fiscal Year 1996--October 1, 1995 to September 30,1996

In Reply Refer To                               March 1, 1996
Mail Stop 412


Subject: PROGRAMS AND PLANS--National Stream Quality Accounting Network
         (NASQAN): Fiscal Year 1996--October 1, 1995 to September 30,  

This memorandum contains an outline of NASQAN II Program status and 
funding for fiscal year (FY) 1996. Please provide a copy of this 
memorandum to all personnel connected with this effort.

The NASQAN program was redesigned in FY 1995 to focus on the Nation's 
largest river basins. Implementation of NASQAN II began in FY 1996 with 
selection of the river basins and basin coordinators listed below. The 
basin coordinators, led by Rick Hooper, are working with the District 
staffs and the Office of Water Quality (OWQ) to develop workplans, 
provide technical guidance, and oversee collection of data for the 

BASIN                                   BASIN COORDINATOR

Coastal basins and Alaska               Richard P. Hooper (rphooper)
Colorado Basin                          Dean B. Radtke (dbradtke)
                                          520-670-6307 x 269
Columbia Basin                          Valerie J. Kelly (vjkelly)
Mississippi Basin                       Donald A. Goolsby
                                         (dgoolsby)303-236-5950 x 209
                                        Charles R. Demas (crdemas)
Rio Grande Basin                        Frank C. Wells (fcwells)

Details of the NASQAN II program, including sampling locations, 
protocols and guidelines, funding, and various program development 
documents are available on the internet at the NASQAN home page 
( This home page is restricted to internal 
USGS viewing. Please address any comments or requests for additional home 
page information to Rick Hooper.

Districts were recently asked to provide to the OWQ detailed cost 
information for planned NASQAN II data collection. Costs were requested 
for the following activities: stream gages (if necessary), labor required 
for routine and event sample collection, travel costs for sample 
collection, sediment analysescharges, equipment and supplies needed, data 
review and publication costs and training needs. These data were reviewed 
by the OWQ and the basin coordinators; the attached table lists the 
planned allocations by station and by District. With the exception of 
costs of training, data review and publication, and sediment analyses, 
funds have been allocated as requested. 

The OWQ has established a fund to reimburse Districts for training costs 
associated with the Water-Quality Field-Methods Course for NASQAN 
personnel. Districts that have NASQAN II personnel requiring training 
should nominate through the standard process. In addition, please inform 
the appropriate basin coordinator at the time of nomination. Once an 
employee has been accepted for the course, notify the basin coordinator, 
who will request that the OWQ reimburse the District for the equalization 
fee via standard voucher. 

Data review and publication cost requests varied widely among the 
Districts; therefore, the OWQ has decided to make a standard allocation 
for these costs on a per sample basis. This standard will cover both the 
NASQAN II and Benchmark programs. Data review includes tracking NWQL 
analyses, performing QA/QC checks, requesting reruns, and ensuring 
correct data base storage. We assumed that each step of this analysis 
would take two hours per station. Data publication involves retrieval of 
tables for the annual report, preparation of station headers and other 
text, and printing costs. We have allotted one hour for each of these 
tasks. Although we recognize that Districts have a variety of various 
grade levels involved in data collection, review, and publication, we 
have made a general assumption that a salary rate of $35/hr, including 
overheads, will approximate the mix of individuals involved (about a GS 

This formula translates into an allocation of $1,575 for each Priority 1 
station (15 samples collected each year) and $420 for each Priority 2 
station (4 samples per year). This decision will be reviewed based upon 
experiences this year with data review and will be adjusted accordingly 
next year.

Sediment lab costs are also extremely variable, and in some cases in 
error because we failed to ask for the necessary level of detail. The 
sediment costs shown in the funding table are what we received. We have 
not, however, included sediment lab costs in the initial allocation 
pending clarification of this item with Districts. Sediment lab costs 
will be allocated upon completion of this step. 

Planned allocations by station and District are available on the NASQAN 
II home page. The columns of the funding table include:

District, Station ID, Name. Self-explanatory.

Number of planned samples. This is the average number of samples planned
  for this site. The actual number may be higher or lower depending upon
  weather conditions and other factors.

Basin. The river basin in which the station is located, or, if the
  station is being operated only for off-continent flux, the designation
  is "coastal." The basin coordinator for each basin is available on the
  NASQAN II home page.

Gaging Cost (Column A). Allocation supplied by the NASQAN II program to
  operate the surface water gage. Generally other programs pay for gage
  operation, and only under extreme circumstances does NASQAN pay for 
  the gage. Where possible, NASQAN II stations have been relocated to
  avoid gage costs.

Sample Collection-Initial Allocation (B).  For stations that are
  scheduled for 15 samples, the Districts are paid for 10 routine samples
  and 2 event samples (which may have different collection costs) "in
  advance." In the future, this will be part of the amount transferred at
  the beginning of the year. For stations that are only scheduled for
  four trips, the cost of three collections are included in this column.

Event Sample Contingency (C). For 15-sample stations, the cost of 3 event
  samples (data collection and sediment lab costs) are being held in a
  contingency fund for use at those sites at which the target hydrologic
  conditions occur. Depending upon weather conditions, the Basin
  Coordinators may shift these samples to other stations to capture
  unusual conditions such as floods. (For the St. Lawrence site, the cost
  of one boat sample is held in the contingency fund.) For four-sample
  stations, the cost of one sample is held in a contingency fund for this
  year only due to some sites' late starts. On July 15, 1996, the Basin
  Coordinators will inform the OWQ of all stations where additional
  samples have been collected so that additional funds can be transferred
  to those Districts by August 1, 1996. Any additional event collections
  that could not be predicted by August 1 will be paid for September 1,
  and again prior to the close of the fiscal year, if necessary.
  Therefore, it is critical to keep the basin coordinators informed of
  all sample collections to ensure proper payment. Districts should
  designate one person for each station who is responsible for informing
  the basin coordinator of sample collection.

QC Collection Cost. (D) In NASQAN II, concurrent field replicates will be
  collected 5 times per year at 15-sample stations and once per year at
  4-sample stations, as well as annual field blanks and pesticide spikes.
  To compensate for the additional time required for the field
  replicates, 10% of the labor charge for sample collection is added for
  each field replicate. 

Data Review and Publication. (E)  A fixed cost per station, as described
  above, is allocated for the costs of data review and publication. The
  Districts are responsible for all review of both environmental and
  quality assurance data and must request any necessary re-runs from the
  NWQL (National Water Quality Laboratory).

Sediment Lab Charges. (F)  Based upon estimates provided by the 
  Districts, at 15-sample stations, funds are shown for 12
  cross-sectional composite samples and for 2 samples where individual
  verticals are analyzed (one at high flow and one at low flow) to assess
  the cross-sectional variability in concentration. Analyses are to
  include suspended sediment concentration and a sand/silt split. At
  four-sample stations, funds are shown for three cross-sectional 
  composite  samples and two samples for individual verticals. No initial 
  allocations for sediment costs are being made until costs are revised 
  as discussed above. 

Initial Station Allocation. (G)  This is the sum of columns A,
  B, D, and E, and represents the initial funding allocation for this
  station, without additional contingency funds or sediment lab costs.
Equipment. (H) This is District request for equipment and supplies. 
  Because it was expressed on a District basis, and not by station, this 
  amount is on the District line. The large amount for Missouri District 
  arises from a re-fitting of their boats to enable boat sampling and 
  discontinue bridge sampling.

Initial District Allocation (I). The total initial allocation by District 
  is the sum of the initial station allocation(s) (column G) and   
  equipment requests.

For the NASQAN II program, we anticipate the following FY 1996 

Activity                               Percentage of Program Funds

Sample Collection (Initial District              53% 
transfer and contingency funds)

Lab Analyses (Environmental and                  25%
Quality Assurance samples)

Network Design and Data                          16%
Interpretation (Basin coordinators)

Program Administration                            4%

Training for District Samplers and                2%
Misc. Services

The OWQ appreciates the interest and cooperation that all have 
contributed to the redesign of NASQAN and to this year's implementation 
of the new program. We anticipate some additional changes as the program 
matures. We will make every effort to make final decisions on FY 1997 
program and planned allocations for FY 1997 by September 1996, within WRD 
budget constraints.

Distribution: A, AO, B, S, FO, PO
              District Water-Quality Specialist
              Program Officer NR, SR, CR, WR
              Regional Water-Quality Specialist NR, SR, CR, WR
              Regional Hydrologist NR, SR, CR, WR

Key words:    basin coordinator, FY 1996, NASQAN, water quality