"Proceedings, Federal Interagency Workshop,
"Sediment Technology for the 21'st Century,"
St. Petersburg, FL, February 17-19, 1998"

Coordination of Sedimentation Activities Among Federal Agencies and the Private Sector

By John R. Gray and G. Douglas Glysson


In August 1964, the Bureau of the Budget issued Circular A-67 to set forth guidelines for the coordination of water-data acquisition activities throughout the Federal government. The U.S. Department of the Interior was assigned the task of implementing Circular A-67, which in turn redelegated this responsibility to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Redelegation of this responsibility took place because of the USGS's historical role as the primary agency for water-data acquisition in the United States.

On December 10, 1991, the Office of Management and Budget issued OMB Number Memorandum M-92-01, which expanded the USGS's coordination role to encompass all water information. This includes water-resources data in the following categories:

The USGS's water-information responsibilities primarily include information from freshwater bodies and includes such activities as "development and distribution of consensus standards, field-data collection and laboratory analytical methods, data processing and interpretation, data-base management, quality control and quality assurance, and water-resources appraisals, assessments, and investigations." Research activities are excluded from M-92-01's provisions.

In 1997, the the Advisory Committee on Water Information (ACWI) was formed. The ACWI consists of about 33 members, of which seven are U.S. Departments or major independent Federal agencies and 26 are non-Federal organizations with a broad spectrum of water-information interests. The ACWI is chaired by the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, U.S. Department of the Interior.

The ACWI superseded two committees formed by the USGS in 1964: The Interagency Committee on Water Data (IACWD), which consisted of about 30 Federal agencies; and the Advisory Committee on Water Data for Public Use (ACWDPU), which consisted of non-Federal national organizations with interests in water information .

The Subcommittee on Sedimentation, which was formed in 1938 based on common interests of several Federal agencies, was placed under the IACWD in 1978. This subcommittee provides a vehicle for Federal agencies to:

As of March 1998, the Subcommittee on Sedimentation is comprised of representatives from the USGS, Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Surface Mining, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission, National Park Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service, Tennessee Valley Authority, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee. The Subcommittee on Sedimentation has been invited to join the ACWI as a subcommittee.

The Subcommittee on Sedimentation's Technical Committee consists of the USGS, USACE, USFS, BLM, BOR, and ARS. Currently chaired by the Bureau of Land Management, the Technical Committee is responsible for identifying and prioritizing Federal technical sedimentation issues and for direct oversight of the Federal Interagency Sedimentation Project.

Those sediment and water-quality issues that are deemed tractable and of sufficiently high priority by the Technical Committee are placed on the priority list of the FISP. The FISP, which is staffed by USGS and USACE employees and located at the USACE Waterways Experiment Station in Vicksburg, Mississippi, seeks solutions to sedimentation and selected water-quality problems that involve:

The FISP supplies standardized, calibrated sediment and water-quality samplers, and other instruments to the Federal agencies and to foreign governments. Authority for marketing these instruments to State and local governments and to the private sector is being sought.

upWorkshop Contributions

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