National Liaison Committee Meeting for the NWQP — Part 1

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In these videos, speakers discuss upcoming changes to the USGS National Water Quality Program (NAWQA Project) and three new priority areas for the USGS Water Mission Area. Gary Rowe discusses plans for transitioning from current NAWQA Project activities to the new priority areas. Chad Wagner discusses plans for the Next Generation Water Observing System (NGWOS), which will provide high-fidelity, real-time data on water quantity and quality. Katie Skalak presents information on the Water Prediction Work Program, or 2WP, an ambitious federal partnership for developing a national, interagency new capacity for water prediction. And Mindi Dalton shares plans for the Integrated Water Availability Assessments (IWAAs), which will predict water availability for human and ecological uses at regional and national scales.

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Image Dimensions: 1100 x 622

Date Taken:

Length: 00:35:25

Location Taken: Washington, DC, US

Transcript

- All right, good morning folks. If everybody wants to take their seats, we'll go ahead and get started here so we don't keep you longer than we need to. My name's Gary Rowe, I'm the program coordinator for the USGS Water Quality Program. And I want to welcome you all here today. Thank you for making it through the rain and to our meeting. So what we're going to do today is tell you about some proposed changes to USGS programs, specifically as they relate to water-quality pieces that this liaison committee has been dealing with for NAQUA and for recently the National Water Quality Program. And then talk about some of the exciting new science priorities that have been established for the Water Missionary act and where we're headed with that in its relation to future water-quality work, as well as broader water resource information. So what we'd like to do, this is a pretty informal meeting. Obviously, we'd like to get a lot of discussion and such. And to start off, I think we'll do a round of, have everybody introduce themselves, where they're from, and that would be a good thing to get us going. So I guess I'll start over here. Elizabeth, would you mind kicking it off?

- Sure. Good morning, everyone. I'm Elizabeth Eide, and I direct the Water Science and Technology Board at the National Academies of Sciences Engineering Medicine.

- [Stephanie] I'm Stephanie Johnson. I work with Elizabeth at the National Academies.

- Hi, I'm Adrienne Bartlewitz. I'm the Chief of Staff of the Water Mission Area at the USGS, and also one of the designated officers.

- [Bob] Good morning, I'm Bob Joseph. I'm the Director of Office of Planning and Programming for the Water Mission Area.

- [Francis] I'm Francis Longfellow, I'm with the Association of Water Technologies.

- [Joe] I'm Joe Fillingham, I work for Wellntel, water information and sensors company based in Wisconsin.

- [Lauren] Hi I'm Lauren Schapker, the Government Affairs Director for the National Ground Water Association.

- [Stephen] I'm Stephen, I lead the Safe Drinking Water Program and northeast investment research and advanced commissions member.

- [Pat] I'm Pat Leahy, retired. I used to be with USGS, over a decade ago. But I was the first Chief of the National Water Quality Assessment program. And ne thing that struck me as I entered the hotel, the very first NAWQA meeting as we used to call it occurred in this hotel just down the hall.

- [Gary] We have used this hotel many times.

- [Pat] Back in the 90s now, but frankly, I guess maybe I have that corporate knowledge of sort of the aspirations and then the reality. I have to say that those of us who were involved in the Planning and Implementation Program, this program has exceeded our expectations mightily. So congratulations to those who have taken sort of a fragmented vision, put the flesh on it to make it real.

- [Gary] Thanks, Pat.

- [Ayana] Ayana Jones, I'm the Project Coordinator for our Water Program at the National Environmental Health Association.

- [Ed] I'm Ed Thomas of the Fertilizer Institute. I'm the Director of Regulatory Affairs.

- [Chad] I'm Chad Wagner, I'm also with USGS. I'm the Coordinator of the Groundwater and Streamflow Information Program.

- [Danielle] Danielle Gretsky, I work the Quandary Analysis Branch at the US EPA.

- [Michael] I'm Michael Goff. I'm President of Northeast-Midwest Institute in D.C.

- [Stephanie] Stephanie Hayes Schlea, I'm the Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Manager for the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies.

- [Garrett] I'm Garrett Mason. I'm with the Association of Standard and Modern Industries.

- [Katie] I'm Katie Skalak from USGS. I'm the Science Advisor for water prediction.

- [David] I'm David Lesmes, it's my first week at the USGS. I used to work at the Department of Energy, Energy and Water Systems Science Program in the Office of Science. So I'll be working with Katie and folks, managing the Water Prediction part of the program that Katie can tell you all about it.

- I'm Mindi Dalton. I'm the USGS Program Coordinator for our USGS Water Availability and Use Science Program.

- [Tony] Tony Willards, and I'm the executive director of the Western States Water Council, we represent 18 western states, the 17 western states and Alaska. We were created by Western Governors to advise in our water policy and our move to appoint water owners, offices and send people help.

- Yeah, so Tony was here for water week, right? And so we have a lotta water types runnin' around, so we tried to schedule this to take advantage of some folks being in town. Anyway, it's great to have you all here. Well, unlike our typical agenda for these meetings where we're gonna talk a lot about stuff that we've been doing, and some high visibility reports, and products, today we're gonna focus on some of the changes that are coming to the USGS, and in particular to the Water Mission area, and how those might impact the water-quality work that we've done in the past, and some of the new science topics and priorities that we've established that I think are pretty exciting, and are things that we're pointing towards, and as we go forward we're gonna be coming back to you folks asking for input on those as the plans mature. So just to cover some of the basics. What's happening in the USGS? Like all federal government organizations, we're going through a restructuring effort right now. Some at the bureau level for the USGS itself. We currently have seven mission areas, and there's a proposal to consolidate and realign those mission areas down to five. With respect to the water resources, I'll go into more detail here, we're consolidating four of our programs into three. In ecosystems, the two mission areas that are actually gonna be consolidated or sort of dissolved, and their program's going to the other mission areas, are the environmental health mission area, which hosts our toxic substances hydrology program, and our contaminants biology program. And some of you are probably familiar with the research that they have done. And the other half of that contaminants biology piece will go back to ecosystems. The other changes relate to our land resources mission area, that's being dissolved, and our land sat piece is going back to core systems mission area, and the land exchange program also is going in the core system. So these are the highest level changes that are occurring right now. These are all proposed changes, they've been signed off on by the department and are headed to congress. Congress will review the proposal and say yay or nay, and. That process will occur over the next month or two. So for water missionary, we've already kinda been moving out on changes. These changes have been initiated by our new associate director, Don Klein. Don comes to the USGS from the Weather Service, and he took a look at what we're doing, liked a lot what he saw, but figured we needed to make some changes to move out on some new topics that our stakeholders have been asking us about. Some new science priorities, and we're gonna hear about those today. What the main thrust of where Don is headed is he really wants to upgrade our water observing systems, and you're gonna hear about our next-gen water observing system work program. Chad Wagner will speak to you later. And then we wanna make strategic investments in our research assessment, modeling and forecasting capabilities. And instead of kinda stovepiping the work that we've done by disciplined surface water, groundwater, water-quality, integrate that holistically to assess water availability, which of course deals with quantity, quality and use. And so integrating that and realigning of both our funding programs and our science priorities is worth those efforts, is where we're headed. So we'll talk a little bit more details about the budget programs, and new science priorities, and then I'm gonna turn it over to our other speakers to give you more in-depth information on those science priorities. So with respect to the Water Mission area, what's happening on the left-hand side of the screen, you can see the current water resources. We have four programs: Water Availability and Use science program that Mindi Dalton coordinates. This is where the water use work is done. We've done groundwater resource assessments, and focus area studies as part of the Secure Water act. And the next program is the program I currently oversee, the National Water Quality program. That program, the biggest piece of that of course is the NAWQA project, but we also have other pieces that are important like the NADP, the National Atmospheric Deposition Program, looking in precipitation chemistry, and then our national park service water-quality partnership as well as research components, and a component of cooperative matching funds, which are funds that we go out through our USGS water science centers and match that with local tribal or state agencies to do local scale investigations. Groundwater and streamflow information program, those of you that know the national streamflow information program, previously Chad Wagner oversees that. But basically we're gonna consolidate those, and bring in the toxic substances hydrology into two new programs: a Water Observing Systems program and a Water Resources Availability program. One program I didn't talk about, Water Resources Research Act program, that's the program, a grant program where we give money to the land grant universities through their water resource institutes to do research in support of the USGS mission. That program is not changing. Briefly about the two new programs and what they'll be doing. The Water Observing Systems program, again, is an effort to align and consolidate all the observing work the Water Mission area does. So that includes stream gaging, that includes our groundwater level networks, that includes the National Groundwater Monitoring Network, which is an act we supported, effort through the subcommittee and groundwater where we work with the states to bring in water level and water-quality information into a database. We also will be moving all of the NAWQA-related long-term water-quality monitoring networks over to the WOSP program, and we'll talk about how that's gonna work. So again, that will include service water, groundwater quality, as well as the atmospheric deposition piece. So the rest of the work we've done in the past related to assessments, research, modeling and forecasting will now be in that work done and the other programs, like Mindi's program, that's now gonna be rolled in to our water resources availability program. No apologies for the acronym there, I didn't come up with that. But anyway, again, this is gonna fulfill goals that were established in the Secure Water Act and the national water census, really to improve our understanding of the nation's water availability and report out on it on a regular basis. And Mindi will touch on this some more. But four major goals of the WRAP program. They really reflect the long-term goals of the NAWQA program for water-quality in that we're gonna assess current conditions, but this time with respect to integrated water availability, quantity, quality and use, but continue to evaluate long-term trends in quantity, quality and use, therefore availability. An area that NAWQA has started in and is headed into and will now become a formal work program that Katie will talk about, is developing seasonal decadal forecasts of water availability. And then a piece that's somewhat new, at least it's a little bit out of our wheelhouse compared to what we've done in the past is developing tools that take into account socioeconomic and what our resource management policies and issues to make informed decisions on large sustainability. So we're gonna need some help from folks like you in the audience, and your organizations. So water-quality related research assessment, modeling that was conducted under NAWQA and the Toxics program will be in this new WRAP program. So, these are proposed changes on the books, I think frankly we expect them to go into effect, and if congress signs off they would take effect in the new fiscal year, October 1st. But in the interim Don and the mission area have talked to a lot of folks and have established some new science priorities that we will be moving out on. You're gonna hear more about these, so I'm not gonna spend a lot of time on them now. But basically to make room for these new science activities, and start moving out on those, the decision was made to ramp down the NAWQA program. So basically we are gonna be moving on from NAWQA, and it's good that Pat's here, because again, he was there to help get the program off the ground. And it looks like I'll have the responsibility of turning off the lights in a couple fiscal years for the NAWQA program. But again, it's been a great program, and it's been around for a long time. The history here, we started back in 1986 with pilot studies that Pat, Bob Hersch and a number of folks helped design. Bill Ally, et cetera, and got it off the ground, and got congress interested on the need for a nationally consistent assessment on the nation's water-quality. We were able to get fully ramped up and initiated, it was always built on a decadal cycle. And we started in 1991 with cycle one, we did baseline characterization across 51 large watersheds, or study units as we used to call them back in the day. They collected data on a variety of water-quality, contaminate groups, and baseline logic characterization at our fixed sites, and the data was fed into teams that synthesized that data nationally, so working from sorta that sub-regional and regional watershed scale to a national scale was a unique feature of the program, and I think it's delivered some of the most important benefits and findings. Anyway, cycle two we built on baseline characterization and started really collecting data for trends assessments. We transitioned from a study unit model, mainly for cost reasons, to more regional synthesis, with a principle aquifer or major river basin scale, and continued our national synthesis work. We also did a number of topical studies, and these were driven in large part by input of what the committee here felt were the most important topics, as well as National Academy of Science reviews of the program that helped drive the work in the NAWQA program. So again, another feature of what made NAWQA successful was in the input from this committee, as well as the more academic reviews, if you will, from the academy. And there we did topical studies, really case studies across the country in different settings on agricultural chemical transport, nutrient enrichment in streams, mercury in streams, and processing of mercury, the TANC study was transport of anthropogenic chemicals to public supply wells, so that was our groundwater focus study, and the last one was looking at the effects of urbanization on stream ecosystem. And again, each of those studies produced multiple publications, really valuable data sets that we built off the program. So we're currently in about the eighth year of what would be the third decade of NAWQA, and with instructions from Don we're gonna ramp those activities down over the next couple of years. But some of the things we did in cycle three, again, with input from this committee and from the academy when they reviewed us. We've reinvested in some of our long-term monitoring networks. Again, monitoring over time means increasing costs and on a flat budget means you do less monitoring or fewer sites, that sorta thing. But we reinvested some of our existing resources and bulking those up. The current surface water network, we were on a rotational design. We're doing it perennially, every year type monitoring now. We brought water-quality work, we added a third component there where we're looking at deep aquifer water-quality, where public supply wells tend to tap the systems. And we also kinda riding the wave of technology that would be part of the science priority for NGWOS going forward was getting more and more involved in sensor-based water-quality monitoring, although at a limited number of sites. We also heard from stakeholders that are very interested in the future forecasts what's gonna happen as a function of climate change, land use, population growth, et cetera. So there was a fair bit of work in taking what had previously been our static water-quality models that we used to extrapolate monitoring data to unmonitored areas, things like the SPARROW model. Building in a temporal or dynamic component of that so we could both hindcast and potentially forecast. So some of that work will feed into the water prediction work program that Katie's gonna talk about. So the other big piece there, and this is an area where we again, driven by stakeholder info, was understanding relationships between water-quality and ecosystem health, spring health. And we have these regional stream quality assessments where we were really detailed. Multi-week monitoring, regional basis of 100 or so sites, and a detailed ecological work. We partnered with EPA on studies in the Midwest with their NURSA program, National Product Resource Surveys, and to really understand the relationships between water-quality and the different stressors that affect stream health. Things like nutrients, sediment, and contaminants, and habitat and such, and flow. So we've got great data sets there for five regions across the country. We did the Midwest in partnership with the EPA, then we moved on to the southeast, northeast, Pacific Northwest and we wrapped up in California. So again, there's a legacy of data there that we'll be trying to wrap up the synthesis reports on that over the next couple a years, and report out on that really good information, and then build off it because it serves as a model for some of the things we can do in these integrative water availability assessments that Mindi will talk about. So again, details on how we're doin' this. So again, we'll end the NAWQA project at the end of fiscal year '21. We have a budget that is ramping down, though it is gonna allow us to maintain most of the monitoring that we're doing, and finish key reports. So we're not just cutting it off, we basically went through an exorcize, identified the most important report products we had on the books, and consolidated some of that. And the type of things you see in the handout there that come out over the last year that was included there, you'll see continued those types of requests. So you'll see a lotta high visibility work coming out of the work we've done so far in cycle three. I'm sure people are concerned about what's gonna happen to our monitoring networks. On your left here you can see the 114 or 15 long-term fix sites that NAWQA has monitored. Some of these sites actually are NASQUAN and hydrologic benchmark sites that go back 40 or 50 years, where we've been collecting waterfall land flow information. And so we're gonna continue that effort, not make major changes to that network over the next couple fiscal years, and maintain those data sets. And again, there's an expectation through the IWAS effort and the need to monitor long-term trends in water-quality that we'll maintain this network in some form or another. There may be a move to modernize it with more water-quality sensor-based information, and then fill in parts of the country with the regional IWAS studies that Mindi will touch on later. On the right-hand side are results from our long-term decadal groundwater quality network. These are sites or networks of the 30 or so wells across the country that we started sampling back in the 90s, and have gone back and resampled those in the 2000s and through the current cycle. So now in some cases we have three sets of data from those 30 or so wells that we're doing trend analysis on. And we have an online trends mapper that is showing results, I think this result here is for chloride. And not surprisingly, we're seeing increases in many parts of the country, particularly the northern tier, road salt's an important component of shallow groundwater quality. So that's the good news piece, there are some changes though that we're starting to implement in '20 so we can move some funds around to support work and pilot efforts for the new priorities. And that surface water network I showed you of 100 plus sites, we've been doing ecological sampling for fish, bugs and algae on an annual basis. Looking at trends there and relating it to water-quality. The majority of those 45 sites were small indicator sites in urban or agricultural watersheds, and reference sites where we're lookin' at minimal disturbance on the ecology. You know, that's not a lotta data, and it's much less than the states and EPA collect for their work, so that's a piece of it that's expensive to collect that we're gonna drop. There's some specialized groundwater networks we've been doing, we had what we call an extended trends network, where we were instrumenting wells with real-time water-quality sensors in eight locations across the country. We've collected several years of data there, and I think we have enough data there to stop the data collection piece of that and go on with interpreting what we've found, and the value of that sensor data for interpreting short-term trends in water-quality. So there'll be publications coming out on that. We also have a sort of regional vertical flow paths where we have multi-depth well clusters along the flow path where we're modeling and examining how groundwater quality changes through those flow paths and different aquifer systems. Again, a series of papers will be done on that. One of the things that cost us a lot of money, and that it's one of the things that we're known for is our organic contaminants data sets. Probably pesticides is the thing we started with earliest and have been tracking throughout the lifetime of the program. Pesticides, if you do a lotta compounds at low levels, costs a lotta money. And one area we're looking to sort of achieve some efficiency and cost reductions, we started in cycle three with a new analytical schedule, it was a low-level schedule that got us over 220 different pesticides compounds and their degradates. And it's an expensive analysis, about $900 per. So we're lookin' to cut that back. Eliminate a lot of compounds that we either don't see or rarely see, ones that are not necessarily as environmentally relevant as we thought, and maybe scale that analysis back to 50 or 75 compounds for things that we think we can do trend analysis on, based on the currents and relevance to the environmental ecosystem health. So we're exploring that right now, and we're gonna potentially implement that starting in '20 as a mechanism to keep the pesticide piece going. I think that's a really important part of the program over time, and nobody else really does it with the scale we do, with the number of compounds that we're hopin' to keep that goin' under the integrated reassessment piece. Why is this happening? Well I ask that question a lot since my program's going away. But in reality, we're really being driven by a number of things. The USGS put out a water science strategy that emphasized some of these new science priorities. Elizabeth and her team at the academy, Don commissioned a report from the academy. We basically asked them what should the Water Mission area be doing over the next 25 years to meet the nation's water information needs. And some of the recommendations that came out of that report, I'm not gonna go into detail on it, but basically they support these new science directions that we're headed in and you're gonna hear more about. There's also a water sub-cabinet that some of you may or may not be aware of. But basically it's a group of federal agencies at the assistant secretary level that have gotten together, and are also looking at water resource issues that the federal agencies can better coordinate on. Tim Petty, the DOI assistant secretary for water and science is on it, David Ross from EPA is on it, they have reps from USDA, Noah, Core, and I can't remember what the sixth one is, do you remember?

- [Audience Member] DOA.

- DOA, right, right. And anyway, so they also have been driving, identifying some major areas for federal government and the agencies to make investments in, kinda divide it up. Different topics for different agencies. And the USGS was tasked with advancing water prediction through enhancing our water observing network and integrating models that would support such predictions. And again, that ties into the water prediction work program that Dave and Katie are overseeing. We haven't had some input from our, you know, we talked to our USGS water science centers, the folks that take our corporate managing funds and sell programs with their cooperation at the local state and tribal levels. They are supportive of these new priorities, as well as meetings with our missionary stakeholders, including folks like Western State's Water Council that Tony oversees. And frankly, the other reason we're moving out on this, despite the long-term success of the NAWQA program, we've had flat funding like a lot of other federal agencies have over that time period. And I think Don wants to come in, identify some new things that people are excited about, and get some more dollars flowing into the USGS to support this work. And he's has some success, in '19 we saw a seven million dollar increase for NGWOS, for the water observing system, and Chad and folks are using those funds to move out in some pilot work in the Delaware river basin, among other places. You'll hear more about that. Talked a little bit about this, when's it happening? Again, if it's approved by congress the new funding program structure would take place in the new fiscal year. We discussed the NAWQA transition period, so we'll wrap NAWQA up in '20 and '21, at least with respects to the reports work. Planning for the new Water Mission area work programs that you'll hear more about is ongoing, and will be continuing into '20 with a goal of really ramping up and kicking this stuff off in a coherent manner in fiscal year '21. We have, as I mentioned, already started some pilot studies for NGWOS and the integrated water availability assessments. This is the initial basin we're focusing on at the regional level is the Delaware. And then really again, we'll kick this stuff off in a more formal manner in '21. But you're gonna be hearing from us along the way in various forums, excuse me, and do other opportunities for us to speak on these topics. So it's a lotta change, so what are some of the potential impacts with respect to the USGS water-quality work? Certainly, as we transition and move to the new priorities, some of the monitoring and assessment work that was done by NAWQA and the Toxics program will be reduced or eliminated over the next two fiscal years as we ramp those activities down, particularly NAWQA. Toxics is just coming over to us if the transition or the restructuring goes through. I believe that we're gonna keep them, let them finish some stuff up in '20, and then we'll see how they fit into the new priorities, and then what research they'll be carrying forward from there. You'll hear from Chad that they're, again, a goal of the next-gen water observing system is to really upgrade the technologies we're using, and move away to some extent from discrete sampling and discrete observations, into more in-situ sensors and remote sensing platforms that range from drones to satellites. That will be happening with water-quality as well, there's a lot of good sensors that get us basic parameters and some key constituents like nitrate, alka pigments, et cetera. That type of information, combined with flow data can be used to build surrogate models that can lead to short-term nowcast and forecast of water-quality conditions that are of great interest to our stakeholders. Things like potential for HAPS formation, those sorts of things. There will be a shift again towards these integrated water availability assessments, not stovepipe by discipline. And really I think as I just mentioned the impacts on the research that the Toxics program is doing on things like the contaminants through emerging concern, fate and transport studies, HAVS, aquatic ecosystems health, et cetera, fluorinated compounds. Those impacts are to be determined at this point. So, just to set up our next few speakers. Again, we'll revisit, these are the new priorities. Following me you're gonna hear Chad talk about the water observing system, and then Katie will talk about the water prediction work program, and then the integrated water availability assessments, Mindi will wrap up with that. One of the first things we're investing some of the new funding that we've gotten in this fiscal year is on what we're calling NWIS modernization. NWIS is our National Water Information System, it's the USGS database for flow, groundwater and water-quality, and some biology data. And we just went through a multi-year effort a few years ago to get our continuous time series data set on handled flow and other continuous measurements up to snuff, and now we're turning our attention to upgrading the discrete piece of that. But it really got a lot more beyond what we're doing just with the database piece. It's really the idea here is to support some of the concepts that are coming out of the internet on water, to really rapidly and efficiently deliver our water data on a variety of platforms, particularly mobile platforms. 'Cause this and and age, if you don't get your data out the door as soon as you have it, people aren't interested. But also include delivering models, developing a welding framework where people can come in, and collect, and easily discover our data, and plug it into models. Either our models or their models. And then get the information out to the public, using visualizations and other tools that make it easy to understand and digest. So we're not gonna go into a lot of detail on that, but that gives you an idea of what we're doing with that particular priority. In some respects it's new enterprise IT, and we gotta get it done if we're gonna be able to support all this other work, so that's an important piece. So I kinda covered that right there. Again, the idea of having rapid accessible data really supports our mission related to water hazards and water availability. Again, another piece of this will be developing decision support tools that can aid managers on a variety of settings: drinking water, recreational, long-term sustainability, et cetera. Responses to extreme events and hazards. And again, consolidate our portfolios. One of the first things Don did when he came in was looked at our USGS water missionary website, and he saw a bunch of really good websites that were specific to NAWQA Groundwater Resources program, water use, et cetera, so if you wanted to consolidate data across those disciplines it was not an easy thing to do. So we're in the process of redesigning the web presence to provide integrated information going forward. So, I'll wrap up here with some take home messages. I mean basically, budget restructures happen all the time. We're not anticipating significant impacts on the amount of funding that will be spent on our water-quality and monitoring research assessment as we go forward. But certainly, under the new priorities, as the planning and the reach of those mature, the what, the when and the where, and the type of work we'll be conducting, it's gonna be shaped by these new priorities. And there will be changes compared to what you're used to coming out of the NAWQA program, and some of the other parts of the National Water Quality program. That said, you're gonna hear some really exciting stuff, and we think there's great opportunities for collaboration, and there'll be more details as the planning efforts on these mature. This particular AQUI subcommittee was formed back in the day, as Pat mentioned, for the NAWQA program, and it was a program. And it's been supporting that program ever since, until the more recent consolidation and kinda NAWQA coming in under the National Water Quality Program. Your voices are gonna continue to need to be heard as we take these new efforts forward. And I'm not sure what the future of this particular committee will be. AQUI itself is being reformed by Don and Tim Petty, and once they get up and running and I'm sure they'll take a look at all of our subcommittees and let us know how they want us to proceed with stuff. So we'll keep you posted on that. I guess I'll bookend the comments that Pat made earlier, and NAWQA really has been one of the most successful and significant programs for the USGS. It's been around a long time and brought in a lot of money, but I think really what it did was integrate what our quality of work that we were doing, and really provided some nationally significant success stories in terms of what the current quality of the nation's water resources were, how it's changing over time, and some of the key factors, both natural and human that were affecting the water-quality conditions. So we'll walk away with our heads held high. It was a great effort, we're very proud of it. And again, we'll continue to see more work on it as we go forward. So with that I will stop and take a few questions if there's any, and if not we'll move on to our next speaker. All right. Okay, so I will introduce our next speaker, and that is Chad Wagner. His current role is to run our Groundwater and Spring Flow Information program, but if the restructuring goes forward, Chad will become the program coordinator of the Water Observing Systems program. So that's what he's gonna talk to us about.