Throughout its history, the United States has made major investments in assessing natural resources, such as soils, timber, oil and gas, and water. These investments allow policy makers, the private sector and the American public to make informed decisions about cultivating, harvesting or conserving these resources to maximize their value for public welfare, environmental conservation and the economy. As policy issues evolve, new priorities and challenges arise for natural resource assessment, and new approaches to monitoring are needed. For example, new technologies for oil and gas development or alternative energy sources may present new risks for water resources both above and below ground. There is a need to evaluate whether today’s water monitoring programs are generating the information needed to answer questions surrounding these new policy priorities.
The Northeast-Midwest Institute (NEMWI), in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program, initiated this project to explore the types and amounts of water data needed to address water-quality related policy questions of critical concern to today’s policy makers and whether those data are currently available. The collaborating entities identified two urgent water policy questions and conducted case studies in the Northeast-Midwest region to determine the water data needed, water data available, and the best ways to fill the data gaps relative to those questions. This report details the output from one case study and focuses on the Susquehanna River Basin, a data-rich area expected to be a best-case scenario in terms of water data availability.
|Title||Water data to answer urgent water policy questions: Monitoring design, available data, and filling data gaps for determining whether shale gas development activities contaminate surface water or groundwater in the Susquehanna River Basin|
|Authors||Elin A. Betanzo, Erik R. Hagen, John T. Wilson, Kenneth H. Reckhow, Laura Hayes, Denise M. Argue, Allegra A. Cangelosi|
|Publication Subtype||Other Report|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||National Water Quality Assessment Program|