National Water Quality Program

National Park Service Water Quality Partnership

Working together to resolve water-quality issues in our national parks

Working together to resolve water-quality issues in our national parks

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Park Service (NPS) work together to support a broad range of policy and management needs related to high-priority water-quality issues in national parks.

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Since 1998, USGS has worked in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) to conduct studies aimed at providing data and information that will assist the NPS in addressing high-priority water-quality issues of concern. New projects are proposed each year by USGS scientists working in collaboration with NPS staff in specific parks. Project selection is highly competitive, with an average of only 8 new projects funded each year out of approximately 75 proposals submitted. 

Below are highlights of recent accomplishments and planned activities:

  • Since 2016, six studies examining the occurrence of contaminants of emerging concern were released. These included studies examining the occurrence of endocrine-disrupting compounds (Congaree, Rocky Mountain, and Yosemite National Parks), two studies examining the occurrence of cyanotoxins related to harmful algal blooms (Isle Royale National Park and Saint Croix National Scenic River), and and a study of perchlorate occurrence in streams and groundwater near Mount Rushmore National Monument. 

  • For FY18 the USGS/National Park Service Water Quality Partnership has solicited Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) as an optional special topic of interest in the annual Request for Project Proposals. As a result, 9 HAB’s related proposals for FY18/19 have been selected, funded and are currently ongoing out of the 20 new projects initiated for this period

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Stakeholder Quotes

Today, collaboration between NPS and USGS involves hundreds of science and resource management projects in the parks. Collectively, this collaboration helps to inform managers and the public about the condition of park resources and the science needed to support informed decision-making. The interagency cooperation and sharing of new and state-of-the-art technologies have enabled evaluation and study of parks and their resources that could never be contemplated when NPS was founded in 1916.

Vince Santucci, NPS, during a recent special issue of the George Wright Forum on USGS science contributions to the NPS

Photo of a USGS hydrologist taking an in-stream measurement in Sequoia National Park

A USGS hydrologist takes an in-stream measurement in Sequoia National Park.

Contacts

Timothy D Oden

Hydrologist
USGS Water Resources Mission Area
Phone: 303-236-1470