May 28, 2001
Help Restore Funding to Critical USGS Water Programs:

Source: Clean Water Network's CleanWaterInfo

In the President's budget, the U.S. Geological Survey is taking a huge hit in the area of water research. CWN members know that USGS data is often the only long-term monitoring data available in watersheds, and that it is unbiased data that all members of the water community can agree upon. Some
critical USGS water programs will be completely de-funded (the Toxics Hydrology program and Water Resources Research Act program), while other critical programs such as the National Water Quality
Assessment program will take huge cuts. We are sending this letter to the House and Senate Interior appropriations subcommittees. It will include an attachment with ways CWN members have used this data-- thanks to those of you who supplied this to the Network!

Please sign-on to the letter concerning major cuts to USGS water programs by COB Friday, June 1. All sign-ons should be sent to [email protected]. Please send us your name, organization, and state.

May 28, 2001
June 4, 2001

The Honorable Robert C. Byrd, Chair
The Honorable Conrad Burns, Ranking Member
Senate Subcommittee on Interior Appropriations
Senate Appropriations Committee
United States. Senate
Washington, DC 20510-6033

The Honorable Joe Skeen, Chair
The Honorable Norman Dicks, Ranking Member
House Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies
House Committee on Appropriations
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC  20515-6023

Dear Chairmen and Ranking Members,

The XX undersigned members of the Clean Water Network urge the [Senate Subcommittee on Interior Appropriations] and [the House Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies] to fully fund the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Water Resources Investigations for FY 2002 at their current levels. Data generated by USGS water programs is invaluable in our understanding of waters nationwide, and is considered scientifically credible by all sectors of the water community.  Decreased funding of
these well-respected water quality investigations would represent a significant step backwards in our understanding of the nation’s water pollution problems and solutions.

The President’s budget request includes dramatic budget cuts in the areas of water resource assessments and research, water data collection, and the Water Resources Research Act program.  Members of the Clean Water Network are especially concerned about the proposed 32% decrease in the National Water
Quality Assessment program (NAWQA) budget, and the elimination of the Toxic Substances Hydrology program.

These programs are critical to the protection and restoration of waters across the country.  Attached is a list of some of the ways that members of the Clean Water Network, as well as state agencies, have used USGS data to find emerging pollutants, to track long-term water quality trends, and to
meet obligations under the Clean Water Act. 

NAWQA is one of the only federal programs charged with systematically monitoring the status of the nation’s water quality, evaluating trends, and assessing the sustainability of this critical resource. This information, collected in major river basins and aquifers across the country, provides an unbiased scientific basis for decision makers, managers, and planners at all levels of government to address the multitude of water-resource issues related to agricultural and urban watersheds, human health, drinking-water and source-water protection, and many other issues.  Policy makers at the national level need big picture water quality information that is comparable across the country to make sound decisions.  NAWQA provides scientific data needed by federal agencies, states, and local governments to implement the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.  A reduction in funding now would halt the collection of new data and cut short plans to conduct multi-disciplinary national analyses addressing topics of national priority.  Cuts in funding would also result in a reduction in the number of study areas, and discontinuities in data, limiting NAWQA’s geographic coverage and the program’s ability to assess impacts on water quality over time.  Many state agencies rely heavily upon data provided by USGS in their daily water quality management activities.

The Toxic Substances Hydrology program provides research on one of the nation’s most disturbing clean water problems—toxic pollution.  Toxic pollution and its sources and movement through watersheds is the focus of this USGS program.  As the only federal program responsible for assessing emerging pollution trends, this program has the ability to provide water resource managers and policy-makers the opportunity to predict future water quality problems.  The Toxics Program is coordinated with the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and other U.S. Department of the Interior agencies to ensure that current and future federal research priorities are being addressed.  The program has also been integral in providing research on the movement of nutrients throughout the Mississippi River Basin, from which excessive nutrients have caused the “Dead Zone” in the Gulf of Mexico, a swath of ocean 20,000 km2 in area that is virtually void of aquatic life due to nutrient pollution. 

We call on Congress to fund USGS Water Resources Investigations at no less than the FY 2001 enacted level.  These programs are essential to our understanding and management of present day water pollution problems, and are crucial to our nation’s ability to foresee and address future water pollution


Name, organization, state

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Tennessee Clean Water Network
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