National Aquatic Resources Surveys

Posted on: 7/31/2017 - Updated on: 2/27/2020

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, states, and tribes are conducting a series of surveys of the nation's aquatic resources. Often referred to as probability-based surveys, these studies provide nationally consistent and scientifically-defensible assessments of our nation’s waters and can be used to track changes in condition over time. Each survey uses standardized field and lab methods and is designed to yield unbiased estimates of the condition of the whole water resource being studied. There are four surveys implemented on a rotating basis: National Coastal Condition Assessment, National Lakes Assessment, National Rivers and Streams Assessment, and National Wetland Condition Assessment.

Example in use: The Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership (APNEP) conducted a monitoring effort as part of the National Coastal Condition Assessment in 2015. Field sampling was conducted at 33 sites throughout the estuary to collect various water quality and sediment chemistry indicators (i.e. chlorophyll-a, dissolved oxygen, pH, metals, salinity, etc.). The results will be released in a forthcoming assessment.

Phase of Adaptation: Monitoring, Assessment


Natural resource managers, water managers, State, regional, and local agencies


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Managing Organizations

The Environmental Protection Agency is an independent executive agency of the United States federal government tasked with environmental protection matters. The Environmental Protection Agency has ten Regional offices, each of which is responsible for the execution of the Agency's programs within several states and territories.


Type of Tool
Scale of Tool
Target Climate Changes and Impacts