National Aquatic Resources Surveys

Created: 7/31/2017 - Updated: 2/27/2020


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


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.


Scale of Project
National / Federal
Sector Addressed
Conservation / Restoration
Water Resources
Target Climate Changes and Impacts
Water quality
Water supply
Type of Tool
Habitat/Biome Type
Lakes and Ponds
Rivers and Streams