Fresh Water Quality Monitoring
The GULN WQMP will adapt the basic program of proven national and state standards of the US Geological Survey (USGS) National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Clean Rivers Program (CRP). Implementation of the GULN WQMP will rely upon, and fully articulate with, monitoring efforts already in place in Texas , and will, wherever possible, articulate with efforts being performed by other appropriate states and agencies. This strategy will both ensure data are consistent and comparable among our parks and with those obtained by other entities monitoring like resources in the region, and potentially provide significant savings through cost-sharing and leveraging with these other entities.
The five inland GULN parks being addressed in the current WQMP constitute a diverse array of monitoring needs and objectives. Park waters are not equally important across all parks, and each park has specific concerns about threats, associated biota, and relative resource value of their waters. For purposes of developing the GULN WQMP, park waters were classified into three categories, which were then used to determine the primary distribution of sampling effort across the 5 inland parks. These categories are as follows:
Category One � Water resources are central to park establishment or mission; High amount of recreational use activities; Contains Federally or State Listed Threatened, Endangered or Rare aquatic or dependent species; Known exceedences of key water quality standards or 303d listed waters; High probability of water resource damage with little or no information of fundamental elements of hydrogeology or water quality. Parks in this category: BITH and NATR.
Category Two � Water resources, although important with respect to general interpretation or aesthetics, not central to park establishment or mission, with limited or no contact recreational use; Contains no Federally or State Listed Threatened, Endangered or Rare aquatic or dependent species.
Park in this category: SAAN.
Category Three � Water resources not central or perhaps even mentioned in park establishment or mission; No contact recreational use; Contains no federally or State Listed Threatened, Endangered or Rare aquatic or dependent species. In general, water resources are ancillary in nature and management.
Parks in this category: PAAL and VICK.
Coastal and Estuarine Water Quality Monitoring
Coastal, near-shore marine, and estuarine waters are important monitoring foci on three GULN parks; PAIS, GUIS, and JELA. Key components of network monitoring for this vital sign will include planned adoption of the SECN estuarine monitoring protocol, and development of limited fixed-station continuous monitoring at GUIS and PAIS, and possibly JELA. Development of these approaches is expected to occur in FY2007. Collaborators will include USGS staff, the EPA, SECN, and state agencies in LA, FL, MS, and TX.
The SECN estuarine monitoring protocol is an adaptation of the protocol used by EPA for the Coastal Condition Assessment (CCA). The sampling methodologies and general sampling design are those developed by EPA for conditional monitoring of coastal and estuarine waters of the USA . The Southeast Coast Network (SECN) protocol and EPA-CCA utilize a version of GRTS (General Random Tessellation Stratified) sampling for probabilistically allocating sampling effort within the desired sample space. GULN will directly adopt both the standardized sampling methods and this general design, and apply this model for distributing sampling sites within its parks. The adopted SECN / EPA-CCA model includes a proposed revisit design for sampling points within the sample frame. The GULN protocol will adopt and follow this schedule.
GULN anticipates augmenting the adopted EMAP protocol with several fixed-station continuous monitoring instruments. Continuous monitoring sondes provide detailed time-related conditional sampling to facilitate �real-time� assessment of water parameters at presumed critical system condition and integrator locations. Protocols for this type of continuous monitoring will be adopted from NOAA's National Estuarine Research Reserves, and the SECN. The sampling locations will be �judgmentally� selected in consultation with the parks and with NPS experts from the Water Resources Division.