For the more information about water resources in the National Park Service, please visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/water/.


Baseline Water Quality Data Inventory & Analysis Reports

A cooperative endeavor initiated in 1993 by the NPS Water Resources Division (WRD) and the Servicewide Inventory and Monitoring Program, the NPS Baseline Water Quality Data Inventory and Analysis Project is an effort designed to characterize baseline water quality at all units of the National Park System containing significant natural resources. The goal of this effort is to provide descriptive water quality information to every national park unit in a format usable for park planning and management. Specific objectives of the project are to: (1) retrieve water quality and related data from the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) STORET and other database systems; (2) develop a complete inventory of all retrieved data; (3) produce descriptive statistics and appropriate box and whiskers and time series plots of the water quality data to characterize annual, seasonal, and period of record central tendencies and trends; (4) compare park water quality data with relevant EPA national water quality criteria on a station by station basis; and (5) reformat the water quality and other related data for use with the park-based Water Quality Data Management System (currently under development in the WRD) and other appropriate analytical tools. Every park unit participating in this project will receive a detailed analog report and several hydrographic digital databases, including: (1) all water quality parameter data; (2) 1:100,000 scale hydrography; (3) surface-water quality monitoring station locations; (4) stream gage locations; (5) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit locations; and (6) drinking water intake locations. Additionally, each park will receive all the tables, graphics, data, and text contained in the report in digital format on disk.

Ensuring the integrity of park water quality, due to its importance in sustaining natural, aquatic park ecosystems and supporting human consumptive and recreational use is a fundamental component of the NPS's mission. The purpose of this project is to inventory existing park water quality data; establish baseline water quality at each park; identify potential water quality problems; and establish a park water quality database. The results of this effort are intended to enable park resource managers and the WRD to compare and contrast water quality data collected as part of ongoing inventory and monitoring programs with historical water quality trends and to design better park-based water quality inventory and monitoring programs in the future. One component of this project is to demonstrate how the digital databases and analog report can be utilized to determine where additional baseline water quality monitoring is needed in a park due to spatial, temporal, parametric, or other limitations of the existing data. The park water quality databases produced by this effort will also lay the groundwork for allowing Regions and the WRD to generate regional and national assessments of the status of park water quality.

Completing the scope of work for all national park units with significant natural resources (270 parks) should be done by 2007. Parks will be completed in the priority order established by both the regional Water Resources Program Managers and Inventory and Monitoring Coordinators, as well as parks. As of January 2006, inventories were completed for 235 parks. The completed reports are available in Adobe format. You will need the free Adobe Acrobat reader to download these reports.


If you have any questions about these reports please contact the Water Resources Division.

Last Updated: July 02, 2012