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River Science at the U.S. Geological Survey RIVER SCIENCE at the U.S. Geological Survey Committee on River Science at the U.S. Geological Survey Water Science and Technology Board Division on Earth and Life Studies NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu
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River Science at the U.S. Geological Survey THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. Support for this project was provided by the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Geological Survey under Cooperative Agreement No. 04HQAG0132. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the U.S. government. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-10357-2 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-10357-6 River Science at the U.S. Geological Survey is available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Cover design by Michael Dudzik. Photo courtesy of NASA. Copyright 2007 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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River Science at the U.S. Geological Survey THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
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River Science at the U.S. Geological Survey COMMITTEE ON RIVER SCIENCE AT THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY DONALD I. SIEGEL, Chair, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York A. ALLEN BRADLEY, JR., University of Iowa, Iowa City MARTHA H. CONKLIN, University of California, Merced CLIFFORD S. CRAWFORD, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque GERALD E. GALLOWAY, University of Maryland, College Park MARCELO H. GARCIA, University of Illinois,Urbana-Champaign RICHARD E. HOWITT, University of California, Davis MARGARET A. PALMER, University of Maryland, College Park JOHN PITLICK, University of Colorado, Boulder N. LEROY POFF, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins STUART S. SCHWARTZ, University of Maryland, Baltimore County DAVID G. TARBOTON, Utah State University, Logan WILLIAM W. WOESSNER, University of Montana, Missoula Staff WILLIAM S. LOGAN, Project Director ANITA A. HALL, Project Assistant JULIE A. VANO, Fellow
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River Science at the U.S. Geological Survey WATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD R. RHODES TRUSSELL, Chair, Trussell Technologies Inc., Pasadena, California MARY JO BAEDECKER, U.S. Geological Survey (Emeritus), Reston, Virginia JOAN G. EHRENFELD, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey DARA ENTEKHABI, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts GERALD E. GALLOWAY, University of Maryland, College Park SIMON GONZALEZ, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Ciudad Universitaria, Mexico CHARLES N. HAAS, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania THEODORE L. HULLAR, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York KIMBERLY L. JONES, Howard University, Washington, D.C. KAI N. LEE, Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts JAMES K. MITCHELL, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg ROBERT PERCIASEPE, National Audubon Society, New York, New York LEONARD SHABMAN, Resources for the Future, Washington, D.C. HAME M. WATT, Independent Consultant, Washington, D.C. CLAIRE WELTY, University of Maryland, Baltimore County JAMES L. WESCOAT JR., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign GARRET P. WESTERHOFF, Malcolm Pirnie Inc., White Plains, New York Staff STEPHEN D. PARKER, Director LAUREN E. ALEXANDER, Senior Staff Officer LAURA J. EHLERS, Senior Staff Officer JEFFREY W. JACOBS, Senior Staff Officer WILLIAM S. LOGAN, Senior Staff Officer STEPHANIE E. JOHNSON, Senior Staff Officer M. JEANNE AQUILINO, Financial and Administrative Associate ELLEN A. DE GUZMAN, Research Associate ANITA A. HALL, Senior Program Associate DOROTHY K. WEIR, Research Associate MICHAEL J. STOEVER, Project Assistant JULIE A. VANO, Fellow
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River Science at the U.S. Geological Survey Preface This report is one of a series of studies that the Water Science and Technology Board’s (WSTB) Committee on U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Water Resources Research has organized. Earlier studies have concerned the National Streamflow Information Program, the National Water-Use Information Program, the National Water-Quality Assessment Program, and the National Research Program, as well as areas of research such as hydrologic hazards science and watershed research. River Science is more like the latter two studies, since there is no formal river science program at the USGS. Rather, there is a wide variety of work along rivers ranging from monitoring streamflow and water-quality parameters to integrated, watershed-based research and national synthesis. Hence, in this report where we refer to a potential future set of activities we use the less formal term “initiative” rather than “program.” As part of various strategic changes at the USGS in 2001, which included instituting matrix management to better enable integrated science, eight bureauwide “Future Science Directions” were identified. These topical areas were coastal environments; earthquake hazards; ecosystem health, sustainability, and land surface change; energy; environmental information science; groundwater resources; invasive species; and rivers. As part of this process, the Water Resources Discipline (WRD) was asked to create a white paper on river science, which was completed in 2004 and called “A River Science Strategy for the U.S. Geological Survey: Meeting the Needs of the Nation.” The WRD sought advice from the WSTB, and in response a committee was organized to carry out tasks shown in the Summary and Chapter 1. In addition to that document, the committee considered documents in the published
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River Science at the U.S. Geological Survey literature and presentations from participants at the five meetings held by the committee from June 2004 to October 2005. Committee members drafted individual contributions and deliberated as a group to achieve consensus on the content of this report. The committee is particularly grateful for the presentations, discussions, and written submissions of the following individuals: Charlie Alpers, USGS; Steve Ashby, USACE; Larry Banks, USACE; Doug Beard, National Biological Information Infrastructure; Ken Belitz, USGS; Steve Blanchard, USGS; Nate Booth, USGS; Zach Bowen, USGS; Todd Bridges, USACE; Herb Buxton, USGS; Al Cofrancesco, USACE; Richard Coupe, USGS; Robert Crear, USACE; Bob Davidson, USACE; Dennis Demcheck, USGS; Mark Demulder, USGS; Mike Dettinger, USGS; Randall Dinehart, USGS; Paul Dresler, USGS; Earl Edris, USACE; Stephen Ellis, USACE; Andrew Fahlund, American Rivers; Craig Fischenich, USACE; Stephen Gambrell, USACE; Martha Garcia, USGS; Susan Haseltine, USGS; Bob Hirsch, USGS; Susan Holdsworth, EPA; Roger Hothem, USGS; James Houston, USACE; Brian Ickes, USGS; Rick Jenkins, USACE; Barry Johnson, USGS; Jeff Jorgeson, USACE; Wim Kimmerer, San Francisco State University; Barb Kleiss, USACE; Bill Knapp, FWS; Matt Kondolf, University of California-Berkeley; Charles Kratzer, USGS; Nick Lancaster, USGS; Matt Larsen, USGS; Mike Mac, USGS; Gail Mallard, USGS; Russ Mason, International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies; Johnnie Moore, Calfed; Jeff Mount, University of California-Davis; Ron Nassar, FWS; John Nestler, USACE; Mike Norris, USGS; Freddy Pinkard, USACE; Mike Reddy, USGS; Brian Richter, The Nature Conservancy; Jack Smith, USACE; Jerry Stewart, USACE; Richard Stockstill, USACE; Robert Tudor, Delaware River Basin Commission; David Vigh, USACE; Jack Waide, USGS; Steve Wilhelms, USACE; and Patrick Wright, California Bay-Delta Authority. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the NRC in making its published report as sound as possible and that will ensure the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: David Allen, University of Michigan; Victor Baker, University of Arizona; James Brunt, Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network Office; William L. Graf, University of South Carolina; Richard Hooper, Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science; Andrew Miller, University of Maryland, Baltimore; Leonard A. Shabman, Resources for the Future Inc., and Mary Stoertz, Ohio University. Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommen-
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River Science at the U.S. Geological Survey dations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by David Maidment, University of Texas-Austin. Appointed by the National Research Council, Dr. Maidment was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. We recognize that our words will not be the last words on this initiative at the USGS. Indeed, we hope that some of the ideas generated in this report will stimulate further discussions, which we hope will take place at the USGS, at other federal agencies, in academia, at nongovernmental organizations, in river basin associations, and with congressional staff, state and federal agencies, and other producers and users of streamflow data and information. We trust that these discussions will lead to new and better ways to integrate river science into the built and natural worlds. Donald I. Siegel, Chair Committee on River Science at the U.S. Geological Survey
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River Science at the U.S. Geological Survey Contents SUMMARY 1 1 A RATIONALE FOR RIVER SCIENCE 15 National Interest in River Systems, 16 What is River Science? 18 The USGS and River Science, 22 Addressing the Statement of Task, 22 Report Organization, 24 2 MAJOR RIVER SCIENCE DRIVERS AND CHALLENGES 25 Ecological Restoration and Dam Removal, 26 Relicensing of Hydropower Facilities, 30 Invasive Species, 30 Water Allocation and Reallocation, 31 Climatic Variability, 33 Urbanization and Other Land-Use Changes, 36 Water Quality, 36 Valuing River Ecosystem Services, 37 Characteristics of River Science, 38 Conclusion and Recommendation, 40 3 OVERVIEW OF FEDERAL, STATE, NONGOVERNMENTAL, AND USGS ACTIVITIES IN RIVER SCIENCE 41 Federal Agency Activities in River Science, 42 State Agencies and Tribal Governments, 49
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River Science at the U.S. Geological Survey Nongovernmental Entities, 51 USGS Programs, 53 USGS Role in River Science, 66 Conclusion and Recommendation, 68 4 PRIORITY AREAS FOR USGS RIVER SCIENCE 70 Crosscutting Science Priority Areas, 72 Topical Science Priority Areas, 81 Conclusions, 99 5 MONITORING AND DATA MANAGEMENT FOR USGS RIVER SCIENCE 101 Integrated Data Collection and River Monitoring, 103 Integrated Data Archiving, Dissemination, and Management, 116 Conclusions, 123 6 COORDINATING RIVER SCIENCE ACTIVITIES AT THE USGS 125 7 RECOMMENDATIONS 131 National River-Related Needs, Challenges, and Drivers, 131 River Science Defined, 131 What the USGS Brings to River Science, 132 Science Priority Areas for USGS River Science, 133 Integrated Data Collection and River Monitoring, 137 Data Archiving, Dissemination, and Management, 139 Organizing and Managing River Science at the USGS, 140 REFERENCES 142 APPENDIXES A Valuing River Ecosystem Services 151 B Key River Science Questions and the Data Required to Answer Them 157 C Biographical Sketches for Committee on River Science at the U.S. Geological Survey 189