National Aquatic Resource Surveys (NARS)

The History of NARS

The National Aquatic Resource Surveys (NARS) program is an EPA and State/Tribal effort to survey the condition of the nation’s waters.

Initiated in 2005, these statistically-based surveys have begun to provide EPA, States, Tribes and others partners with information to provide nationally consistent reports on the condition of the nation’s waters, to identify national and regional water quality priorities and to evaluate the effectiveness of the nation’s investment in water quality protection and restoration. These assessments report on core indicators of aquatic life and public health using standardized field and laboratory methods and a national quality control program.

The NARS reports provide unbiased estimates of the condition of the broader population of a water resource type based on a representative sample of individual waters selected using a randomized approach. The first cycle of the surveys will establish a baseline and subsequent surveys will allow the Agency to track changes over time and assess the effectiveness of Agency water quality programs.

Read the first article in our series which features a dairy farmer from EPA Region 10.

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Links to the National Surveys

Aquatic Resource Monitoring, EPA ORD

This Web site provides information on monitoring of aquatic resources in the US, primarily focused on design and analysis of probability based surveys. Links are provided to other aquatic resources monitoring information available on the internet.

EPA's Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program

The Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) was a research program run by EPA’s Office of Research and Development to develop the tools necessary to monitor and assess the status and trends of national ecological resources.


R7 Pre-Training Webinar Recordings

Those attending the R7 Tribal Training Workshop September 10-13 should review these materials prior to the event.

New NARS Communication Tool

CTIC is leading an effort, and collaborating with OWOW and ORD, to produce news articles and videos using data from the National Aquatic Resource Surveys (NARS) to describe water quality issues. The objective of this effort is to personalize the NARS findings by telling a story that includes information on water quality problems identified in the national reports and what individual farmers are doing to tackle those problems at a local scale.