||Environmental Research Lab., Narragansett, RI. ;Versar, Inc., Columbia, MD. ;Science Applications International Corp., McLean, VA.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is initiating an Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) to monitor the status and trends of the Nation's near-coastal waters, forests, freshwater wetlands, surface waters, agroecosystems, deserts, and rangelands. The program is also intended to evaluate the effectiveness of EPA policies in protecting the ecological resources of these systems. The monitoring data collected for all ecosystems will be integrated for national status and trends assessments. The near-coastal component of EMAP consists of four ecosystem categories: estuaries, wetlands, coastal waters, and the Great Lakes. The near-coastal ecosystems have been regionalized and classified, an integrated sampling strategy has been designed, and quality-control procedures and data-base management designs will be implemented.