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EPA Launches New National Assessment of Wetlands

The Times-Standard, June 3, 2011

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a national effort to assess the health of the nation’s wetlands.

The agency made the announcement from Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Elk Grove, where scientists simultaneously sampled nearby wetlands as part of the National Wetlands Condition Assessment (NWCA).

The NWCA is a collaboration between EPA and its state, tribal and federal partners representing the first-ever national field survey on the health of the nation’s wetlands.

More than 1,000 sites across the country — including 43 in California — are being surveyed to assess indicators of wetland health, including water quality and flow, vegetation and soils. NCWA sampling locations during the next two months will include wetlands in several California counties, including Humboldt and Mendocino.

”Used along with similar surveys on the nation’s coastal waters, wadeable streams, rivers and lakes, the NWCA results will help us to better protect, maintain, and restore our nation’s water quality and vanishing aquatic habitat,” the press release said.

The survey was designed by EPA’s Office of Research and Development and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It will use a probability-based model to estimate the health of aquatic resources consistently nationwide to ensure that the results can be compared across the country.

For more information, visit www.epa.gov.