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Similarly, the use of nitrogen fertilizers may contribute to the upward trend in nitrite and nitrate levels in the Big Blue River; a major pathway could be base flow to the river. Ground water and surface water interaction is also important in some portions of the Central Oklahoma aquifer study unit; this was known prior to the inception of the pilot project. However, the spatial distribution of this interaction was different from that which was previously believed. Prior to the onset of the pilot project, the USGS team thought that most interaction occurred near the major streams, the Canadian and Cimarron Rivers.

1988). The two sets of study units were then merged and reviewed by all USGS district and regional offices to provide study unit boundaries that accounted for both surface water and ground water boundaries. Some study unit boundaries may be refined once the full-scale program gets under way. Finally, study units were specified for Hawaii and Alaska. The 60 study units encompass about 40 percent of the land area of the conterminous United States and incorporate about 60 to 70 percent of the nation's water use (fresh surface water withdrawals excluding thermal and hydropower uses).

This has limited the committee's ability to evaluate the anticipated results and usefulness of NAWQA. Therefore, the committee's findings and recommendations are based on the review of many draft documents, briefings by USGS personnel, and the committee's own experience and knowledge of surface and ground water quality monitoring and assessments. NEED FOR A NATIONAL ASSESSMENT OF WATER QUALITY The committee is convinced that there is a genuine need for a long-term, large spatial scale national assessment of water quality in the United States.

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A review of the USGS National Water Quality Assessment Pilot Program by Unknow


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