Toward Sustainable Water Information

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Oct 21, 2014 Comments Off on Toward Sustainable Water Information admin

Intensive natural resource development in the NEMW region such as shale gas extraction and agriculture can threaten the Northeast Midwest region’s high-value water resources.   Both the potential economic benefits and water-quality impacts from these activities are high priorities for policy makers. Regional water quality information that is timely, credible, and policy-relevant holds the key to guiding policies that are adequately protective of the region’s water resources, yet not unnecessarily restrictive of industry. Toward Sustainable Water Information (TSWI) is investigating whether the Northeast-Midwest region’s water monitoring capabilities are adequate to supply this critical information,  and if not, what is needed to effectively and efficiently improve them.

The Northeast-Midwest Institute (NEMWI), in a cooperative agreement with USGS, is working with industry, environmental, academic, and agency decision makers and experts through our Blue Ribbon Project Steering Committee and Technical Advisory Committees to investigate and describe the ability of the region’s water monitoring system to support policy decisions.

The project initially will focus on nutrient enrichment in the Lake Erie basin and shale gas extraction in the Susquehanna River basin to understand and illustrate the level of monitoring effort that might be required to answer specific policy questions.  We will relate findings from these case studies to identify the types of data the region as a whole might need, to understand the extent to which available data in the network of Federal, state, and local monitoring programs can be used, and to shine a spotlight on any critical deficiencies in the region’s available water data to support decision making.

In a second phase of the project, we will provide a vision for a region-wide framework for a credible, adaptive, and cost-effective water information system, building on case study examples.  We will identify and begin implementing a plan for bringing this water information system into realization, paving the way for a sustainable water information source that is responsive to decision-makers’ needs as they consider policies regarding urban, agricultural and industrial development while securing the region’s water supply into the future.

Blue Ribbon Steering Committee

Name Organization
Glenn Benoy International Joint Commission
Paul A. Biedrzycki City of Milwaukee Health Department
Suzanne Bricker National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Allegra Cangelosi Northeast-Midwest Institute
Julius Ciaccia Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District
Thomas Davenport Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5
Joseph Depinto Limnotech
Blayne Diacont Range Resources
Timothy Eder Great Lakes Commission
Norman Grannemann United States Geological Survey
Carlton Haywood Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin
Jonathan Higgins The Nature Conservancy
Jennifer Hoffman Chesapeake Energy
Susy King New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission
James Miller Organic Valley
Jeffrey Myers New York Department of Environmental Conservation
Laura Rubin Huron River Watershed Council
Robert Tudor (retired) Delaware River Basin Commission
Mark Walbridge United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service
Susan Weaver Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection


Shale Technical Advisory Committee

Person Organization
Adam Goehner Pembina Institute
Andrew Gavin Susquehanna River Basin Commission
Bert Smith Chesapeake Energy
Daniel Soeder Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory
David Yoxtheimer Penn State University
James Saiers Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
John Wilson US Geological Survey
Pete Murdoch US Geological Survey
Tony Shaw Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection


Nutrient Technical Advisory Committee

Person Organization
Anne Choquette US Geological Survey
Bill Brown Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
Elizabeth Toot-Levy Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District
Mark Tomer US Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service
Paul Stacey Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in New Hampshire
Pete Richards Heidelberg University
Raj Bejankiwarr International Joint Commission


Photo: Tower for drilling horizontally into the Marcellus Shale Formation and farmfield; Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, USA: WikiCommons by Ruhrfisch.

Graphic: United States GeologicalSurvey, real timewater monitoring map downloaded from