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Pesticides in the Nation’s Streams and Ground Water:
A Decade of Assessments Provide Information for Future Protection

Congressional Briefing
Friday, March 3, 2006
9:30 am – 11:30 am
2318 Rayburn House Office Building

The U.S. Geological Survey’s National Water Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA) will release a report documenting its nationwide assessment of pesticides in streams and ground water from a decade of monitoring and analysis.  The report will be released at this briefing and available for briefing attendees.

The USGS assessment provides the most comprehensive national-scale analysis to date of pesticide occurrence, concentrations, and potential for aquatic life, and wildlife. Among the major findings are that pesticides are frequently present in streams and ground water, were seldom found at concentrations likely to affect humans, but were found in many streams at concentrations that may have effects on aquatic life or fish-eating wildlife.

The assessment also begins to examine two important topics with implications for the future—prediction of pesticides in unmonitored areas and long-term trends.  

USGS findings can be used to help guide and inform state and national regulations and policies for water-quality protection, such as those currently being deliberated in the 2007 Farm Bill. For example, the science-based insights can help decision makers better anticipate the types of pesticides most likely to affect water quality in urban and agricultural areas, and improve investments in water-quality monitoring and management across the Nation’s diverse environmental and pesticide use patterns.

Briefing Speakers:

  • Robert Hirsch, USGS Associate Director for Water, will describe the elements of the NAWQA design and significance of NAWQA’s studies, providing a context for the pesticide findings.
  • Bob Gilliom, NAWQA Pesticide Synthesis Team Leader, will present key findings and implications.

  • Jim Jones, Director, Office of Pesticides of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), will present implications of the findings and collaborative efforts by EPA and USGS to enhance the science base for EPA policy decisions.

The briefing is cosponsored by the Water Environment Federation and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey. 

The briefing is free and open to the public. No registration is required.

For more information contact:  Carol Werner, EESI Executive Director at or Patricia Sinicropi, WEF Legislative Counsel at