GLEC received two major task order awards from the USEPA Office of Water to conduct field sampling and coordinate training and logistics for the 2020 National Coastal Condition Assessment (NCCA). The NCCA is one of four surveys under EPA’s National Aquatic Resource Surveys (NARS) program. The ongoing NARS program was instituted in 2007 and is designed to assess the ecological health and condition of U.S. coastal waters, lakes, wetlands, and rivers and streams. GLEC will lead a team including four other research organizations to conduct some 680 visits to sites designated for contractor support in 11 states bordering Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic, and Pacific coastal waters. NCCA field sampling data and indicators include water chemistry, benthic macroinvertebrates, sediment composition and toxicity, fish tissue, presence of pathogens, and characterization of physical habitat. The 2020 NCCA GLEC team includes EnviroScience, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, University of Houston, and Amnis Opes Institute. A similar number of site visits will be conducted by state and federal agency field crews in other coastal states to complete the 2020 field sampling season.
For the NCCA training and logistics task order, GLEC will provide training of trainers as well as contractor and state field crews, and conduct quality audits of active field crews. Logistics support will include assembling and distributing field kits; tracking of survey and field crew progress; technical support to field crews; scheduling and project tracking of laboratory analyses and field data; and publication of survey operations manuals and quality plans.
GLEC led both the field sampling and training and logistics tasks for the previous NCCA field surveys in 2010 and 2015. During the years between NARS field survey years, EPA compiles and analyzes data and reports on survey findings through official publications. The 2010 NCCA reports and findings are now available through the EPA NARS website. The next NCCA field survey is scheduled for 2025
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GLEC operates one of only a few U.S. laboratories accredited for whole sediment toxicity testing. GLEC also maintains NELAP accreditation for chlorophyll and nutrient chemistry testing.