RESTON, Va. — USGS National Water-Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA) representative Lori Sprague will give a congressional briefing on trends in nutrients and pesticides in the nation’s streams and rivers with Water Environment Federation (WEF) Government Affairs Committee Chair Alan Vicory acting as moderator on April 11, according to a press release.

The briefing will primarily focus on the Mississippi River Basin, which covers about 40 percent of the nation and represents a wide range of important climatic, agricultural and urban influences that are present throughout the country, noted the release.

As Congress debates federal activities and funding for water-quality protection and restoration efforts, it is critical to know how conditions are actually changing over time and to understand why changes have occurred, reported the release.

From NAWQA monitoring, continued the release, we now know that nitrate loadings from the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico increased 14 percent from 1980 to 2010 despite extensive efforts to improve and expand the use of urban and agricultural management practices during the period.

According to the release, the briefing will address the question of whether governmental actions have been effective or if other influences are causing the changes, and will also include findings from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) efforts to assess the health of the Nation’s estuaries and will explain how information and findings from NAWQA’s monitoring and assessments contribute to their assessments and the protection of our estuaries.

Read the full release here.