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National Environmental Monitoring Initiative (EMI)

The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) seeks to integrate the environmental monitoring and research networks and programs across the United States. Many current programs are supporting only single purpose agency missions or resource issues. By integrating these monitoring and research activities, the nation can begin to assess the status of multiple resources and complex environmental process simultaneously. Integration can add value to existing programs by linking broad-based survey, inventory, and monitoring information, and to research on environmental processes.

The NSTC's Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) established an interagency working group in July, 1995 and charged it to recommend a framework for an integrated monitoring and research network to evaluate the nation's environmental resources (e.g., air, water, soil, plants, animals, and ecosystems). All federal agencies that have major environmental monitoring and A related research networks will be involved in this cooperative venture coordinated through CENR. It also provides direct scientific support for policy recommendations of the recent President's Council on Sustainable Development and Ecosystem Management Initiative reports.

NRCS can become a major contributor through NRI, RCA, SNOTEL, and with the Soil Moisture/Soil Temperature pilot project information. The EMI proposal will produce a sound scientific information base to support national natural resource assessment and decision making and be capable of addressing global scale issues. Such an integrated monitoring system can be used to detect large- scale, long-term environmental changes.

Vice President Al Gore addressed a national workshop in Washington D.C September 25-27, 1996. He asked for a "report card" on the health of the nation's ecosystems by the year 2001. NSTC has determined that a draft report card be produced in about 18 months for the Vice President.