The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed a human well-being index (HWBI) that assesses the over-all well-being of its population at the county level. The HWBI contains eight domains representing social, economic and environmental well-being. These domains include 25 indicators comprised of 80 metrics and 22 social, economic and environmental services. The application of the HWBI has been made for the nation as a whole at the county level and two alternative applications have been made to represent key populations within the overall US population—Native Americans and children. A number of advances have been made to estimate the values of metrics for counties where no data is available and one such estimator—MERLIN—is discussed. Finally, efforts to make the index into an interactive web site are described.
Part of the book: Quality of Life and Quality of Working Life
The 1972 Clean Water Act (CWA) established goals and regulations regarding water quality in the U.S. water resources, including coastal waters. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was charged with implementing the CWA’s goals and with helping states, and tribes meet their mandate to periodically monitor and assess water quality in their jurisdictions. In response, the EPA initiated the Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) to develop and test effective methods of assessing water quality in lakes, rivers and streams, and estuaries at state and national scales. EMAP-Estuaries commenced in 1990, devising sampling designs and protocols for estuaries, testing potential indicators, establishing assessment, and reporting methods. Estuarine research and development efforts continued in a series of subsequent programs, each adapting and adopting the best practices of earlier programs, each becoming more national in scale, and each integrating state and tribal participation to a greater degree. Recent surveys have included an assessment of coastal Great Lakes waters. This chapter recounts the history of assessments in coastal waters, emphasizing the current approach while highlighting examples of lessons learned over the 30-year development period leading to the National Coastal Condition Assessment.
Part of the book: Water Quality