The U.S. Geological Survey is developing a Next Generation Water Observing System (NGWOS) to reduce the cost and increase the extent of high-fidelity, real-time environmental monitoring, which includes monitoring networks for climate and land-use change, water quality, and quantity. Breakthroughs in technical capabilities now allow environmental monitoring to include monitoring the readiness of an instrument to return representative observations during daily and event-response monitoring activities. In response, the USGS NGWOS initiated the Hydrologic Instrument Research & Development Project to engage in cooperative research and development agreements to advance hydrologic monitoring and forecasting across the Nation. The objective of the project is to evaluate prototypes or off-the-shelf solutions for transition into basic and cutting-edge environmental monitoring. This presentation will illustrate how cutting-edge techniques and methods emerging from cooperative research and development agreements between NGWOS and public/private industry, academia, and government agencies (that is, DOE, DOD, NASA and NOAA) can help improve interactions between ecosystem monitoring and transportation. Refined examples of the novel use of cameras and low-power, long-range wide-area networks (Lora/LoRaWAN) to improve the situational awareness at monitoring locations, alerts on ice dam and breakup monitoring (ICE! Ice Jam Hazard), and cost effectively reduce denial of service zones illustrate the positive, cooperative change the NGWOS promotes.