Because nutrients can cause water-quaiity degradation, a major focus of NAWQA is to investigate effects of nutrients on surface- and ground-water quality. This report summarizes surface-water quality study design and land uses in the NAWQA Albemarle-Pamlico Drainage Basin study unit, one of 60 study units nationwide, and shows how nutrient concentrations are related to land uses at selected basins in the study unit. The study area encompasses about 28,000 square miles (mi2) in central and eastern North Carolina and southern Virginia. The major river basins in the Albemarle-Pamlico Drainage Basin are the Chowan, Roanoke, Tar, and Neuse. The barrier islands, estuaries, and the AlbemarIe, Pamlico, and associated sounds are not included in the study-unit area. The Albemarle-Pamlico Drainage Basin covers four physiographic provinces:Valley and Ridge, Blue Ridge, Piedmont, and Coastal Plain. About 50 percent of the land in the study areais forested, 30 percent is cropland, 15 percent is wetland, and 5 percent is developed. The population--of the study unit is about 3 million people.