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CALIFORNIA’S BIOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT PROGRAM. April 5, 2005 Jim Harrington WPCL Bioassessment Laboratory. Advantages of Bioassessment. Integrates the effects of water quality over time. Sensitive to multiple aspects of water and habitat quality. Provides the public with a more familiar

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CALIFORNIA’S BIOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT PROGRAM

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CALIFORNIA’S BIOLOGICAL

ASSESSMENT PROGRAM

April 5, 2005

Jim Harrington

WPCL Bioassessment Laboratory


Advantages of Bioassessment

Integrates the effects of water quality over time

Sensitive to multiple aspects of water and

habitat quality

Provides the public with a more familiar

expressions of ecological health


Advantages of Bioassessment

Adds a more direct assessment of ecological health since it measures the biological communities that live in aquatic systems

Better defines the effects of point source discharges and provides more relevant measures to evaluate discharges of non-chemical substances (e.g. sediment, flow augmentation and habitat alteration)


Statutory Authority

  • Clean Water Act Section 101(a) Purpose:

    • “To restore and maintain the chemical,physical and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters”


Water Quality Standards and Criteria

(CWA §303c)

Point Source Discharge Permitting

(CWA §402)

Wet Weather Discharge (CSOs, Stormwater)

Aquatic Life Use Assessments

(CWA §305b)

Comprehensive Watershed Assessments

Listing of Impaired Waters

(CWA §303d)

Nonpoint Source Assessment

(CWA §319)

Hazardous Waste Site Assessments

(CWA §104e)

Bioassessment Data

Evaluation and Permitting of Habitat Modifications

(CWA §404)

Marine Point Source Discharge Permitting

(CWA §403c)

Sewage Treatment Plant Discharges in Marine Waters

(CWA §301h)

Marine Protection and Sanctuaries Act– Ocean Dumping (MPRSA)

Comprehensive Risk Assessment

Use of Bioassessment in Water Quality

Monitoring


Stressor

Identification

Identifying Unknown causes of biological impairment


How Do We Do Bioassessments


Florida’s

Bioassessment

Program

Florida Department of Environmental Protection


Bioassessment Program Steps

1. Classify environments (e.g., regionalization)

2. Standardize sampling methods

3. Develop assessment approach (IBI)

4. Perform biological surveys

5. Select metrics (positive biological signals)

6. Incorporate Quality Assurance activities

7. Incorporate training and testing (certification)

8. Integrate into programs

9. Report results (Ecosummaries)

10. Revise biocriteria


Streams and Wadeable Rivers

May be next

May be next

=developing basic bioassessment program

=developing quantitative biocriteria

=basic bioassessment program in place

=quantitative biocriteria adopted in or implemented

through water quality standards


How Do We Do Bioassessments

In California


Benthic Macroinvertebrates

Ubiquitous

Relatively stationary

Their large species diversity provides

a spectrum of responses to environmental stresses


Sensitive Organisms in Streams

Dragonflies and Damselflies

Mayflies

Stoneflies

Caddisflies

Expected Response to Stress: abundance & proportion


Tolerant Organisms in Streams

Scuds

Snails

Leeches

Midges

Expected Response to Stress: abundance & proportion


Rapid Biological Assessment

California Stream Bioassessment Procedure (CSBP)

for High and Low Gradient Streams

Riffle Habitat for

High Gradient Streams

Multi-habitat for Low

Gradient Streams

Other Protocols for

Historic Projects

Cost effective

Benthic

Macroinvertebraes


Rapid Biological Assessment

U.S. EPA RBP

Quantify:

Canopy Cover

Stream Size

Substrate

Flow

Rapid Physical/Habitat


>2500 DFG sites

Many More Using

CSBP


Application of a benthic invertebrate IBI to regional 305(b) reporting in southern California

Peter R. Ode, Andrew C. Rehn and Jason T. May

Aquatic Bioassessment Laboratory

Water Pollution Control Laboratory

California Department of Fish and Game

California State University, Chico


Existing Data:

  • EPA’s EMAP (2000-2002; multiple methods):

    CSBP- targeted riffle

    EMAP- multihabitat

    USFS/Hawkins- targeted riffle

  • USFS (2000, 2001, Hawkins method)

  • CSBP (2000-2002, multiple programs)

    Regions 3, 4, 7, 8, 9


Development set (75% of sites) to create IBI

Validation set (25% of sites) totest IBI

66 sites

140 sites

47 sites

22 sites


Index Development Approach(SoCal IBI)

62 Candidate Metrics

Range Test

(range at least 0 – 2)

Signal:Noise Test

(S:N variance ratio > 3)

Redundancy Test

(Pearson Coefficient

< 0.75)

10 Metrics Eliminated

13 Metrics Eliminated

22 Metrics Eliminated

Correction for

Natural Variability

Responsiveness

Test

7 Final

Metrics

0 Metrics Corrected

10 Metrics Eliminated


SoCal IBI Scores


Very Good


Good


Fair to Poor


Very Poor


Definitions of Reference Condition

  • Minimally Disturbed Condition - condition of streams in the absence of significant human disturbance (e.g., “natural,” “pristine” or “undisturbed”)

  • Least Disturbed Condition– found in conjunction with the best available physical, chemical and biological habitat conditions given today’s state of the landscape – the “best of what’s left”

  • Best Attainable Condition– equivalent to the ecological condition of (hypothetical) least disturbed sites where the best possible management practices are in use


Reference Sites

Sierra Foothill Ecoregion


236 Watershed Planning Areas

  • BASIC APPROACH

  • Use GIS landuse data to screen for potential target areas

  • Use field reconnaissance to identify good sites within target areas


National Landcover Database (NLCD)

  • Identifies different types of landuse at a resolution of 30 meter pixels

  • Based on Landsat 1992 imagery

  • USGS and EPA joint developed


Rapid Reconnaissance:

Flow Conditions

Habitat Conditions

Local Landscape Assessment

Ownership

Access Issues

154 sites reviewed


Final Reference Sites

1st Order Streams - 7

2nd Order Streams - 8

3rd Order Streams - 11

4th Order Streams - 4


California Regional Water

Quality Control Boards

1

5a

5b

2

5c

3

6

How Do We Use

Bioassessment Data

4

7

8

9


Biological Integrity

“As Naturally Occurs”

Curve Colors

Supports CWA Interim Goal*

Historic

Pre-Colombian

Minimally Disturbed

Nonattainment of CWA Interim Goal

Least Disturbed/Best Attainable

BIOLOGICAL CONDITION

---------------------CWA Interim Goal Threshold -------------------------------------

Mining/

Natural Pristine

Industrial

Urban

Prairie

Grazed

Agricultural

Forested

STRESSOR GRADIENT

(Dominant Land Use)

*Protection & Propagation of Fish, Shellfish and Wildlife


Hypothetical Subcategorized Biologically-Based

Aquatic Life Uses

Designated Uses

IBI = 60

Cold water salmon fishery/natural spawning

IBI = 50

Cold water salmon nursery/rookery

IBI = 40

Biological Condition

Cold water salmon passage

IBI = 30

Seasonal cold water salmon passage

IBI = 20

Habitat restoration

IBI = 10

Limited aquatic life habitat


Designated Aquatic Life Uses: Ohio Example

1

2

Exceptional Warmwater Habitat: an unusual, balanced integrated community of organisms having a species composition, diversity & functional composition comparable to 75% of statewide ref sites.

3

Warmwater Habitat:

Biological Condition

4

… comparable to the 25%ile of ecoregional reference sites

Modified Warm Water Habitat: …irretrievable, human modifications of physical habitat …

5

Limited Resource Waters: lack potential … substantially degraded….irretrievable habitat modifications

6

Increasing Effect of Human Activity


State of FloridaEffectiveness of Forestry Best Management Practices

  • Joint project between Florida DEP, Florida Department of Agriculture and the silviculture industry.

  • Purpose: to determine if forestry BMPs, when properly applied, protect aquatic biota in adjacent streams


Examples of forestry BMPs

  • Undisturbed buffer zone (SMZ)

  • Site preparation to prevent erosion

  • Control fertilizers and pesticides

  • Design roads/drainage easements for minimum erosion/deposition


The Biological Condition Gradient

Natural structure and function of biotic community maintained

1

Minimal changes in structure & function

2

Evident changes in structure and minimal changes in function

3

Moderate changes in structure & minimal changes in function

Biological Condition

4

5

Major changes in structure & moderate changes in function

6

Severe changes in structure & function

Increasing Effect of Human Activity


Get to Know

Your Mayflies


And

your

Beetles


Thanks for Listening


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