Values and features of successful watershed monitoring programs
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“Values and Features of Successful Watershed Monitoring Programs“. Thomas E. Davenport, USEPA [email protected] Integrating Monitoring & Modeling. Monitoring and modeling are not mutually exclusive. Each tool has strengths and weaknesses.

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Integrating Monitoring & Modeling Programs“

Monitoring and modeling are not mutually exclusive.

Each tool has strengths and weaknesses.

Neither by itself can usually provide all of the information needed for water quality decision-making.



Monitoring
Monitoring project evaluation.

  • Major component of water quality management

  • Provides essential data about the resource

  • Can be expensive and challenging

  • Requires careful design and execution to achieve objectives


Monitoring Challenges project evaluation.

  • Increased integration of fragmented environmental monitoring efforts to improve the collection, analysis, and reporting of data:

    • Strategic assessment of objectives

    • Focus on utility of resulting data

2006. Filling the gaps: Priority Data Needs and Key Management Challenges for National Reporting on Ecosystem Conditions


Role of Monitoring project evaluation.

  • Identify problems

  • Establish baseline conditions

  • Document change

  • Assess program/project effectiveness

  • Inform stakeholders

  • Assess compliance

  • Provide information/data to support models


Strengths of Monitoring project evaluation.

  • Data that document water quality improvement lend credibility to project planning and implementation

  • Information relevant to stakeholders

  • Measurement of actual watershed conditions is powerful tool for changing behavior


Monitoring weaknesses
Monitoring Weaknesses project evaluation.

Several major watershed monitoring projects have reported little or no improvement in water quality after extensive implementation of best management practices (BMPs) in the watershed:

  • Uncooperative weather

  • Improper selection of BMPs

  • Mistakes in understanding of pollution sources

  • Poor experimental design

  • Lag time


Monitoring challenges project evaluation.

  • Procedural problems can sabotage even a well-designed monitoring program

  • Procedural problems can be corrected with good management, training, and resources

  • Flawed design can doom a monitoring program from the start


ADMINISTRATIVE INDICATORS project evaluation.

STRESSORS

Agricultural Producers Implement Conservation Practices

LEVEL 2:

LEVEL 1:

Auglaize Basin Tillage Practices

60

Ohio EPA awards 319 grants; goal is achieve restoration of impaired uses (meet WQS); Ohio DNR & NRCS develop NPS management & abate-ment strategies

50

NO TILLAGE

CONSERVATION TILLAGE

40

$$$$

Percentage of Basin Acres

30

20

10

0

1982

1983

1984

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

YEAR

RESPONSE

STRESS & EXPOSURE

LEVEL 6:

Biological assemblage improves

BMPs Produce Reduced NPS loadings

LEVELS 3-5:

M&A

Non Point Sources

Auglaize River near Ft. Jennings, Ohio

2000

TMDL

WQS

1970-74

1500

1996-98

1000

Loading (Tons/Day)

Mean Daily Suspended Sediment

500

0

Annual

Spring

Summer

Fall

Winter

TSS decreased, water quality & habitat improved


Monitoring challenges project evaluation.

  • Design problems

    • Failure to measure what is needed

    • Inadequate problem identification

    • Misunderstanding of the system being monitored

    • Statistically weak design


Typical monitoring program measures water quality at a relatively few points in time, then “connects the dots”.

Note: Total annual load is assumed to be the area under the curve.


However: relatively few points in time, then “connects the dots”.

If storm events aren’t measured, the actual load may be much larger.


Many monitoring schemes miss daily variation as well. relatively few points in time, then “connects the dots”.

Blue dots are typical late afternoon measurements of dissolved oxygen. In many productive systems, however, DO drops to very low values at night.


All Samples relatively few points in time, then “connects the dots”.

Comparison of storm event data with non-storm data at 8 different urban stations in Utah

Note difference in percent exceedence of pollutant criteria.

All Samples

Non Runoff Samples


Where to monitor? relatively few points in time, then “connects the dots”.

  • Upstream / downstream

  • At bottom of watershed

  • Multiple sites

    Do you know the critical contributing areas in the watershed?

    Consider size of total watershed vs size of bmp


Are you monitoring in the right locations? relatively few points in time, then “connects the dots”.

Problem: excess sediment

BMP =ebries of small in-stream sediment basins

Average flow = 20 cfs


upstream relatively few points in time, then “connects the dots”.

downstream

Upstream/downstream monitoring demonstrates impact of BMP very effectively.



Loading from large feeding operation swamped by the large loads carried by the Bear River.

upstream

downstream


Challenges for evaluation of watershed-scale BMPS loads carried by the Bear River.

Often difficult to get enough BMPs installed

This makes monitoring design difficult

BMPs require > 5 years to be effective at system level, which may be outside of monitoring plan scope.

Limitations in monitoring strategies may miss actual changes

Poor controls for other factors (changes in land use, drought, etc).


In evaluating impacts of BMPS, it is critical to look for other changes in the watershed that become the driving factors?Land use changes?Climatic patterns?Changes in ownership?


BMPs installed to protect banks from direct impacts of animal grazing.

Several years later, ownership of land had changed and BMPs were no longer in place.


Urbanization animal grazing.


Vt nmp project 1993 2001
VT NMP Project 1993 - 2001 animal grazing.

Evaluate effectiveness of livestock exclusion, streambank protection, and riparian restoration in reducing runoff of nutrients, sediment, and bacteria from agricultural land to surface waters


  • Paired watershed design animal grazing.

  • Continuous discharge

  • Flow-proportional automated composite sampling (weekly)

    • Total Phosphorus (TP)

    • Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN)

    • Total Suspended Solids (TSS)

  • Bi-weekly grab sampling

    • Indicator bacteria

    • Temp., conductivity, D.O.

  • Annual biomonitoring

    • Macroinvertebrates

    • Habitat

    • Fish

  • Annual land use/management


RESULTS animal grazing.

Macroinvertebrate IBI improved to meet biocriteria

No significant change in fish community


OR Upper Grande Ronde NMP Project 1995 - 2003 animal grazing.

Improve salmonid community through restoration of habitat and stream temperature regime

Document effectiveness of channel restoration on water temperature and salmonid community



Results animal grazing.

control

before

after

  • Cooler water temperatures in pools and deeper runs

  • Reduced width-depth ratios compared to unrestored reaches

  • Rainbow trout number increased in restored reaches, while constant or decreasing in unrestored and control reaches


1999 animal grazing.

Example from grazing management project on BLM land in western Wyoming.

Chicken Creek

1989

Photopoints can be are very effective at demonstrating impact.


Strengths of Modeling animal grazing.

  • Can extend the knowledge gained from monitoring

  • Forecast future response of alternative actions

  • Integrates various data and information to further test our understanding


Modeling animal grazing.

Tools for visualizing potential results during the planning process

Means to forecast the likely impacts of alternative management options

Input

Model

Algorithms

Output

Factor 1

Rainfall Event

System

Response

Land use

Factor 2

Soil

Pollutant Buildup

Stream

Pt. Source

Factor 3

Others


Modeling challenges animal grazing.

  • Require reliable data on practice effectiveness.

  • Must address variability of BMP effectiveness.

  • How to model human behavior (e.g., O&M)?


Monitoring animal grazing.

Real evidence of water quality impairment

Best evidence of water quality restoration

Modeling

Extend and apply the knowledge

Forecast future response to alternatives

Integrating Monitoring & Modeling


Monitoring animal grazing.

Fundamental knowledge about generation, fate, and transport of nonpoint source pollutants

Modeling

Means to assemble, express, and test current state of understanding

Integrating Monitoring & Modeling


Integrating Monitoring & Modeling animal grazing.

Evaluation of model results

Improve model

Guide additional monitoring


In conclusion: animal grazing.

Keep project goals (questions) in mind when monitoring

Monitor at an appropriate scale

Keep time lags in mind

Be selective, consider individual situations

Monitor surrogates when appropriate

Control or measure human behaviors / other watershed changes.


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