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Water: Biocriteria

Training: 2003 National Workshop Modules

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Disclaimer: The contents of these documents do not necessarily represent the views and policies of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute endorsement or recommendation of use.


BIO 101 - Introduction to Biological Assessments and Criteria

This course provides an introduction to biological assessments and criteria (PDF) (59 pp, 2.3MB), how they are developed and how they can be used in water quality management. This course covers the basic concepts, principles and terms, augmented by an overview of the Ohio Biocriteria Program. Recommended for beginning biocriteria scientists, managers and others new to the subject.

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WQS 101 - Keys to Getting Biocriteria Into Water Quality Standards

This course provides insights into the essential steps and strategies for successfully adopting narrative and numeric biocriteria (PDF) (61 pp, 1.2MB) in State and Tribal water quality standards. Specific topics include an introduction to water quality standards, presentation of State cases, and an introduction to the Biological Condition Gradient for strengthening ALUS (covered in detail under TALU101 and 202). Successful States share how they incorporated biological assessments and criteria into their standards, lessons learned, and tips they have for others. Recommended for beginning biocriteria scientists, managers and others new to the subject.

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APP 101 - Biological Assessments and Criteria and Their Application in Water Programs

This course examines how biological assessments and criteria (PDF) (75 pp, 1.5MB) have been successfully used in NPDES permitting, stormwater permits, enforcement cases, Superfund, TMDLs and other applications. Basic applications are presented and supplemented by case examples from three leading States. The use of bioassessments in an enforcement case is also illustrated in the course materials. Recommended for any professional involved in the application of biological assessment and criteria in water quality programs.

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LAKES 101 - Lake Biological Assessments and Criteria

This course introduces biological assessment and criteria methods for lakes using the 1998 Lake and Reservior Bioassessment and Biocriteria: Technical Guidance Document (PDF) (59 pp, 2.2MB), interspersed with case studies and exercises designed to highlight and demonstrate issues in lake bioassessment. Recommended for anyone interested in conducting biological assessments and deriving biocriteria for lakes.

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TRIBES 101 - Tribal Biological Assessment and Criteria Programs

This course has been designed to examine and discuss the development and implementation of biological assessment and criteria programs in Tribal Nations (PDF (73 pp, 2.7MB). Technical issues relevant to tribal programs are discussed and case studies are presented. Recommended for biologists and environmental managers working with tribes on water quality monitoring and assessment on tribal lands.

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SI 101 - The Stressor Identification (SI) Process

This course covers the principles of the stressor identification process (PDF) (89 pp, 2.5MB), which is used when unknown causes of biological impairment are encountered. Recommended for scientists, managers and others involved in 305(b) assessments, 303(d) listings, TMDLs or other water body investigations.

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SI 201 - The Stressor Identification (SI) Process: Case Study

This course provides participants with a step-by-step examination of a case study using the stressor identification process (PDF) (46 pp, 464K). Recommended for scientists, managers and others involved in 305(b) assessments, 303(d) listings, TMDLs or anyone attempting to diagnose water body impairments.

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RFC 101 - Basic Reference Condition and Classification Techniques

This course explains the basic concepts of reference conditions and classification (PDF) (86 pp, 3.3MB), how such are derived and the importance for developing biocriteria for water quality standards. The role of human disturbance gradients in setting reference conditions is discussed. States with experience of developing and incorporating reference condition concepts into their water quality programs provide case studies. Recommended for anyone conducting bioassessments and/or developing biocriteria.

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RFC 201 - Reference Condition Case Studies

This course focuses primarily on the process of selecting reference sites to characterize reference condition (PDF) (108 pp, 15.9MB) based on a series of case studies in different geographic settings. The role of classification and modeling is incorporated into the case studies as appropriate. The course is based on a hierarchical screening process for the selection of reference sites. Recommended for all bioassessment and biocriteria professionals.

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RFC 202 - Advanced Reference Condition Techniques, Special Circumstances and Problem Solving

This course explains ways to derive reference conditions in specific circumstances (PDF) (72 pp, 3.6MB). Examples focus on extensively modified areas such as urban areas, some kinds of agricultural lands, large river, and some lake or wetland situations. The course includes the use of historical information for characterizing reference condition. Recommended for practitioners facing such problems.

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INDEX 101 - Biological Index Development Methods: Basic Concepts

This course will cover the methods and models used to develop indexes of biological condition (PDF) (94 pp, 2.3MB). The course reviews the ecological basis of indices, the steps involved in building indices, limitations of the approach, and critical questions to ask of any index.

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INDEX 201 - Biological Index Development Methods: Applications

This course covers in greater depth the methods and models used to develop indices of biological condition and their potential policy and regulatory implications (PDF) (119 pp, 2.7MB). This second course addresses how to perform technical steps in building multimetric and multivariate predictive models as well as threshold development and evaluation for building criteria from indices.

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LR 101 - Large River Biological Assessment Methods

This course introduces biological assessment methods for large rivers (PDF) (114 pp, 6.7MB). Primary topics covered include classification of rivers, assessment and site/station scale, alternative monitoring designs for alternative objectives, and field methods for core biological indicator assemblages.

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LR 201 - Large River Biocriteria Development

This course introduces biological criteria derivation methods for large rivers (PDF) (43 pp, 1.4MB) primarily through the use of case studies. Multiple case studies representing a range of site/station scale and monitoring designs for alternative objectives are presented.

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WET 101 - Wetlands Biological Assessments and Criteria

This course introduces biological assessment and criteria methods for wetlands (PDF) (150 pp, 3.8MB) and applications to State and Tribal wetland programs. Course material is taken from EPA's Methods for Evaluating Wetland Condition as well as case studies and examples from states. Recommended for anyone interested in conducting biological assessments and deriving biocriteria for wetlands.

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TALU 101 - Using Biological Assessments to Refine Designated Aquatic Life Uses: The Biological Condition Gradient

This course explains and solicits feedback on a proposed conceptual model predicting the response of aquatic communities (PDF) (63 pp, 2.8MB) to increasing human disturbance. The conceptual model is a draft framework for using biological assessment information to refine designated aquatic life uses. Recommended for participants with bioassessment and biocriteria field expertise and program responsibilities for water quality standards.

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TALU 202 - Using Biological Assessments to Refine Designated Aquatic Life Uses: Program Implementation

This course explains and solicits feedback on application of the proposed conceptual model predicting the response of an aquatic community (76 pp, 1.9MB) to increasing human disturbance. Case examples are presented. This course is recommended for State and Tribal program scientists and managers, particularly water quality standards coordinators.

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