USGS Washington Water Science Center
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The goal of the U.S. EPA Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) is to determine the ecological status of surface waters throughout the United States. In order to accomplish this, EMAP uses a probabilistic sampling design to select sites with specific characteristics. Data collected at each site includes physical habitat, nutrients and other commonly measured field parameters, and biological communities (algae, benthic invertebrates, and fish). Historically, data was analyzed and published by state agencies and EPA scientists, with most publications focusing on a specific geographic region. Recently, the EMAP program has initiated Western EMAP that covers steams in EPA regions 8, 9, and 10. The program is directed by the Office of Research and Development (ORD) in Corvalis, Oregon. The Corvalis research group has a great deal of expertise in environmental assessment, but felt that they could use some expertise in benthic invertebrate ecology. They also recognized that given their new Western EMAP effort, they needed to begin analyzing their existing benthic invertebrate data from a larger scale perspective.