USGS Washington Water Science Center
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9722-9IH - EPA Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) - Completed FY2004
Problem - 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.
Objectives - The objective of the western benthic invertebrate study is to combine and synthesize invertebrate community data from EMAP/REMAP and potentially some USGS NAWQA studies throughout the western U.S. This study will provide insight into the similarities of benthic invertebrate communities from differing ecoregions in the western U.S., while also providing information on what environmental variables most control the communities. This information is needed in order to better plan future analysis with the ongoing Western EMAP study.
Approach - The first phase of this study included establishing criteria for selecting data sets, combining data sets, and performing quality control analysis to ensure data comparability. Benthic macroinvertebrate data have been combined for approximately 400 sites from Kansas to California. These sites represent six major studies in a wide range of environmental settings. We are presently in the process of compiling the accompanying physical and chemical data that will permit statistical analysis. Our goal is to have the data set complete and begin analyses prior to March 2001.