Survey shows progress in biological assessments & criteria

All states, and several tribes and territories, now have biological assessment programs for streams and small rivers, and most are using biological assessments to determine if they have attained aquatic life uses.

May 16, 2003 -- All states, and several tribes and territories, now have biological assessment programs for streams and small rivers, and most are using biological assessments to determine if they have attained aquatic life uses.

Twenty-nine states and tribes have narrative biocriteria for streams and small rivers in their water quality standards, and 27 states and tribes have numeric biocriteria for their narrative standards. Many more states and tribes are developing biological criteria programs.

Given this progress, about 475 thousand miles of streams and small rivers across the country were assessed in 2001 using biological sampling of fish, invertebrates and algal communities.

This significant progress was revealed in a recent survey conducted by the Office of Water and Office of Environmental Information, Summary of Biological Assessment Programs and Biocriteria Development for States, Tribes, Territories, and Interstate Commissions: Streams and Wadeable Rivers (EPA-822-R-02-048).

With this major progress on streams and small rivers, states, tribes and territories can begin to focus on developing biocriteria for other waterbodies (lakes, reservoirs, wetlands and estuaries) for which EPA has developed methods and guidance.

You can find the survey and more information on the Internet at http://www.epa.gov/bioindicators/html/program_summary.html.


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