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DEVELOPMENT OF A RICHNESS- AND TRAITS-BASED MACROINVERTEBRATE MMI USING A MULTI-STATE DATASET IN THE OHIO RIVER BASIN

Individual state assessments of stream quality are limited in their application across borders; therefore, several agencies have pushed for the development of bioassessments that transcend political jurisdictions. Thus, the goal of this study was to develop an Ohio River basin stream macroinvertebrate index (ORBMI) that transcends state boundaries and uniformly categorizes impaired and non-impaired sites, despite variation in collection methods. Data for index calibration and validation were obtained from 10 states within the basin and collected between 2003 and 2012. Impaired and non-impaired stream sites were originally determined from each state’s final index results. Fifty-two richness-based metrics comprised of richness, composition, habit, functional feeding group, and diversity measures were evaluated for inclusion in the new basin index. Eight metrics discriminated between impaired and non-impaired stream sites. Individual metric scores were calculated using a percentage of standard method and averaged to give an overall ORBMI score per site. The proportion of impaired and non-impaired sites categorized by the states and the ORBMI was not significantly different. This new ORBMI can be used as a tool to uniformly assess water quality using a hydrologically connected ecosystem across state lines.

Jamie Lau (Primary Presenter/Author), Eastern Kentucky University, Jamie.Lau@eku.edu;