A WEIGHT-OF-EVIDENCE APPROACH TO ASSESSING BENTHOS BENFICIAL USE IMPAIRMENTS USING MACROINVERTEBRATE COMMUNITY AND SEDIMENT TOXICITY DATA IN NEW YORK AOCs
The United States and Canada agreed to restore the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Great Lakes ecosystem under the first Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement in 1972. In subsequent amendments, 43 Areas of Concern (AOCs), including six in New York, were identified where legacy industrial contamination and physical disturbance caused up to 14 beneficial use impairments (BUIs) in each AOC. With a focus on remediation and delisting AOCs through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, efforts are underway to assess the current status of the benthos and other BUIs. Following guidelines established by the International Joint Commission in 1991, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and U.S. Geological Survey developed a broadly applicable, ecosystem-based approach to BUI assessment in which both benthic community condition and sediment toxicity are compared between AOC and reference locations. This approach helps separate the effects of AOC-specific contaminants from broader regional stressors and provides a robust weight-of-evidence assessment of specific BUIs and their removal criteria. Since 2011, this approach has been effectively applied to multiple BUI assessments in 4 of the 5 active AOCs in New York.
Brian Duffy (Primary Presenter/Author), New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, email@example.com;
Scott George (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), U.S. Geological Survey, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Barry Baldigo (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), U.S. Geological Survey, email@example.com;