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SFS Annual Meeting

Monday, May 20, 2019
14:00 - 15:30

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14:00 - 14:15: / 250 CF A BIGGER BANG FOR THE BUG: USING ASSESSMENT DATA FOR STRESSOR IDENTIFICATION

5/20/2019  |   14:00 - 14:15   |  250 CF

A BIGGER BANG FOR THE BUG: USING ASSESSMENT DATA FOR STRESSOR IDENTIFICATION Most US state environmental agencies collect macroinvertebrate monitoring data routinely and most have developed indicators for use in making aquatic life use assessments. Once assessments are completed, these data are set aside; but, there is a veritable treasure trove of information locked within the presence and abundance data states collect, waiting to be mined to help a myriad of water quality regulatory programs including: criteria setting and TMDLs. This talk describes how we are using taxon presence and abundance information for stressor identification. West Virginia is a state with a large backlog of biological impairments – cause unknown; a condition in which many state assessment programs find themselves. We developed stressor identification tools using biological presence and abundance data that support causal assessments to move these impairments along to restoration actions. We used three modeling approaches for the West Virginia dataset to inform stressor identification: sensitive/tolerant taxa models using O/E model output, percent model affinity models, and discriminant analysis. This talk describes these approaches, their overall performance in diagnosing acid, ion, metal, organic enrichment, and sediment impairment and how these methods could be incorporated into a causal assessment approach.

Michael Paul (Primary Presenter/Author), Tetra Tech, Inc., Michael.Paul@tetratech.com;


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14:15 - 14:30: / 250 CF BEYOND BIOASSESSMENT: SETTING MANAGEMENT GOALS FOR FLOW AND EUTROPHICATION TO PROTECT BIOLOGICAL INTEGRITY IN CALIFORNIA WADEABLE STREAMS

5/20/2019  |   14:15 - 14:30   |  250 CF

BEYOND BIOASSESSMENT: SETTING MANAGEMENT GOALS FOR FLOW AND EUTROPHICATION TO PROTECT BIOLOGICAL INTEGRITY IN CALIFORNIA WADEABLE STREAMS Although California is among the few remaining US states without a statewide biological objective, it nonetheless relies on bioassessment data to set management goals, such as identifying limits for hydrologic alteration, or evaluate thresholds to reduce eutrophication stress. Bioassessment indices for benthic macroinvertebrates and algae are used in stressor-response models to evaluate a variety of management activities. These models can then be used to evaluate management scenarios for their impacts on biological integrity. For example, flow-response models have been used to evaluate the impacts of increased water re-use or selecting between different BMPs. Similarly, eutrophication-response models may be used to identify potential targets to manage biostimulatory conditions and explore the impacts of tradeoffs between nutrient management and restoration. Using examples from southern California, we demonstrate how managers use bioassessment indices and stressor relationships to protect biological integrity. The central role of biological indicators in measuring environmental health make them an ideal focus for management, both within and apart from regulatory programs based on biological objectives.

Martha Sutula (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, marthas@sccwrp.org;


Eric Stein (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, erics@sccwrp.org;


Susanna Theroux (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, susannat@sccwrp.org;


Kris Taniguchi-Quan (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, krist@sccwrp.org;


Marcus Beck (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, marcusb@sccwrp.org;


Raphael Mazor (Primary Presenter/Author), Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, raphaelm@sccwrp.org;


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14:45 - 15:00: / 250 CF TAXONOMIC HARMONIZATION MAY REVEAL A STRONGER ASSOCIATION BETWEEN DIATOM ASSEMBLAGES AND TOTAL PHOSPHORUS IN LARGE DATASETS

5/20/2019  |   14:45 - 15:00   |  250 CF

TAXONOMIC HARMONIZATION MAY REVEAL A STRONGER ASSOCIATION BETWEEN DIATOM ASSEMBLAGES AND TOTAL PHOSPHORUS IN LARGE DATASETS Diatoms have been collected in large-scale biological assessments, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Rivers and Streams Assessment (NRSA). The effectiveness of diatoms as indicators of biological condition may suffer if inconsistent taxon identifications across different analysts obscure the relationships between assemblage composition and environmental variables. To minimize the explanatory power of an analyst, we used random forest to detect taxa with high analyst signals and used QA/QC data to justify combining taxa. We reiterated random forest to detect remaining problematic taxa and applied coarser adjustments (e.g., elevating to genus or omitting the taxon). Relative to the original dataset, the revised dataset had less variation in assemblage composition explained by analyst and more than double the variation in assemblage composition explained by total phosphorus, a high priority environmental variable for managing nutrient pollution. Examination of variation in assemblage data explained by analyst and taxonomic harmonization may be necessary steps for improving the quality of large datasets. Open access to R tools and documentation of taxonomic revisions are available to assist other researchers working with inconsistent datasets.

Sylvia Lee (Primary Presenter/Author), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, lee.sylvia@epa.gov;


Ian Bishop (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Rhode Island, bishopia@uri.edu;


Sarah Spaulding (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), US Geological Survey, sspaulding@usgs.gov;


Richard Mitchell (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, mitchell.richard@epa.gov;


Lester Yuan (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Environmental Protection Agency, yuan.lester@epa.gov;


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15:00 - 15:15: / 250 CF WHEN COMMUNITY INDICES FAIL CAN WE FALL BACK ON SINGLE-SPECIES INFERENCES? A DIATOM-BASED EXAMPLE

5/20/2019  |   15:00 - 15:15   |  250 CF

WHEN COMMUNITY INDICES FAIL CAN WE FALL BACK ON SINGLE-SPECIES INFERENCES? A DIATOM-BASED EXAMPLE Failure of community-based indices such as IBIs and transfer functions to adequately track environmental quality mandates alternative methods such as relying on known properties of individual, dominant species. We explore this alternative using Great Lakes diatoms: Are certain diatom species unambiguously indicative of stressors like agriculture, mining and deforestation? We compiled a detailed set of long-term, quantitative stressor data for 60 watersheds surrounding the Laurentian Great Lakes and related these parameters with fossil diatom relative abundances recovered from sediment cores. Stressors included population, mining, deforestation and GIS coverages for agricultural land, with records extending back as far as 1780. A distinct suite of diatom species was associated with agricultural activity which peaked in the mid-20th century. Another subset of taxa are associated with population growth, a trend that may be concurrently related to climate change. Despite the unique physico-chemical characteristics of each lake, Great Lakes basin-wide indicators of stress were detectable. This work clarifies the bioassessment role of several diatom species in the world’s largest freshwater resource.

Euan Reavie (Primary Presenter/Author), Natural Resources Research Institute – U. Minnesota Duluth, ereavie@d.umn.edu;


Meijun Cai (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Natural Resources Research Institute - U. Minnesota Duluth, mcai@d.umn.edu;


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15:15 - 15:30: / 250 CF OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACTION: LEVERAGING PRINCIPLES OF AQUATIC ECOLOGY INTO THE CLEAN WATER ACT

5/20/2019  |   15:15 - 15:30   |  250 CF

OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACTION: LEVERAGING PRINCIPLES OF AQUATIC ECOLOGY INTO THE CLEAN WATER ACT The goal of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) is “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation's waters.” (33 U.S.C. § 1251) Similarly, aquatic ecology seeks to protect aquatic ecosystems by studying how organisms interact with chemistry, the physical environment, and each other to affect the biological integrity of waters. In theory, the CWA and aquatic ecology are linked. However, in practice, the links are tenuous. In many respects, this disconnect explains why the CWA has not achieved its goal. For example, the CWA largely ignores non-point source pollution; it only has jurisdiction over “navigable waters” (33 U.S.C. § 1362) which can leave ephemeral waters and groundwater unregulated; and CWA water quality standards rely on water quality criteria that often do not “reflect the latest scientific knowledge” (33 U.S.C. § 1314). Moreover, water quality criteria tend to ignore contaminant mixtures, novel and emerging contaminants, multiple stressors, and species interactions, among other things. This talk will discuss present opportunities to incorporate aquatic ecology into the CWA, and how current efforts to modernize water quality criteria derivation can better address the CWA's goal.

Sam Duggan (Primary Presenter/Author), University of Minnesota, sambduggan@gmail.com;


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