Bioassessment of Freshwater Ecosystems: Using the Reference Condition Approach

Overview

Aquatic ecosystem assessment is a rapidly developing field, and one of the newer approaches to assessing the condition of rivers and lakes is the Reference Condition Approach. This is a significant advancement in biomonitoring because it solves the problem of trying to locate nearby control or reference sites when studying an ecosystem that may be degraded, a problem that bedevils traditional approaches. Rather than using upstream reference sites in a river system or next-bay-over reference sites in a lake, an ...

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Overview

Aquatic ecosystem assessment is a rapidly developing field, and one of the newer approaches to assessing the condition of rivers and lakes is the Reference Condition Approach. This is a significant advancement in biomonitoring because it solves the problem of trying to locate nearby control or reference sites when studying an ecosystem that may be degraded, a problem that bedevils traditional approaches. Rather than using upstream reference sites in a river system or next-bay-over reference sites in a lake, an array of ecologically similar, least-exposed to stress sites scattered throughout a catchment or region is used. Once the reference condition has been established, any site suspected of being impacted can be assessed by comparison to the reference sites, and its status determined. The Reference Condition database, once formed, can be used repeatedly.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781461347057
  • Publisher: Springer US
  • Publication date: 4/30/2013
  • Edition description: Softcover reprint of the original 1st ed. 2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 170
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Bioassessment of Freshwater Ecosystems 1
1 Introduction 1
2 Key concepts 5
3 Development of the Reference Condition Approach 8
4 Points to remember 15
Introduction to the Case Studies 17
1 Sediment assessment of the near shore environment of North American Great Lakes 18
2 Fraser River (British Columbia) biomonitoring program 20
3 Spring and Autumn Assessment of Streams in the Australian Capital Territory 23
4 Points to remember 25
Defining the Reference Condition 27
1 Define the objectives of the study 28
2 Determine the spatial extent, time-scale and grain-size of the study 29
3 Determine the criteria for acceptable reference sites 36
4 Determine the appropriate number and locations of reference sites 41
5 Choose descriptors of the benthic invertebrate community and its environment 43
6 Design a data storage and management system 47
7 Ensure data quality 48
8 Case Studies 50
9 Points to remember 61
Variation in the Reference Condition 63
1 Why characterizing reference site variation is important 63
2 How to describe variation among reference sites 64
3 Case Studies 68
4 Why it is important to model and explain variation among reference sites 84
5 How to model variation among reference sites 87
6 Why residual variation among reference communities is important 92
7 Case Studies 100
8 Points to remember 118
Decision-Making 119
1 Why do we need decision rules on passing and failing test sites 119
2 How are decision rules arrived at? 121
3 Sensitivity of assessments: how often do real test sites fail? 125
4 Case Studies 126
5 Points to remember 131
Beyond Pass and Fail 133
1 Severity of fail: Magnitude and nature of deviation from Reference Condition 133
2 Why did it fail? 136
3 Scenario building: What will be the effect of rehabilitation or stress? 141
4 Points to remember 144
The Reference Condition Approach: In a nutshell 145
1 Bioassessment of freshwater ecosystems using the Reference Condition Approach 145
2 Case Studies 146
3 Defining the Reference Condition 147
4 Describing and modeling variation in the Reference Condition 148
5 Decision-Making 150
6 Beyond Pass and Fail 151
7 Finish 152
References 153
Index 169
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