Use of Modified Bioassessment Protocols for Evaluation of Water Quality
Cowie, Gail M.
Cooley, James L.
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This study explored the potential for biotic evaluation of changes in water quality in the state of Georgia. Specific objectives were to: 1) evaluate application of EPA benthic assessment protocols for potential use in on-going water quality monitoring in Georgia; and 2) compare biomonitoring results with water quality indices based on physical-chemical monitoring. Water quality monitoring in the U.S. has historically focused on physical-chemical data. The Georgia EPD currently conducts routine chemical monitoring of water quality at nearly 100 locations across the state. Additional data, including benthic counts, are collected at a subset of these stations. Physical-chemical data from a portion of this trend monitoring network have been used to calculate an index of overall water quality called the Trend Monitoring Index (TMI). This index of overall water quality was developed as a tool for communication with the general public. Improvement in index values represents movement toward water quality management goals. Index values for representative stations have been reported annually (EPD 1983) and can be compared with "natural" values determined for each physiographic province by EPD staff.