Design of an environmental monitoring program for the Lake Allatoona/Upper Etowah River watershed
Stribling, James B.
Davie, Steven R.
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The proximity of the Upper Etowah River watershed to such a vast urban and urbanizing area (Atlanta, Georgia) makes proactive watershed management essential because there is critical need to balance water and wastewater demands with efforts to maintain and enhance overall ecological conditions. The monitoring program is intended to be comprehensive, help address multi-jurisdictional watershed management objectives, and focus on ecological condition at multiple spatial scales. Therefore, the purpose of this project is the development of a valid and technically defensible, long-term monitoring design for the Upper Etowah River watershed. The Lake Allatoona/Upper Etowah River Watershed Partnership specified a list of management objectives and questions that the data gathered under the monitoring program should address. The set of objectives required an approach that incorporates sites selected based on expected problems or issues (targeted), as well as sites from which data could be aggregated for assessments at broader spatial scales (probability-based). The resulting network design is a set of sites that will, in part, be sampled annually; intermittently; and as part of a regular, rotating-basin schedule. Constituents to be sampled include selected laboratory and field chemistry, various aspects of flow and physical habitat quality, benthic macroinvertebrates, and fish. Over a 6-year period, these data will be gathered from approximately 400 locations throughout the upper basin. Implementation of the program will require training, tracking of data quality characteristics, and performing analyses focused on answering, with known confidence, the stated objectives of the program.