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7. Rapid Assessment and Small Stream Impact Score - Bryan Kennedy, EPA


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The EPA Catchments Unit held its 2018 annual Catchment Management Network Meeting on 14 November. All our local authorities and many other public bodies are invited to this meeting to talk about how to protect and improve Ireland's waters.

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7. Rapid Assessment and Small Stream Impact Score - Bryan Kennedy, EPA

  1. 1. An introduction to concept of Rapid Assessment and Small Stream Impact Score Bryan Kennedy Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Unit Office of Evidence and Assessment Environmental Protection Agency Twitter: @epaecology
  2. 2. Rapid Assessment & Small Stream Impact Score  Brief overview of the approach to using biological indicators as part of Local Catchment Assessment  How does it differ from predecessor systems & what value does it bring?  SSIS = Small Stream Impact Score  RA = Rapid Assessment
  3. 3. Why biological indicators?  The WFD is an ecological Directive  Biological indicators have a long history of use Research community – e.g. developing new metrics; Other uses – e.g. compliance monitoring, planning & specialist studies; EPA – e.g. for WFD Classification.  For Local Catchment Assessment  Can tell us if there is a problem.  Can help to locate the likely source of a significant pressure.  Will often provide insight to help understand the relevant pressure.  Contribute in a major way to the evidence base which underpins “the right measure in the right place”.
  4. 4. A good start made - SSRS  Biological risk assessment approach to detecting potential sources of pollution.  Main aim – support the Program of Measures. Application of SSRS in the Glenamoy Catchment (December 2005).>3200 SSRS in 2006  First accessible field based biological assessment for non- specialists
  5. 5. Why a new approach is required?  Biological responses can be complex and multiple environmental stressors can be important at different scales.  A combination of the multidisciplinary datasets gives the best opportunity to understand the dominant processes driving ecological status … … catchment characterisation, habitat condition (e.g. morphology, substrate quality, %-DO, pH etc.) with biological indicators (invertebrate, macroalgae & macrophytes).
  6. 6. RA & SSIS Approach  Builds on the progress of Small Stream Risk Score (SSRS) but with emphasis more on “diagnosis” now rather than evaluating “risk of achieving objectives”.  Some additional indicators incorporated to help us better understand “how our rivers work”.  Allows for the systematic and efficient data capture using key biological indicators for “local catchment assessments” & “river walks”.  No new metrics – but an improved flow of information & data  Collaborative effort: Investigative Assessment Development Group Catchment Science & Management Unit, LIMNOS, EMAU & LAWPRO.
  7. 7. Content of the Guidance  Volume 4 sets out the rationale for the approach (SSIS & RA), the biological indicators to be monitored & brief notes to help guide interpretation of the data (e.g. seasonality – river gradient – lake outflows, potamon rivers etc.).  Summary biological data – supports the desktop assessment and the starting point for a field investigation.  Appendix B – provides field ID guides & fieldsheets to allow the relevant indicators to be confidently assessed and recorded.
  8. 8. The Biological Indicators (INV) Heptageniidae • Important group of pollution sensitive “stone-clingers” distinguishable in the field. • Important to note multiple instars or “generations” (distinctly larger versus smaller nymphs co-occurring in the sample). • Very earliest instars of Ecdyonurus and Heptagenia can be difficult to separate – a handlense and favourable lighting often required to do this in the field. Ecdyonurus • Backward projection on pronotum gives “wider” appearance – diagnostic for Ecdyonurus. Heptagenia • Lacks backward projection giving narrower profile. • (includes Electrogena & Kageronia) Rhithrogena • Distinctive spot visible on femur of each leg.
  9. 9. The Biological Indicators (MAL) Diatom Biofilm The first two of these indicators may be important in oligotrophic or former high status waterbodies (see text). Enhanced biofilm (EBIO) – when the biofilm on substrate becomes thickened - excessively thickened, by diatom (brown slick) or other accelerated growths of the phytobenthos. Filamentous diatoms (FDIA) – delicate trailing filaments of diatoms that fragment when touched. Mucilaginous diatoms (GDIA) - Globular - amorphous colonies of diatoms (often Gomphonema minutum) that are gelatinous and often golden yellow coloured (pure white colonies also can be found and have a different trophic optimum). Slimy to touch. Didyomosphenia (DIDY) - Has a texture like cotton wool - clean white to dirty brown (indicating older colony covered in epiphytes).
  10. 10. The Biological Indicators (MPY)
  11. 11. Linkages with EPA Assessment
  12. 12. SSIS fieldsheet SURVEYDETAIL SAMPLETIME(min) RELATIVEABUNDANCECATEGORIES(RA*) Habitat sampled: SUMMARY Wet width (m): SAMPLETAXON NUMBER Avg. sample depth (m): INVERT. DENSITY(E/ A/ M / L/ S) 1: EPHEMEROPTERA RA* 2: PLECOPTERA RA* 3: TRICHOPTERA RA* Ecdyonurus ○ Perla ○ Limnephilidae ○ Heptagenia ○ Dinocras ○ Sericostomatidae ○ Rhithrogena ○ Isoperla ○ Glossosomatidae ○ Ephemera danica ○ Chloroperla ○ Lepidostomatidae ○ Ephemerellidae ○ Protonemura ○ Hydropsychidae ○ Paraleptophlebia ○ Amphinemura ○ Polycentropodidae ○ Caenis ○ Leuctra ○ Rhyacophila ○ Other ________________ Other ________________ Philopotamidae ○ Baetidae ○ RA ←not SSRS Other ________________ Other ________________ Total no. SSRS Ephemeroptera Total no. Plecoptera taxa Total no. Trichoptera taxa sum RA sum RA sum RA Indexscore A Indexscore B Indexscore C 4: G.Ol.D RA* G.OL.D RA* OTHERTAXA(not SSRS) RA* Radix balthica(G) ○ Dicranota (D) ○ Gammarus ○ Potamopygrus(G) ○ Tipulidae (D) ○ Crangonyx ○ Planorbis(G) ○ Chironomidae (D) ○ Riffle beetle ○ Ancylus(G) ○ Chironomus(D) ○ Leech ○ Physa(G) ○ Other ________________ Flatworm ○ Lumbriculus(OL) ○ Other ________________ Odonata ○ Eiseniella(OL) ○ Other ________________ Other ________________ Tubificidae (OL) ○ Total no. G.Ol.D taxa Other ________________ Simuliidae (D) ○ sum RA Other ________________ Ceratopogonidae (D) ○ Indexscore D Other ________________ Asellusabsent (4) tick box Asellusfew 1-20 (2) tick box Total IndexScore (A+B+C+D+E) >7.25 Probably not significantly impacted Aselluscommon > 20 (0) tick box Average IndexScore (Total IS / 5) >6.5-7.25 Indeterminate. Evidence of impact E: Asellus indexscore( 4 - 2 - 0 ) SSRScore = (Average IS) x 2 <6.5 Probably impacted Macrophyte Ab. Ab. Macroalgae Ab. absent? absent? Bacterial tufts Ab. absent? general comments: SMALL STREAM IMPACT SCORE (SSIS) v1.1 pond-net: 2 stone wash: 1 weed-sweep: Phototrophic indicators & bacterial tufts ( X the box to confirm absence - NV for not visible) Channel vegetation cover: Dominant - Abundant - Frequent - Occasional - Rare - Absent - NV Channel vegetation density: Excessive (>75%) - Extensive (50 - 75%) - High (25-50%) - Moderate (10-25%) - Low (<10%) - Absent - NV Location ID (or GR): Time: Follows original scheme with …  Physical habitat features recorded with HYMO indicators  Some additional indicator taxa & groups  Renaming of impact categories
  13. 13. Rapid Assessment (RA) Which example is indicative of a problem?
  14. 14. Rapid Assessment (RA) Location ID(orGR) Indicator (INV - MAL - MPY) Code Ab. Rapid Assessment (SSIS) v1.1 Comment riffle R Excessive E glide G Abundant A pool P Moderate M margins M Low L Very sparse S Excessive E Dominant (˃75%) D Dominant (˃75%) D Abundant A Abundant (˃50%- ≤75%) A Abundant (˃50%- ≤75%) A Moderate M Frequent (˃25%- ≤50%) F Frequent (˃25%- ≤50%) F Low L Occasional (˃5%- ≤25%) O Occasional (˃5%- ≤25%) O Very few S Rare (≤5%) R Rare (≤5%) R Absent AB Absent Ab Absent Ab Not visible NV Not visible NV Not surveyed NS Not surveyed NS Sensitive taxa SENV Cyanobacterial mat CYMT Channel vegetation biomass PTBI Less Sensitive taxa LSEV Cladophora agg. CLAD Emergent vegetation EVG Tolerant taxa TOLI Vaucheria VAU Bryophyte BRYO Very Tolerant taxa VTOL Filamentous green algae FGA Moss MOS Most Tolerant taxa PTOL Stigeoclonium STIC Liverwort (acid-very acid taxa only) LIVT Heptageniidae HPT Ulva ULVA Emergent broad-leaved EBLV Ecdyonurus ECD Drapnaraldia DRAP Emergent reeds/sedges/rushes ERSR Ephemoptera-Plecoptera-Trichoptera EPT Batrachospermum BRTC Floating-leaved (rooted) FLOT Baetidae BAT Lemanea LEMA Free floating FREE Snails SNL Thickened biofilm TBIO Amphibious AMPH Chironomidae CHR Filamentous diatoms FDIA Submerged broad-leaved SBLV Simuliidae SIU Mucilaginous diatoms GDIA Submerged linear-leaved SLLV Gammarus GAM Didyomosphenia DIDY Submerged fine-leaved SFLV Asellus ASL Calcified algae CALH Opportunistic algae OPPA Tubificidae TUB Nostoc NOSC Leptodictyon riparium LPYR Invertebrate community depapurate INVD Cyanobacterial colonies CYMC Sparganium erectum SPER Chaetophora CHA Schoenoplectus SCIP Other macroalgae OMAC Fontinalis antipyretica FATY FGA - low alkalinity community FGLA Fontinalis squamosa FSQA Bulbochaete BULB Ranunculus RAN Stigonema STIG Macrophyte Indicator (MPY)Invertebrate Indicator (INV) (indicative %-cover for guidance only) MYP Cover observation (intermediate categories can be used on fieldsheet)(the predominate or add multiple categories) Macroalgal Indicators (MAL) substrate quality extent siltation & compaction extent of shading if significant extent calcification if present All relevant Habitat criteria must be noted on Master Sheet (e.g.) Biological Indicator Lookup Tables for Small Stream Impact Score (SSIS) MAL Cover observation (indicative %-cover for guidance only) Invertebrate Density for RA (intermediate categories can be used on fieldsheet) Invertebrate Sample DensityHabitat sampled for kick
  15. 15. RA – adding insight to a list of indicator taxa
  16. 16. A case study in Local Catchment Assessment ~20km2 catchment area & 40km river channel – where should we start?
  17. 17. What next?  Evaluating field indicators with the other datasets in an integrated way.  Knowing when we have the answer and when repeat survey is required (n = 3)!  Deciding when further specialist assessment should be pursued and what is recommended?  How continued development, further support & roll out of the guidance might be accommodated?  Moving from desk-top assessments to boots in the water and evaluating the first results! Thank You