US EPA - Environmental Protection Agency

Ecological condition of wadeable streams of the interior Columbia river basin


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EMAP (Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program) was initiated by EPA to estimate the status and trends of the nation's ecological resources and examine associations between ecological condition and natural and anthropogenic influences. The surface water component of EMAP is based on the premise that the condition of stream biota can be addressed by examining biological and ecological indicators of stress. The long-term goal of EMAP is to develop ecological methods and procedures that permit the measurement of environmental resources to determine if they are in an acceptable or unacceptable condition relative to a set of environmental or ecological values. Two major features of EMAP are the use of ecological indicators and probability-based selection of sample sites.

We use the EMAP data collected as part of EPA’s Westwide pilot project to assess the biotic condition by focusing on the direct measurements of the biota in relation to the physical and EPA Region 10, Office of Environmental Assessment
chemical condition through the use of biological indicators. This approach utilizes the fact that stream biota integrate many of the physical and chemical stressors and other biota (such as non-native species) that affect the aquatic ecosystem in which they reside.

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