Ecological Classification of Rivers for Environmental Assessment: Demonstration, Validation, and Application to Regional Risk Assessment Across Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin

EPA Grant Number: R830596
Title: Ecological Classification of Rivers for Environmental Assessment: Demonstration, Validation, and Application to Regional Risk Assessment Across Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin
Investigators: Seelbach, Paul W. , Wehrly, Kevin E. , Wiley, Michael J. , Stevenson, R. Jan , Holtrop, Ann , Pijanowski, Bryan , Dolan, Chad , Allan, David , Day, David , Austen, Douglas , Baker, Edward , Lyons, John , Wang, Lizhu , DePhilip, Michelle , Zorn, Troy
Current Investigators: Seelbach, Paul W. , Clark, Richard D. , Wehrly, Kevin E. , Wiley, Michael J. , Stevenson, R. Jan , Aichele, Stephen S. , Holtrop, Ann , Cooper, Arthur , Pijanowski, Bryan , Bissell, Ed , Stewart, Jana , Lyons, John , Hinz, Leon , Wang, Lizhu , Mitro, Matt , Steen, Paul , Brenden, Travis , Zorn, Troy
Institution: Michigan State University , University of Michigan
Current Institution: Michigan State University , Illinois Department of Natural Resources , Illinois Natural History Survey , Michigan Department of Natural Resources , Purdue University , United States Geological Survey [USGS] , University of Michigan , Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: December 1, 2002 through December 31, 2006
Project Amount: $842,547
RFA: Development of Watershed Classification Systems for Diagnosis of Biological Impairment in Watersheds (2002) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Watersheds , Water


Our goal is to couple landscape-based modeling from large, regional data sets and regional Land Transformation Models with a valley segment ecological classification approach already being employed in several Midwestern states. Objectives include completion of a GIS based river segment classification and provision of a comprehensive status and risk assessment of river systems across the upper Midwestern states of Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin.


We will build on existing pilot work to delineate and validate ecological valley segment units for all river systems in Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Using state resource agency survey databases we will build mathematical models for predicting riverine site habitats and biological reference conditions from mapped landscape and local variables. These models will be used to extrapolate results to unsampled river segments, producing region-wide summaries of current ecological status. Finally, we will couple this modeling system to a Land Transformation Model, and provide spatially explicit risk assessments for the river systems of the upper Midwest.

Expected Results:

Our ultimate products will be: 1) a GIS based river classification and modeling system, developed in cooperation with each state resource agency (and coordinated among states) that contains a series of standard landscape maps and a map of ecological river. Also, associated data tables containing attributes linked to segments: raw data, attribute classes, and risk assessment classes; and 2) the illustration of a landscape based approach to modeling, classification, and status/risk assessment of rivers that would be transferable to other regions.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 34 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 10 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

hydrologic regime, thermal regime, bioassessment, fish assemblage, hierarchy, monitoring, upper Midwest, survey databases., RFA, Scientific Discipline, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, ECOSYSTEMS, Water, Geographic Area, Waste, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Aquatic Ecosystems & Estuarine Research, Water & Watershed, Bioavailability, State, Aquatic Ecosystem, Water Quality Monitoring, Terrestrial Ecosystems, Environmental Monitoring, Ecology and Ecosystems, Watersheds, anthropogenic stress, bioassessment, anthropogenic processes, watershed classification, nutrient transport, fate and transport, model, ecosystem monitoring, watershed management, biodiversity, conservation, diagnostic indicators, ecosystem indicators, Illinois (IL), aquatic ecosystems, bioindicators, watershed sustainablility, Wisconsin (WI), water quality, biological indicators, ecosystem stress, watershed assessment, conservation planning, nitrogen uptake, bioavailable phosphorus, transport modeling, ecosystem response, aquatic biota, land use, restoration planning, watershed restoration, biological impairment, agricultural community

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2003 Progress Report
  • 2004 Progress Report
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • Final Report