2004 Progress Report: Development and Evaluation of Aquatic Indicators

EPA Grant Number: R829095C003
Subproject: this is subproject number 003 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R829095
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: Space-Time Aquatic Resources Modeling and Analysis Program (STARMAP)
Center Director: Urquhart, N. Scott
Title: Development and Evaluation of Aquatic Indicators
Investigators: Theobald, David M. , Ritter, Kerry J. , Urquhart, N. Scott
Current Investigators: Theobald, David M. , Urquhart, N. Scott
Institution: Colorado State University , Southern California Coastal Water Research Project Authority
Current Institution: Colorado State University
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: October 1, 2001 through September 30, 2006
Project Period Covered by this Report: October 1, 2003 through September 30, 2004
RFA: Research Program on Statistical Survey Design and Analysis for Aquatic Resources (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Aquatic Ecosystems , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Water and Watersheds , Water , Ecosystems


This is one of several projects conducted by the STARMAP Center. The progress of the other projects is reported in separate reports (see the Annual Reports for R829095, R829095C001, R829095C002, R829095C004, and R829095C005).

The objectives of this research project are to: (1) develop, implement, and disseminate tools for accomplishing tessellation stratified sampling in a GIS context; (2) develop, determine, and evaluate landscape indicators suitable for spatial and temporal analyses of Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) and similar data being examined in R829095C001 and R829095C002; (3) explore statistical aspects of the definition of regional species richness or taxonomic richness; (4) evaluate protocols for economically determining site-level aggregate indicators, including habitat features, macroinvertebrate assemblages, and chemical determinations; and (5) investigate the limitations of using current data, which are widely available but probably ill-suited for regional statistical analyses.

Progress Summary:

The Space-Time Aquatic Resources Modeling and Analysis Program (STARMAP) landscape ecology/GIS efforts have focused on conceptualizing, developing, extending, and implementing GIS tools that will support spatial analyses of aquatic responses whose variation is explained, at least partly, by the landscape characteristics above the point in the aquatic system where field collections occurred. An automated, robust framework that delineates the watershed above any point (e.g., a sample collection point) is needed to allow relevant, process-based computation of landscaped metrics. We have developed this framework, which provides an additional benefit of being flexible to alternative definitions (and weightings) of watersheds such that upstream (and downstream) distance is explicit. A set of tools (FLOWS and FunConn) has been designed around this framework that utilizes ArcGIS as a platform, extending statistically relevant tools into the GIS community. The general sampling methodology advocated by EMAP can be made available to potential users much more appropriately in a GIS context than in a statistical computation context. Theobald, who has collaborated with several statistics students, has made substantial progress in this area. Also, a probability-based sampling tool (using the GRTS algorithm) has been implemented and used to develop sampling networks for a number of projects.

During Year 3 of the project we: (1) continued to build better links between watershed parameters and reaches as our major focus; (2) developed tools for accomplishing tessellation stratified sampling in ARCVIEW have been developed, currently in final/QA testing stages; (3) continued to compile data for the Mid-Atlantic Highlands Assessment study area, focusing on building the base data for the Western Pilot study area; (4) continued to develop basic network modeling tools in GIS; and (5) collaborated with other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science to Achieve Results researchers, particularly ones at Colorado State University. Other work on this research project continues.

Future Activities:

We will develop predictors for stream size and flow status (perennial and non-perennial) to overcome limitations of the materials currently used as a frame for stream sampling (NHD). Initial work would utilize the EMAP-West survey of stream traces identified as non-perennial in NHD. The initial stream flow investigations will begin with the Mid-Atlantic Highlands area. We will continue to develop landscape metrics based on direct measures of stream discharge to develop a regression relationship between watershed conditions and Index of Biotic Integrity. We are developing a hierarchical approach to model landscape and fine-scale habitat predictors of macro-invertebrate diversity (Erin Peterson, Ph.D. student).

Journal Articles on this Report : 4 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other subproject views: All 36 publications 5 publications in selected types All 4 journal articles
Other center views: All 302 publications 54 publications in selected types All 42 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
Journal Article Courbois JP, Urquhart NS. Comparison of survey estimates of the finite population variance. Journal of Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Statistics 2004;9(2):236-251. R829095 (2004)
R829095 (2005)
R829095 (Final)
R829095C003 (2003)
R829095C003 (2004)
R829096 (2003)
R829096 (2004)
R829096 (2005)
  • Abstract: SpringerLink
  • Journal Article Kincaid TM, Larsen DP, Urquhart NS. The structure of variation and its influence on the estimation of status: indicators of condition of lakes in Northeast, U.S.A. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 2004;98(1-3):1-21. R829095 (Final)
    R829095C003 (2003)
    R829095C003 (2004)
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Abstract: Springer-Abstract
  • Journal Article Larsen DP, Kaufmann PR, Kincaid TM, Urquhart NS. Detecting persistent change in the habitat of salmon-bearing streams in the Pacific Northwest. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 2004;61(2):283-291. R829095 (2004)
    R829095 (2005)
    R829095 (Final)
    R829095C003 (2003)
    R829095C003 (2004)
  • Full-text: Instituto de Ciencias Biologicas-Full Text PDF
  • Abstract: NRC Research Press Abstract
  • Journal Article Waite IR, Herlihy AT, Larsen DP, Urquhart NS, Klemm DJ. The effects of macroinvertebrate taxonomic resolution in large landscape bioassessments: an example from the Mid-Atlantic Highlands, U.S.A. Freshwater Biology 2004;49(4):474-489. R829095 (Final)
    R829095C003 (2004)
    R829498 (2003)
    R829498 (Final)
  • Abstract: Wiley - Abstract
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    GIS, tessellation stratified sampling, water quality, land cover, land use, accuracy, precision, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Aquatic Ecosystems & Estuarine Research, climate change, Air Pollution Effects, Aquatic Ecosystem, Environmental Monitoring, Atmosphere, EMAP, ecosystem monitoring, spatial and temporal modeling, aquatic ecosystems, water quality, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program, modeling ecosystems, STARMAP

    Relevant Websites:

    http://www.stat.colostate.edu/starmap Exit

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2002
  • 2003 Progress Report
  • 2005 Progress Report
  • Final Report

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R829095    Space-Time Aquatic Resources Modeling and Analysis Program (STARMAP)

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R829095C001 Combining Environmental Data Sets
    R829095C002 Local Inferences from Aquatic Studies
    R829095C003 Development and Evaluation of Aquatic Indicators
    R829095C004 Extension of Expertise on Design and Analysis to States and Tribes
    R829095C005 Integration and Coordination for STARMAP