2005 Progress Report: Extension of Expertise on Design and Analysis to States and Tribes

EPA Grant Number: R829095C004
Subproject: this is subproject number 004 , 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: Extension of Expertise on Design and Analysis to States and Tribes
Investigators: Urquhart, N. Scott , Davis, Richard A. , Johnson, Stephen , Stevens, Don L.
Institution: Colorado State University , Oregon State University
Current Institution: Colorado State University , Oregon State University , Water Quality Technology, Inc.
EPA Project Officer: Hiscock, Michael
Project Period: October 1, 2001 through September 30, 2006
Project Period Covered by this Report: October 1, 2004 through September 30, 2005
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


The objectives of this research project are to: (1) identify and establish the statistical needs of personnel in state and tribal environmental management agencies (target audience); and (2) prepare, test, and deliver various (traditional, electronic, and Web-based) means of delivering relevant information to the target audience.

Progress Summary:

Development of browser-based learning materials has continued. A decision to represent all material in pdf format has been made, and Stacey Hancock, a statistics graduate student, incorporated video clips of the field training into the materials. Hari Iyer has become actively involved in this effort.

A Colorado State University graduate student attended and videotaped the Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) training session at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Western Ecology Division Laboratory in May 2004. This material is being incorporated into Part 4 of the learning materials.

Wetlands are included in aquatic systems. On June 14-15, 2005, Urquhart participated in a review of the methodology being used for the upcoming National Wetlands Status and Trends Report, due out in December 2005. This produced other contacts and a wetlands dataset, the investigation of which just started.

Personnel from Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are designing an expanded sampling of wetlands over 175 National Wetland Inventory (NWI) plots. Urquhart has assisted in that design effort. DNR personnel have supplied Space-Time Aquatic Resources Modeling and Analysis Program (STARMAP) with the areas of 17 wetland classes for Minnesota’s 175 NWI 2-mile square plots and the analogous data for the plots divided into 4 and 16 subplots. The objective of this subproject will be to incorporate costs into making decisions about optimal size of wetland monitoring plots. Preliminary spatial analysis is interesting. Urquhart also collaborated with Brian Gray of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) on this trip.

The director actively recruited high school students into statistics by giving talks to two advanced placement statistics classes in a Fort Collins, Colorado, high school. Scheduling constraints in previously visited high schools precluded revisits this reporting year, but they will be revisited during Year 5 of the project. He distributed materials for use by teachers of statistics classes.

Giovanna Ranalli continued her collaboration with Henry A. Walker of EPA’s Atlantic Ecology Division in Narragansett, Rhode Island, and Phillip Trowbridge of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services in Concord, New Hampshire. See the annual report for R829095C002 for further information on this.

Other Science To Achieve Results (STAR) Grantees

Alix Gitelman continues collaborations with Ken Reckhow of the North Carolina Water Resources Research Institute.

Collaborative relations continue with Hoeting and Theobald with the following Colorado State University investigators, also funded by EPA’s STAR Program: Leroy Poff (Biology), Brian Bledsoe (Civil Engineering), and Will Clements (Fish and Wildlife Biology). A new statistics student has begun working closely with Bledsoe.

Urquhart has finished editing a special issue of Environmental and Ecological Statistics, based on the Graybill Conference for which he served as program chair.

Stevens planned the Joint Annual Program Meeting. This meeting was a success in terms of both content and attendees. Designs and Models for Aquatic Resource Surveys (DAMARS) and STARMAP personnel continued to work with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) on the joint sessions.

Doctoral student Leigh Ann Harrod (Oregon State University) has created a manual titled “Ignorable Nonresponse Adjustment Procedures and Algorithms,” with an accompanying CD-ROM. The manual guides the user through data analysis for probability-based survey data with nonresponse, provides documentation for the weighting adjustment functions, and provides a copy of the R software. Virginia Lesser and Breda Munoz have reviewed the manual. Harrod gave a presentation on the software as a part of the short course given in conjunction with the conference on Statistics for Aquatic Resources: Monitoring Modeling, and Management.

Stevens visited the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) from October 18-20, 2004. SFEI has used a Generalized Random Tessellation Stratified (GRTS)-based rotating panel design for monitoring trace contaminants in the San Francisco estuary since 2002. Stevens worked with personnel at SFEI on the analysis of data resulting from a variable probability survey design and acquainted them with the R software for survey design being developed by Tony Olsen from EPA.

Stevens visited with mathematics faculty and students at Eastern Oregon State University in La Grande, Oregon, on November 3-4, 2004. The purpose of the visit was to interest potential graduate students in environmental statistics. He presented a seminar entitled, “Environmental Monitoring, Statistics, and the Art of Non-Representation: The Need and Evidence for a Paradigm Shift.” He also visited a mathematical modeling class and discussed statistical modeling, using Oregon coastal coho salmon population as an example.

Stevens presented two seminars at the EPA Western Ecology Division laboratory in November 2004. “The Generalized Random Tessellation Stratified Sampling Design for Selecting Spatially-Balanced Samples” was presented on November 2, 2004, and “Local Neighborhood Variance Estimator For GRTS Survey Designs” (with Tony Olsen) was presented on November 16, 2004.

At the 2004 Joint Program Meeting, our Science Advisory Committee (SAC) recommended that the two programs undertake and publicize a large case study. The program’s directors, in consultation with program personnel, concluded that a special issue of an environmental statistics journal would be a preferred mechanism. Stevens contacted the editor of Environmetrics and received a positive response. Tentative timing is for papers to be ready for review by early 2006, with a publication target in mid-2006.

The concept for the special issue is a series of papers that address the major features of any survey of an aquatic resource from design issues to analysis and presentation issues. ODFW and the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds (OPSW) have a number of questions that could be addressed by the analysis methodology developed by the two programs, and a rich collection of datasets to use to develop and illustrate the methodology, so it is possible that most of the papers in the special issue could use ODFW/OPSW data. That, however, would not be a requirement. A number of statistical issues that are potential topics for the special issue have been identified. Some of these are listed below:

  • How to use all available data in an analysis. In many instances, both probability and nonprobability data are available (e.g., the habitat basis surveys or special focus fish studies). How can these types of data be combined?
  • How to account for missing data. ODFW has a strong indication that land use/ownership is a powerful explanatory variable, and there is a differential in the access rate between the various classes; therefore, imputation methods are needed.
  • Need for post-stratification. In some cases, data are not missing, but there is a mismatch between the class proportions of a basin derived from GIS and the sample proportions, suggesting a need to post-stratify. What is the best way to do so?
  • Small area estimation. The original coho survey was designed to provide answers at the level of five monitoring areas, which were loosely based on Evolutionarily Significant Units. Current guidance, however, is that there are more than 30 populations that need to be treated as distinct under the Endangered Species Act. Some of these populations have limited geographic extent, and the present sampling design provides very few observations.
  • Design modification/sample re-allocation. Along the same lines, can the present sample be reallocated to put more sample points in the small populations? What is the impact on the panel structure? The present design includes an annual panel, a 3-year panel, a 9-year panel, and a 27-year panel. It seems that annual visits are too frequent for habitat observations. How can we reallocate the habitat sample with minimal impact on site colocation with juvenile and adult samples?
  • Plot design. Several available datasets could be used to address the trade-off between extent of a particular plot and number of plots or to look at local versus larger scale spatial correlation. These include both habitat and fish data.
  • Reference sites and how to use them? Related to the “use of all data question.” Some reference sites were chosen subjectively; some were picked from the probability samples. What is the appropriate way to compare the cumulative distribution function (CDF) of a population estimated from a probability sample to a “reference CDF”? More basically, what is the “reference CDF”?
  • Measurement error biases/impact of varying detection probability. There are a number of datasets that could be used to examine some detection probability questions or, more generally, the impact of measurement errors on population estimates. Also, some of the metrics (e.g., counts from snorkeling) appear to be consistent at a site but to vary from site to site. That is, repeat observations at the same site at different times by different crews seem to yield consistent detection probabilities but that probability varies substantially from site to site.
  • Multiscale data. ODFW has compiled land use/ownership data, but other GIS coverages are available from CLAMS or could be created using the GIS tools being developed by Dave Theobald at Colorado State University. What are the appropriate coverages and how best to use them in conjunction with the site-specific?
  • Misaligned data. This is a similar issue to above but with different datasets collected at different sites, possibly the same scale
  • Data display. Ruben Smith has developed some methods for displaying spatial pattern. The SAC also suggested that the programs consider other graphical methods of displaying and visualizing data, such as some of the methods developed by Dan Carr.
  • Trend detection. The rotating panel was designed to both quantify current status and detect trend. What is the appropriate analysis to detect trend? Also, how does one account for effects such as changing ocean conditions to address assessment of impact of watershed management? What is the connection between linear model and design-based approaches?
  • Status assessment. The current tool is the CDF based on data collected in a single year but both spatial and temporal correlation are present. In addition, ancillary information is available. How can all of this be used to improve precision of current status estimates?

Stevens has continued working with the Core Development Team for the California Rapid Assessment Method (CRAM) for wetland condition. The Core Development Team includes representatives from EPA Region 9, SFEI, the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, the California Conservation Core, the California Coastal Commission, and the University of California at Los Angeles. The CRAM is modeled on Ohio RAM and is being extended to cover wetland types in California (e.g., salt marshes, and wetlands with tidal influenced). In January 2005, Stevens met with the Core Development Team to discuss approaches to calibrating CRAM. The proposed approach was submitted to EPA Region 9 for approval. Calibration will take place in late 2005 through early 2006.

Stevens presented a workshop on Experimental and Survey Design in Fisheries: A Statistics Workshop at the Annual Meeting of the Oregon Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, February 16, 2005.

Stevens presented two short courses in 2005. “Statistical Design and Analysis for Environmental Monitoring” was a half-day course presented at the State of the Salmon Conference–2005 in Anchorage, Alaska, in April 2005. “Designing Aquatic Resource Surveys” was a full-day course presented in conjunction with the conference on Statistics for Aquatic Resources: Monitoring Modeling, and Management in Corvallis, Oregon in September 2005. The primary audience for both courses was aquatic monitoring practitioners in federal, state and tribal agencies. The Anchorage, Alaska, course had approximately 15 attendees and more than 60 persons attended the Corvallis, Oregon, course.

Stevens participated in the redesign of the monitoring plan for San Francisco Bay as part of a design team consisting of representatives from the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI), USEPA Region 9, DAMARS, USGS, and San Francisco Bay Area Regional Water Resource Control Board. The design is an excellent example of using prior information to guide design. Separate designs were put in place for water column and sediment. The sediment design applies Rotating Panel GRTS methodology. Stevens has been working with SFEI to complete the revision of the report on the redesign of the San Francisco Estuary Regional Monitoring Program in response to reviewer comments. The report has been published and is available at: http://www.sfei.org/rmp/Technical_Reports/RMP_2002_No109_RedesignProcess.pdf Exit .

Future Activities:

A substantial effort will be invested in the learning materials in the coming year. Students in statistics at Colorado State University have been involved. A new student, Daniel Hernandez-Stumpfhauser (M.S.), has recently become involved. Stacey Hancock (Ph.D.), and Jay Araas (M.S.) continue to be involved actively.

The STARMAP Director will continue to coordinate outreach activities with the National Water Quality Monitoring Council, the Southern California Coastal Water Research Program, SFEI, Oregon State University, and other agencies.

The Director will nurture contacts with various state and tribal entities as opportunities develop.

The Director will continue to contact high school teachers of advanced placement statistics to facilitate recruitment of students into undergraduate statistics majors/concentrations, as part of an effort to eventually recruit more graduate students into environmental statistics.

Anticipated Research Outputs

  • Individualized, browser-based, learning materials related to EMAP-type monitoring of surface waters, available to states and tribes and probably distributed by the Council of State Governments.

Journal Articles on this Report : 1 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other subproject views: All 59 publications 1 publications in selected types All 1 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 Hoeting JA, Davis RA, Merton AA, Thompson SE. Model selection for geostatistical models. Ecological Applications 2006;16(1):87-98. R829095 (Final)
R829095C001 (2004)
R829095C001 (2005)
R829095C004 (2005)
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Full-text: Colorado State University-Full Text PDF
  • Abstract: ESA-Abstract
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    outreach, distance learning, web-based learning, needs-based instruction, accommodating cultural differences,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Aquatic Ecosystems & Estuarine Research, Aquatic Ecosystem, Environmental Monitoring, EMAP, ecosystem monitoring, spatial and temporal modeling, outreach and training, aquatic ecosystems, water quality, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program, States and Tribes, modeling ecosystems, STARMAP

    Relevant Websites:

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

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2002
  • 2003 Progress Report
  • 2004 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