2004 Progress Report: Development, Testing, and Application of Ecological and Socioeconomic Indicators for Integrated Assessment of Aquatic Ecosystems of the Atlantic Slope in the Mid-Atlantic States

EPA Grant Number: R828684
Center: EAGLES - Atlantic Slope Consortium
Center Director: Brooks, Robert P.
Title: Development, Testing, and Application of Ecological and Socioeconomic Indicators for Integrated Assessment of Aquatic Ecosystems of the Atlantic Slope in the Mid-Atlantic States
Investigators: Brooks, Robert P. , Rheinhardt, Rick D. , Weller, Donald E. , O'Connor, Robert E. , Jordan, Thomas E. , Whigham, Dennis F. , Wardrop, Denice Heller , Gallegos, Charles L. , McElfish, James M. , Varnell, Lyle M. , Brinson, Mark M. , Marra, Peter P. , Shortle, James S. , Hines, Anson , Hershner, Carl , Nizeyimana, Egide , Thornton, Kent , Havens, Kirk
Current Investigators: Brooks, Robert P. , Bishop, Joseph A. , Wardrop, Denice Heller , Armstrong, Brian K. , Easterling, Mary M. , Hite, Jeremy T. , Rubbo, Jennifer , Thornton, Kent
Institution: Pennsylvania State University , East Carolina University , Atlantic Slope Consortium , Virginia Institute of Marine Science , Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Current Institution: Pennsylvania State University , FTN Associates, Ltd
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: March 1, 2001 through February 1, 2005 (Extended to February 28, 2006)
Project Period Covered by this Report: March 1, 2004 through February 1, 2005
Project Amount: $6,000,000
RFA: Environmental Indicators in the Estuarine Environment Research Program (2000) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Water , Aquatic Ecosystems

Objective:

The overall objective of the Atlantic Slope Consortium (ASC) is to develop and test a set of indicators in freshwater and coastal systems that are ecologically appropriate, economically reasonable, and relevant to society.  Specific objectives, as presented in the original proposed scope of work, are to:  (1) develop and test ecological and socioeconomic indicators of aquatic resource condition, construct models that use environmental, geographic, and stressor data to predict indicator responses, and use models to link upstream watersheds and downstream estuaries; (2) develop large scale measures for characterizing landscape attributes and land-use patterns to serve as predictors of a range of environmental conditions; and (3) deliver a nested suite of indicators to managers, where the implications of aggregating models at various scales are considered and for which reliability is known. 

These objectives were restated in the project vision statement, developed collaboratively by the project team, as described below.

The ASC uses a universe of watersheds, covering a range of social choices (as reflected in differing land use/land cover), and asks two questions: 

(1)  How “good” can the environment be, given those social choices?  
(2)  What is the intellectual model of condition within those choices, that is, what are the causes of condition and what are the steps for improvement?

Following development and articulation of the vision statement, many of the project tasks were oriented to specific portions of this statement.  This ensures that a common vision is consistently pursued throughout the project.

Progress Summary/Accomplishments:  Year 4 of the project included continued analysis of field data for indicator development, exploration of landscape-level indicators, administration of socioeconomic surveys and modeling, and integration of the various components of the project.  Additional details can be found in the reports for individual projects (see R828684C001 through R828684C004).  A 1-year, no-cost extension was granted for this project by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), extending the project end date to February 28, 2006.

Preparation of the final project report has begun.  The report will consist of three parts:  an executive summary that gives a brief synopsis of the project; a synthesis report that presents the project highlights; and a collection (on CD) of published articles, manuscripts, and other text, including indicator summary sheets, that provide details of the various project components.

The synthesis report will be organized according to four “messages” that the ASC management team identified as emerging from research during the prior year and served as organizing themes for the 1.5 years of the project.  These messages correspond roughly to the original subproposal and working group structure of the ASC.  The main difference is that Message 1 integrates across components of the project, and Message 2 relates to both the estuarine and optical indicators subproposals.  Messages 3 and 4 relate to the upstream watershed indicators and socioeconomic components of this project, respectively.

Below is description of indicators for which analyses are complete (or nearly complete).

Progress Summary:

Year 4 of the project included continued analysis of field data for indicator development, exploration of landscape-level indicators, administration of socioeconomic surveys and modeling, and integration of the various components of the project.  Additional details can be found in the reports for individual projects (see R828684C001 through R828684C004).  A 1-year, no-cost extension was granted for this project by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), extending the project end date to February 28, 2006.

Preparation of the final project report has begun.  The report will consist of three parts:  an executive summary that gives a brief synopsis of the project; a synthesis report that presents the project highlights; and a collection (on CD) of published articles, manuscripts, and other text, including indicator summary sheets, that provide details of the various project components.

The synthesis report will be organized according to four “messages” that the ASC management team identified as emerging from research during the prior year and served as organizing themes for the 1.5 years of the project.  These messages correspond roughly to the original subproposal and working group structure of the ASC.  The main difference is that Message 1 integrates across components of the project, and Message 2 relates to both the estuarine and optical indicators subproposals.  Messages 3 and 4 relate to the upstream watershed indicators and socioeconomic components of this project, respectively.

Below is description of indicators for which analyses are complete (or nearly complete).

Message 1-Integrating Tools

ASC researchers have developed an indicator taxonomy to guide managers in selecting appropriate ecological indicators (Figure 1).  This taxonomy considers the land use context (e.g., urban vs. forested), the type of assessment desired (e.g., condition assessment vs. diagnosis of stressors), and the spatial and temporal resolution required (e.g., site-level vs. watershed level).  Given the large number of potential indicators available, this taxonomy can help managers to choose the ones that are the most effective and efficient for their needs.

The Chesapeake Bay Program is currently using a version of this taxonomy to re-evaluate their existing suite of indicators.  In addition, this tool has been presented to the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound Science Advisory Committee and EPA’s National Estuary Program, and both programs are considering its use for selecting cost-effective indicators.  Because many programs are in the process of evaluating their indicators or developing new ones, the development of this taxonomy is timely.

Figure 1.  ACS Indicator Taxonomy

Message 2-Estuarine Indicators

Estuarine Faunal Indicators.  Analyses of estuarine faunal data, and associated physical and chemical habitat, have been focused on exploring the relationships among local, watershed, and regional-scale indicators, as well as linkages between abiotic and biotic indicators.  These abiotic predictors easily are measured and thus may serve as cost-effective indicators for targeting features for conservation or identifying areas that are likely to be degraded.  For example, we collected data on blue crab abundance, as well as associated water quality, sediment type, physical habitat, and adjacent land use/land cover.  Classification and Regression Tree (CART) analysis of these data showed that measured abiotic factors explained up to 51 percent of the variance in blue crab abundance.  The strongest predictors were salinity, watershed land-use, and the percent cover of wetlands along the shoreline.

Macrobenthic Community Indicators.  Two measures of biotic integrity of macrobenthic communities were developed for the nearshore estuarine environment:  (1) a benthic index of biological integrity in the nearshore (B-IBIN) and (2) the W-value, a statistical measure of abundance biomass curve comparisons.  The B-IBIN is comprised of several community measures specific to habitat type stratified by salinity and sediment composition; this index was applied at a site level.  The W-value represents the statistical relationship between abundance and biomass at a watershed level.  These indices primarily have been applied to offshore waters (> 2 m) and have not been tested widely in nearshore shallow-water systems.  Macrobenthic communities and habitat condition were surveyed at 5 sites in each of the 23 watersheds located within the oligomesohaline portions of estuarine segments.  For both of the biotic indices, the highest scores were associated with forested watersheds.  Nonparametric changepoint analysis indicated a significant reduction in B-IBIN and W-value scores when the amount of developed shoreline exceeded 10 percent and developed watershed exceeded 12 percent, respectively.

Fish Community Indicators.  A Fish Community Index (FCI) was developed for nearshore fish; this index was used to look for correlations with easily observed watershed and shoreline conditions.  The index is comprised of seven metrics of taxonomic richness and diversity, abundance, trophic composition, and nursery function.  Fish community assemblages and nearshore habitat were assessed at 5 sites in each of the 23 watersheds located within the oligomesohaline portions of estuarine segments.  Biotic responses were correlated with habitat condition in the nearshore, riparian zone, and watershed.  FCI scores were lower in developed and agriculture watersheds than in watersheds dominated by forests, but there were also negative impacts associated with local land use patterns and within habitat conditions.  The lowest average FCI scores were found in areas with highly altered shoreline conditions and minimal subtidal habitat.

Avian Indicators.  An Index of Marsh Bird Community Integrity (IMBCI) and an Index of Water Bird Community Integrity (IWCI) have been developed.  The IMBCI was developed to provide insight into estuarine wetland condition.  Bird communities were surveyed in 96 estuarine wetlands throughout the Chesapeake Bay.  IMBCI scores at the subestuary level were then compared to wetland habitat characteristics and land use coverages at various scales to identify potential stressors.  A threshold response to land use disturbance was observed:  when 15 percent of the land within 500 m of a marsh was developed, there was a significant decline in IMBCI scores.  The IWCI scored waterbird communities within 28 subestuaries of the Chesapeake Bay in 2002 and 2003.  IWCI scores were compared to other known indicators of estuarine condition and watershed land use coverages to identify potential stressors and their pathways.   Index scores showed a significant decline when 3.5 percent of the land within 500 m of the subestuary shoreline was developed.

Wetland Vegetation Indicators.  We examined relationships between watershed characteristics and the abundance and concentration of nitrogen in leaves of common reed (Phragmites australis) in 26 subestuaries of Chesapeake Bay.  Nitrate concentrations in Phragmites leaves ranged from approximately 1.5 to 3.3 percent and concentrations were highest (2.5 to 3.3%) in leaves of plants in subestuaries that received runoff from developed watersheds.  Phragmites also was more abundant in wetlands in subestuaries downstream of watersheds that received runoff from developed watersheds.  Further research is needed to establish the relationships between water quality and disturbance and the invasion and spread of Phragmites  in brackish wetlands.

Landscape Indicators-Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in White Perch.  Using data collected in 2002, total PCBs in white perch were related to the amount and spatial arrangement of developed land in watersheds that discharge into 14 subestuaries of Chesapeake Bay.  Simple regressions were used to test for relationships between unweighted or distance-weighted developed land-use measures, including four different representations of developed land.  Total PCBs ranged from less than 10 to more than 600 ng/g.  Based on EPA guidelines, all subestuaries with greater than 4 percent distance-weighted commercial land in their watersheds are highly likely (95% probability) to have white perch with total PCBs that would result in a consumption advisory of no more than one meal of white perch per month.

Optical Indicators.  Activities during Year 4 of the project focused on analysis of data collected and refinement of the optical indicator developed during the prior 2 years.  The indicator utilizes concentrations of optically active water quality parameters to determine whether sufficient light penetrates the water column for growth of submerged aquatic vegetation.  Differences in indicator values between vegetated and non-vegetated sites were found to be attributable to differences in water quality concentrations and to site-specific differences in mass-specific optical properties of the suspended particulate matter.  Sites classified as developed watersheds consistently exhibited lower indicator scores, whereas forested and agricultural watersheds showed only minor differences.  Because of the inferential design of the study, there are no clear ways to determine the mechanisms by which development alters the optical properties of the particulate matter.  Predictions of the optical indicator were found to be consistent with the depth limits of the Zostera bed at Middle Marsh, as determined by investigators with the Atlantic Coast Environmental Indicators Consortium (ACE INC) of the Estuarine and Great Lakes Environmental Indicators (EaGLes) Program.

Nutrient Indicators.  Water quality data were analyzed to evaluate the relationships between the dominant type of watershed land-use and nutrient concentrations in water samples collected at multiple sites in each of 26 subestuaries of Chesapeake Bay.  Watersheds that discharged into the subestuaries were classified, based on land-use composition, as being dominated by forests, agriculture, development, mixed-agriculture, or mixed-development.  In years with below (2002) and above (2003) normal precipitation, nutrient concentrations, especially nitrate and total nitrogen, were higher in subestuaries with watersheds dominated by development.  Nutrient concentrations were low in all other subestuaries in the dry year.  In the year with above average precipitation, subestuaries that received runoff from watersheds dominated by agriculture had higher nutrient concentrations.

Stream Indicators.  We examined relationships between watershed characteristics and macroinvertebrate assemblages in the freshwater portion of estuarine segments in Maryland using existing and new data collected in collaboration with the Maryland Biological Stream Survey.  Stream biota were related to land-cover using an extension of the partial Mantel test and the spatial arrangement between land-cover and streams was analyzed with several techniques.  Steam biota were found to be influenced directly and indirectly by many factors, especially watershed development.  Biotic assemblages changed markedly between 21 and 32 percent watershed development, and beyond 32 percent, the probability was almost 100 percent that all streams would be biologically impaired.  This number dropped to 18 to 23 percent when development near the stream was emphasized by using distance weights.  The study demonstrated the complexity of relationships between land-use and their arrangement and stream biota.  A threshold analysis showed that it takes relatively little development to drastically alter the species composition of stream macroinvertebrates.

Message 3-Upstream Watershed Indicators

Physical Habitat/ Landscape Indicators.  In Year 4 of the project, data collected in prior years using a new protocol for sampling streams, adjacent wetlands, and riparian areas-known as the “SWR protocol”-were used to create a composite assessment of condition for these three interrelated components of aquatic ecosystems.  Values of the resulting SWR Index were then compared with Index of Biotic Integrity values collected as part of the Maryland Biological Stream Survey for fish and benthic macroinvertebrates in selected watersheds of the study region.  For the most part, the SWR Index agreed with these more labor-intensive biotic indices when compared on a site-to-site basis.  The SWR Index also was compared with two landscape-level (GIS-based) indices of condition:  the first based on landscape characteristics in a 1-km radius circle around each SWR sample point, and the second based on landscape in the entire HUC-14 watershed.  Agreement was better for the former than the latter.  In cases where there was disagreement between the two indices, specific components of the indices were examined to diagnose the causes of degraded condition and to reconcile differences.  Work continues on developing better methods for scaling the SWR Index from the site to the watershed level.

Physical Habitat/Landscape Indicators-North Carolina Variant.  ASC researchers at East Carolina University developed a version of an integrative riparian assessment procedure for the North Carolina Ecosystem Enhancement Program (NCEEP).  The procedure was based on the SWR protocol described above and adapted for use in coastal plain watersheds.  The procedure was tested in three North Carolina watersheds, then applied by NCEEP in randomly chosen reaches of six watersheds.  The data collected were used to diagnose problems in the watersheds, compare conditions among watersheds, and determine the precision of users in scoring indicators.  Results are described in a report prepared for NCEEP.

Landscape Indicators-Nutrient Discharge.  An existing nutrient discharge model and GIS were used to explore the efficacy of geographic data (beyond physiographic province and land use/land cover) in predicting nutrient discharges.  Factors considered include the spatial arrangement of landscape features, particularly source areas and riparian forests; the effects of improved hydrologic characterization; and the influence of wetlands.

At least one indicator ¾ percent source to buffer ¾ has evolved from this work thus far.  This landscape indicator estimates the effective percentage of a source land cover type (e.g., cropland or developed land) in the watershed draining to a stream response point.  It is calculated from digital land cover, elevation, and stream maps using GIS.  Within a watershed, all surface flow paths leading downhill from source areas to a stream are identified.  Then, the area of uphill source area loading onto each flow path is divided by the length of riparian buffer that the flow path crosses.  These effective areas are summed across all flow paths and then divided by total watershed area to yield an effective source area percentage.  The percent source to buffer indicator was developed and tested for 503 small watersheds within 4 major physiographic provinces of the Chesapeake Bay drainage.  Values of the metric were compared with more traditional riparian buffer measures, such as the percentage of forest within 100 m of a stream.  Percent source to buffer was a stronger and more interpretable predictor of measured nitrate concentrations in streams than simple land cover proportion or traditional buffer measures, especially in the Coastal Plain physiographic province.

Message 4-Socioeconomic and Institutional Research

Human Dimensions of Ecological Indicators.  To gain a basic understanding of how ecological indicators are differentially perceived and labeled by policymakers, ecological scientists, and the general public, we conducted facilitated interviews with each of these groups over the course of this project.  We interviewed 46 policymakers (primarily state and federal officials involved in water quality decisionmaking) and found that properties of useful indicators vary by what they are being used for:  setting priorities, regulatory enforcement, monitoring and assessment, or communication to stakeholder groups.

We also conducted focus groups with ecological scientists to gain an understanding of their terminology, their assessments of ecological quality, and the data they utilize to create these assessments.  To this end, we conducted focus groups with ecologists at Pennsylvania State University, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, East Carolina University, and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

Further, to help us understand watershed specific environmental quality, threats to current conditions, use patterns, and terminology, we conducted focus groups with the general public in six watersheds across the region (a subsample of those selected to subsequently receive a mail survey).  These watersheds represent a broad range of ecological and socioeconomic conditions.  A total of 53 members of the general public participated in these groups.  We found that water quality is recognized as generally important to quality of life but that there is low public awareness of “conventional” indicator terminology and relatively poor recognition of interconnections between land use and water quality.

These focus groups provided the basis and “ground-truthing” for developing a mail survey that helped us to understand quality of life and how it relates to use and perceived ecological quality of local watershed conditions, as well as how watershed quality is valued economically and potentially threatened by multiple factors.  This survey was developed and pilot tested during Year 4 of the project, and is currently being implemented in eight watersheds in the Atlantic Slope Region.  Several of these (Spring Creek, n=550, and Clearfield Creek, n=435) are nearing completion.  Several others (Ware River, n=392, and Chickahominy River, n=560) are just underway, with mailings in four other watersheds still to be implemented during summer 2005.  Data from these surveys will be compiled and analyzed in fall 2005.

Institutional Issues and Water Quality Indicators.  During Year 4 of the project, a final focal area for the Socioeconomic and Institutional Research working group has been an examination of the role of federal and state laws and institutions in shaping the choice and use of indicators.  A paper describing the results of this research recently has been accepted for publication in the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law (see 2004 Annual Report Summary for subproject R828684C004).

Future Activities:

The final year of the project will be devoted to completion of remaining analyses, continued preparation and submittal of manuscripts, research presentations at conferences, and preparation of the final project report.


Journal Articles: 36 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other center views: All 158 publications 43 publications in selected types All 36 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
Journal Article Baker ME, Weller DE, Jordan TE. Improved methods for quantifying potential nutrient interception by riparian buffers. Landscape Ecology 2006;21(8):1327-1345.
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  • Journal Article Baker ME, Weller DE, Jordan TE. Comparison of automated watershed delineations: effects on land cover areas, percentages, and relationships to nutrient discharge. Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing 2006;72(2):159-168. R828684C003 (Final)
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    Journal Article Baker ME, Weller DE, Jordan TE. Effects of stream map resolution on measures of riparian buffer distribution and nutrient retention potential. Landscape Ecology 2007;22(7):973-992.
    abstract available  
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    R831369 (2006)
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  • Journal Article Bilkovic DM, Roggero M, Hershner CH, Havens KH. Influence of land use on macrobenthic communities in nearshore estuarine habitats. Estuaries and Coasts 2006;29(6):1185-1195.
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  • Journal Article Borisova T, Shortle JS, Horan RD, Abler DG. The value of information for water quality protection. Water Resources Research 2005;41(6):W06004.
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  • Journal Article Brooks R, McKenney-Easterling M, Brinson M, Rheinhardt R, Havens K, O'Brien D, Bishop J, Rubbo J, Armstrong B, Hite J. A Stream-Wetland-Riparian (SWR) index for assessing condition of aquatic ecosystems in small watersheds along the Atlantic slope of the eastern U.S. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 2009;150(1-4):101-117.
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  • Journal Article DeLuca WV, Studds CE, Rockwood LL, Marra PP. Influence of land use on the integrity of marsh bird communities of Chesapeake Bay, USA. Wetlands 2004;24(4):837-847. R828684C001 (2004)
    R828684C001 (Final)
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    Journal Article DeLuca WV, Studds CE, King RS, Marra PP. Coastal urbanization and the integrity of estuarine waterbird communities: threshold responses and the importance of scale. Biological Conservation 2008;141(11):2669-2678.
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  • Journal Article Gallegos CL, Biber PD. Diagnostic tool help set water quality targets for restoring submerged aquatic vegetation in Chesapeake Bay. Ecological Restoration 2004;22(4):1441-1451 R828684C002 (2004)
    R828677C004 (2004)
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    Journal Article Gallegos CL, Jordan TE, Hines AH, Weller DE. Temporal variability of optical properties in a shallow, eutrophic estuary: seasonal and interannual variability. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 2005;64(2-3):156-170.
    abstract available   full text available
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  • Full-text: Science Direct - Full Text HTML
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  • Journal Article Goetz S, Fiske G. Linking the diversity and abundance of stream biota to landscapes in the mid-Atlantic USA. Remote Sensing of Environment 2008;112(11):4075-4085.
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  • Journal Article Goetz SJ. Remote sensing of riparian buffers: past progress and future prospects. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 2006;42(1):133-143.
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  • Journal Article Hershner C, Havens K, Bilkovic DM, Wardrop D. Assessment of Chesapeake Bay program selection and use of indicators. EcoHealth 2007;4(2):187-193.
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  • Journal Article Horan RD, Shortle JS, Abler DG. The coordination and design of point-nonpoint trading programs and agri-environmental policies. Agricultural and Resource Economics Review 2004;33(1):61-78.
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  • Journal Article Horan RD, Shortle JS. When two wrongs make a right: second-best point-nonpoint trading ratios. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 2005;87(2):340-352.
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  • Journal Article Hychka KC, Wardrop DH, Brooks RP. Enhancing a landscape assessment with intensive data: a case study in the Upper Juniata watershed. Wetlands 2007;27(3):446-461.
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  • Journal Article King RS, Richardson CJ. Integrating bioassessment and ecological risk assessment: an approach to developing numerical water-quality criteria. Environmental Management 2003;31(6):795-809.
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  • Journal Article King RS, Beaman JR, Whigham DF, Hines AH, et al. Watershed land use is strongly linked to PCBs in white perch in Chesapeake Bay subestuaries. Environmental Science & Technology 2004;38(24):6546-6552. R828684C001 (2004)
    R828684C001 (Final)
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  • Journal Article King RS, Baker ME, Whigham DF, Weller DE, Jordan TE, Kazyak PF, Hurd MK. Spatial considerations for linking watershed land cover to ecological indicators in streams. Ecological Applications 2005;15(1):137-153.
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  • Journal Article King RS, Hines AH, Craige FD, Grap S. Regional, watershed, and local correlates of blue crab and bivalve abundances in subestuaries of Chesapeake Bay, USA. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 2005;319(1-2):101-116. R828684 (Final)
    R828684C001 (2003)
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    Journal Article King RS, Deluca WV, Whigham DF, Marra PP. Threshold effects of coastal urbanization on Phragmites australis (common reed) abundance and foliar nitrogen in Chesapeake Bay. Estuaries and Coasts 2007;30(3):469-481.
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  • Journal Article Marshall E, Shortle J. Using DEA and VEA to evaluate quality of life in the mid-Atlantic states. Agriculture and Resource Economics Review 2005;34(2):185-203. R828684C004 (Final)
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    Journal Article McElfish Jr. JM, Varnell LM. Designing environmental indicator systems for public decisions. Columbia Journal of Environmental Law 2006;31(1):45-86.
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  • Journal Article Myers WL, McKenney-Easterling M, Hychka K, Griscom B, Bishop JA, Bayard A, Rocco GL, Brooks RP, Constantz G, Patil GP, Taillie C. Contextual clustering for configuring collaborative conservation of watersheds in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands. Environmental and Ecological Statistics 2006;13(4):391-407.
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  • Journal Article Myers WL, Kurihara K, Patil GP, Vraney R. Finding upper-level sets in cellular surface data using echelons and saTScan. Environmental and Ecological Statistics 2006;13(4):379-390.
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  • Journal Article Niemi G, Wardrop D, Brooks R, Anderson S, Brady V, Paerl H , Rakocinski C, Brouwer M, Levinson B, McDonald M. Rationale for a new generation of indicators for coastal waters. Environmental Health Perspectives 2004;112(9):979-986.
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  • Journal Article Patil GP, Brooks RP, Myers WL, Rapport DJ, Taillie C. Ecosystem health and its measurement at landscape scale: toward the next generation of quantitative assessments. Ecosystem Health 2001;7(4):307-316.
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  • Journal Article Patil GP, Bishop JA, Myers WL, Taillie C, Vraney R, Wardrop D. Detection and delineation of critical areas using echelons and spatial scan statistics with synoptic cellular data. Environmental and Ecological Statistics 2004;11(2):139-164.
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  • Journal Article Patil GP, Taillie C. Multiple indicators, partially ordered sets, and linear extensions:multi-criterion ranking and prioritization. Environmental and Ecological Statistics 2004;11(2):199-228.
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  • Journal Article Patil GP, Taillie C. Upper level set scan statistic for detecting arbitrarily shaped hotspots. Environmental and Ecological Statistics 2004;11(2):183-197.
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  • Other: Environmental and Ecological Statistics
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  • Journal Article Ranjan R, Marshall L, Shortle J. Optimal renewable resource management in the presence of endogenous risk of invasion. Environmental and Resource Economics 2008;89(4):273-283.
    abstract available  
    R828684 (Final)
    R828684C004 (2003)
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Abstract: Science Direct - Abstract
    Exit
  • Journal Article Rheinhardt RD, Brinson MM, Christian RR, Miller KH, Meyer GF. A reference-based framework for evaluating the ecological condition of stream networks in small watersheds. Wetlands 2007;27(3):524-542.
    abstract available  
    R828684 (Final)
  • Abstract: Bioone Abstract
    Exit
  • Journal Article Rheinhardt RD, McKenney-Easterling M, Brinson MM, Masina-Rubbo J, Brooks RP, Whigham DF, O'Brien D, Hite JT, Armstrong BK. Canopy composition and forest structure provide restoration targets for low-order riparian ecosystems. Restoration Ecology 2009;17(1):51-59.
    abstract available  
    R828684 (Final)
  • Abstract: Ingenta Connect
    Exit
  • Journal Article Rheinhardt R, Brinson M, Brooks R, McKenney-Easterling M, Rubbo JM, Hite J, Armstrong B. Development of a reference-based method for identifying and scoring indicators of condition for coastal plain riparian reaches. Ecological Indicators 2007;7(2):339-361.
    abstract available   full text available
    R828684 (Final)
  • Full-text: Science Direct Full-text
    Exit
  • Abstract: Science Direct Abstract
    Exit
  • Other: Science Direct Full-text pdf
    Exit
  • Journal Article Theobald DM, Goetz SJ, Norman JB, Jantz P. Watersheds at risk to increased impervious surface cover in the conterminous United States. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering 2009;14(4):362-368.
    abstract available   full text available
    R828684 (Final)
  • Abstract: AIP Abstract
    Exit
  • Other: WHRC
    Exit
  • Journal Article Wardrop DH, Bishop JA, Easterling M, Hychka K, Myers W, Patil GP, Taillie C. Use of landscape and land use parameters for classification and characterization of watersheds in the mid-Atlantic across five physiographic provinces. Environmental and Ecological Statistics 2005;12(2):209-223.
    abstract available  
    R828684 (2002)
    R828684 (Final)
    R828684C003 (2003)
    R828684C003 (2004)
  • Abstract: Springer Abstract
    Exit
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    indicators, integrated assessment, aquatic ecosystem, wetland, stream, estuary, watershed, biological integrity, landscape ecology, scaling, socio-economic, decision-making, GIS, Mid-Atlantic,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Waste, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Hydrology, Nutrients, Contaminated Sediments, Wastewater, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Ecosystem Protection, Economics, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Mid-Atlantic, Ecological Risk Assessment, Ecology and Ecosystems, Biology, Ecological Indicators, remote sensing, coastal ecosystem, aquatic ecosystem, bioindicator, degradation, ecological exposure, ecosystem assessment, watersheds, aquatic biota , contaminated sediment, socioeconomics, biomonitoring, ecological assessment, estuarine ecosystems, integrated assessment, nutrient stress, ecosystem indicators, Atlantic Slope Consortium, aquatic ecosystems, environmental stress, integrative indicators, water quality, bioindicators, ecosystem stress

    Relevant Websites:

    http://www.asc.psu.edu
    https://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/display.files/fileID/7680 (PDF) (8 pp., 3.4MB) about PDF)

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2001 Progress Report
  • 2002 Progress Report
  • 2003 Progress Report
  • Final Report
  • Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R828684C001 Integrated Assessment of Estuarine Ecosystems
    R828684C002 Development of an Optical Indicator of Habitat Suitability for Submersed Aquatic Vegetation
    R828684C003 Integrated Assessment of Watersheds
    R828684C004 Socioeconomic and Institutional Research