5P Monitoring to Confirm Biological Impairment

Purpose

In preparing the Draft 2012 Impaired Waters List – released in December 2011 for public comment – WDNR identified a number of waterbodies as Total Phosphorus (TP) Watch Waters. Those waterbodies were ones in which the ambient TP concentrations exceeded the applicable numeric water quality criterion (WQC), but biological data was either unavailable or existing data did not indicate an impairment using the WisCALM guidance. This project will focus on the collection of both ambient TP data and biological data (i.e., Index of Biotic Integrity, chlorophyll a, etc.) for select Watch Waters with intentions filling data gaps for assessing the impairment status of these waters.

Objective

In the short-term, this project will be to help fill data gaps for the identified waterbodies in order to make more robust attainment recommendations in future Integrated Reports. In other words, the information obtained may allow Wisconsin to recommend moving a particular waterbody from Integrated Reporting Category 5P to either Category 2 or Category 5. Further, this information will help with the prioritization of additional management actions (i.e., development of site-specific criteria, TMDLs, supplemental monitoring, etc.). In the long-term, the data collected in support of this project will be used with other statewide data in Wisconsin’s efforts to develop and promulgate biological criteria and associated water quality thresholds in the Wisconsin Administrative Code. Once promulgated, those biological criteria could be used in connection with numeric water quality criteria to make a comprehensive attainment decision for waterbodies where representative biological and chemical data are available.

Outcome

A final report that summarizes findings of previously assessed data as well as all available data collected as part of this project will be prepared and submitted to EPA in February 2014. A key feature of this report will be a section which identifies any potential changes in the Integrated Reporting Category in future Impaired Waters Lists as a result of a comprehensive dataset – assuming such a Category change is supported by approved water quality standards. It is worth noting that the work described in this proposal is not duplicative of the work conducted as part of WDNR’s standard baseline monitoring strategy. For rivers and streams, WDNR implements a tiered monitoring approach. For Tier 1 assessments, a single visit is made to a given waterbody to collect primarily biological and limited physiochemical data. Those data are used the “flag” waters with suspected impairments for follow-up monitoring scheduled under Tier 2. Typically, Tier 2 monitoring involves multiple site visits to collect additional biological samples and physiochemical data to better determine the pollutant/stressor relationship that may be causing an impairment. The monitoring proposed for this project, however, is primarily targeted at sites where a potential stressor has already been identified (TP) and only additional biological data are needed to either confirm an impairment or identify waters that may require site-specific criteria. When supplemental biological data collected during this project indicates that the REC and FAL uses are being supported despite the exceedance of an applicable statewide TP criterion, development of site-specific criteria may be proposed if site specific information supports a different numeric TP criterion may be warranted.

Study Design

Total phosphorus samples, macroinvertebrate sample data needed to calculate the macroinvertebrate index of biotic integrity (M-IBI) and fish surveys needed to calculate the applicable fish indices of biotic integrity (F-IBI) will be collected from select waters meeting the following three data availability/assessment scenarios: 1) TP > WQC and Limited Biological Data: This category includes those waterbodies where applicable water quality criteria were exceeded based on TP data collected from one or more years and available, but limited, biological data (i.e., one IBI value) indicate that the Recreational Use (REC) and/or Fish and Aquatic Life Use (FAL) is marginally supported (e.g., fair biological condition category). The limited biological data from these waters may indicate marginally supporting conditions; however, the current biological condition – as measured by more contemporary IBI scores – may or may not be impaired given the uncertainty and expected range of variability of M-IBI and F-IBI scores for a given environmental condition. For these waterbodies, an additional fish survey and macroinvertebrate sample will be collected during the Spring 2013. Up to 30 stream sites (one site per assessment unit) will be sampled. 2)TP > WQC and Insufficient Biological Data: This category includes those waterbodies where applicable water quality criteria were exceeded based on TP data collected from one or more years and either no biological data or insufficient biological data were available for determining whether REC and/or FAL uses are supported. Biological data will be collected from approximately 10 stream segments and 20 lakes during the Spring/Summer 2013. At each stream site, one macroinvertebrate sample and one fish survey will be conducted. For each selected lake, 3 chlorophyll samples will be collected according to Wisconsin’s preferred sampling protocol (i.e., one sample per month in July, August and September). 3) Additional TP Data Needed from Flood-affected Waters: WDNR has identified stream segments in southern Wisconsin, where ambient TP concentrations used to assess the water for the 2012 assessment cycle may have been affected by extreme flooding that occurred in the August 2007 and June 2008. For many of these waterbodies, Staff does not believe the TP concentrations quantified in the samples associated with these waters are representative of normal, long-term average conditions. WDNR proposes to collect additional TP data from each of these waters during more representative periods or flow conditions. To ensure a complete dataset is collected from each of these sites, an additional six (6) TP samples will be collected monthly from May through October 2013. Further, a single, discrete fish and macroinvertebrate sample at each site in the spring of 2013 for the purposes of calculating IBI scores.

Related Reports

Run Project Summary Report
View Umbrella-Projects
View Related-Projects

TMDL/303d Projects
Determine Pollutants or Impairments
5P_2013 ATTAINS
2013
Complete
 
Reports and Documents
In preparing the 2012 Impaired Waters List, DNR identified stream monitoring stations around the state that required more data be collected, in order to make an accurate determination on whether or not the stream is indeed impaired for phosphorus. For this effort, volunteers monitored for phosphorus, while biologists conducted fish and macroinvertebrates surveys at this station to confirm the proposed impairment status for the Baraboo River.
In preparing the 2012 Impaired Waters List, DNR identified stream monitoring stations around the state that required more data be collected, in order to make an accurate determination on whether or not the stream is indeed impaired for phosphorus. For this effort, volunteers monitored for phosphorus, while biologists conducted fish and macroinvertebrates surveys at this station to confirm the proposed impairment status for De Neveu Creek.
In preparing the 2012 Impaired Waters List, DNR identified stream monitoring stations around the state that required more data be collected, in order to make an accurate determination on whether or not the stream is indeed impaired for phosphorus. For this effort, volunteers monitored for phosphorus, while biologists conducted fish and macroinvertebrates surveys at this station to confirm the proposed impairment status for De Neveu Creek.
In preparing the 2012 Impaired Waters List, DNR identified stream monitoring stations around the state that required more data be collected, in order to make an accurate determination on whether or not the stream is indeed impaired for phosphorus. For this effort, volunteers monitored for phosphorus, while biologists conducted fish and macroinvertebrates surveys at this station to confirm the proposed impairment status for the Grant River.
In preparing the 2012 Impaired Waters List, DNR identified stream monitoring stations around the state that required more data be collected, in order to make an accurate determination on whether or not the stream is indeed impaired for phosphorus. For this effort, volunteers monitored for phosphorus, while biologists conducted fish and macroinvertebrates surveys at this station to confirm the proposed impairment status for the Grant River.
In preparing the 2012 Impaired Waters List, DNR identified stream monitoring stations around the state that required more data be collected, in order to make an accurate determination on whether or not the stream is indeed impaired for phosphorus. For this effort, volunteers monitored for phosphorus, while biologists conducted fish and macroinvertebrates surveys at this station to confirm the proposed impairment status for the Grant River.
In preparing the 2012 Impaired Waters List, DNR identified stream monitoring stations around the state that required more data be collected, in order to make an accurate determination on whether or not the stream is indeed impaired for phosphorus. For this effort, volunteers monitored for phosphorus, while biologists conducted fish and macroinvertebrates surveys at this station to confirm the proposed impairment status for the Little Platte River.
In preparing the 2012 Impaired Waters List, DNR identified stream monitoring stations around the state that required more data be collected, in order to make an accurate determination on whether or not the stream is indeed impaired for phosphorus. For this effort, volunteers monitored for phosphorus, while biologists conducted fish and macroinvertebrates surveys at this station to confirm the proposed impairment status for the Little Platte River.
In preparing the 2012 Impaired Waters List, DNR identified stream monitoring stations around the state that required more data be collected, in order to make an accurate determination on whether or not the stream is indeed impaired for phosphorus. For this effort, volunteers monitored for phosphorus, while biologists conducted fish and macroinvertebrates surveys at this station to confirm the proposed impairment status for the Little Platte River.
In preparing the 2012 Impaired Waters List, DNR identified stream monitoring stations around the state that required more data be collected, in order to make an accurate determination on whether or not the stream is indeed impaired for phosphorus. For this effort, volunteers monitored for phosphorus, while biologists conducted fish and macroinvertebrates surveys at this station to confirm the proposed impairment status for the Little Platte River.
In preparing the 2012 Impaired Waters List, DNR identified stream monitoring stations around the state that required more data be collected, in order to make an accurate determination on whether or not the stream is indeed impaired for phosphorus. For this effort, volunteers monitored for phosphorus, while biologists conducted fish and macroinvertebrates surveys at this station to confirm the proposed impairment status for the Yellowstone River.
In preparing the 2012 Impaired Waters List, DNR identified stream monitoring stations around the state that required more data be collected, in order to make an accurate determination on whether or not the stream is indeed impaired for phosphorus. For this effort, volunteers monitored for phosphorus, while biologists conducted fish and macroinvertebrates surveys at this station to confirm the proposed impairment status for the Yellowstone River.
In preparing the 2012 Impaired Waters List, DNR identified stream monitoring stations around the state that required more data be collected, in order to make an accurate determination on whether or not the stream is indeed impaired for phosphorus. For this effort, volunteers monitored for phosphorus, while biologists conducted fish and macroinvertebrates surveys at this station to confirm the proposed impairment status for the Yellowstone River.
5P Monitoring to Confirm Biological Impairment 2014 Graphs
 
Activities & Recommendations
Monitor or Propose 303(d) Listing
In preparing the 2012 Impaired Waters List released in December 2011 for public comment WDNR identified a number of waterbodies as Total Phosphorus (TP) Watch Waters. Those waterbodies were ones in which the ambient TP concentrations exceeded the applicable numeric water quality criterion (WQC), but biological data was either unavailable or existing data did not indicate an impairment using the WisCALM guidance. This project will focus on the collection of both ambient TP data and biological data (i.e., Index of Biotic Integrity, chlorophyll a, etc.) for select Watch Waters with intentions filling data gaps for assessing the impairment status of these waters.