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State Surface Water Monitoring Strategies and Examples

The following is a partial list of State Monitoring Strategies available on the internet or this web site.  Brief program descriptions are provided for selected States (Indiana, Maryland, Nebraska, South Carolina, West Virginia).

Surface Waters

State Internet Exit Disclaimer pdf file (Acrobat Reader Required)
Alaska www.dec.state.ak.us/water/wqsar/monitoring/DEC_monitoring_strategy_final_2005.pdf AK_monitoring_strategy_2005 (1.6 MB, 58 pp)
Florida www.dep.state.fl.us/water/monitoring/docs/iwrmdoc.pdf> Integrated Water Resource Monitoring (732 KB)
Idaho www2.state.id.us/deq/news/august_02/august05_02.htm Surface Water Monitoring Strategy - Draft (3.9 MB)
Indiana Surface Water Quality Monitoring Strategy (14 MB)
Maryland   Maryland Water Monitoring Strategy (1.6 MB)
Ohio www.epa.state.oh.us/dsw/bioassess/ohstrat.html Ohio EPA Five-Year Surface Water Monitoring Strategy: 2000-2004  Non-probability ( 2.7 MB)
South Carolina State of South Carolina Monitoring Strategy (1.2 MB)
West Virginia   West Virginia's Monitoring Strategy (1 MB)

Estuaries       Go To Top

Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas www.epa.gov/ged/framework.pdf A Framework for an Integrated and Comprehensive Monitoring Plan for the Estuaries of the Gulf of Mexico

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Brief State Probability Monitoring Program Descriptions
Alaska DEC requires both regional information and waterbody specific information to assess the health of Alaska's aquatic resources. Regional information is used for describing the current status, the long-term trends, as well as the benchmark ecological conditions of Alaska's water resources. Regional information is generally obtained from multiple waterbodies or locations within the same eco-region or similar geographic province. Waterbody specific information is required to assess whether a waterbody is attaining its designated use(s) or whether it requires active stewardship or restoration, and serves as a basis for making permitting decisions. DEC employs three basic monitoring approaches to accomplish its monitoring and assessment objectives.
1. Probabilistic/Randomized Designs in which all waters of a certain category (lakes, streams, rivers, coastal areas, etc.), and located within a specific eco-region, make up a population from which an unbiased subset are randomly selected for monitoring. DEC follows certain criteria for defining the population and selecting sample sites in order to generate a data set with a known level of statistical confidence. DEC is utilizing probabilistic monitoring in its Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) to assess the overall status and trends of Alaska's marine and freshwater resources. DEC is encouraging other agencies to adopt the EMAP approach for establishing regional baseline information.
2. Targeted Approach in which a waterbody is specifically selected for monitoring based on impairment concerns or the need to establish its current attainment status, a TMDL, long-term trends or permit conditions and limits.
3. Census Designs in which all waters in a category, such as designated bathing beaches, are sampled at a defined frequency.  Go To Top
South Carolina uses a statewide probability design network in addition to the fixed station integrator network described earlier. The probability network provides data to make inferences, with known statistical confidence, about the condition of the state's water resources. The design is stratified by waterbody type: streams, lakes/reservoirs, and estuarine resources. Within each stratum the state uses unequal weighting to ensure sufficient sampling across subpopulations. Each sample location is monitored annually for indicators of biological condition, habitat, and sediment quality. The state conducts more frequent monitoring for specific physical/chemical indicators.  Go To Top
Maryland's biological stream survey monitoring program is designed to provide a statistically unbiased estimate of the condition of wadeable (first- through third-order) nontidal streams and rivers. Basins in the state are divided into three geographic regions for assessment purposes. From 1995 to 1997, basins in one geographic region were sampled each year, and one basin in each region was sampled twice. Random monitoring site selections were made from all sections of streams that could physically be sampled. Approximately equal numbers of first-, second-, and third-order streams were sampled. The number of sampling sites of each stream order in a basin was proportional to the number of miles of the stream order in the state. The sampling strategy was designed to allow Maryland to develop statistically valid estimates of largemouth bass densities, miles of streams with degraded physical habitat, and miles of streams with poor Index of Biological Integrity scores. Other types of monitoring programs (generally judgmental) apply to lakes, larger order streams, and wetlands and estuaries.   Go To Top
Historically, West Virginia has employed a targeted water quality monitoring program for streams/rivers to focus on known or suspected pollution problems. The state is divided into 32 watersheds (8-digit HUC), which are organized into 5 watershed groups. One watershed group is monitored in each year of the state's 5-year rotating assessment monitoring cycle. A list of streams for the watershed group is developed from EPA's Water Body System database, and samples are selected from as many listed streams as possible close to the mouth of the stream. In 1997, West Virginia established a random monitoring program to complement the targeted stream program. Approximately 30 to 45 stream locations within a watershed group are selected randomly from an EPA database to allow development of statistical comparisons among watersheds.  Go To Top
Nebraska employs a rotating basin approach for water quality assessment monitoring. The monitoring strategy targets resources in two or three river basins annually to allow for intensive efforts to increase the identification and abatement of pollution problems. Monitoring is conducted for rivers/streams, lakes, and wetlands located within the selected basins. All 13 water basins in Nebraska are monitored over 5 years. Since 1997, Nebraska's biological monitoring program has been based on a probabilistic methodology developed in association with EPA. Approximately 40 biological monitoring sites are selected randomly each year from the perennial streams within the water basin of interest for that year. Sample sites for other monitoring purposes are selected to best represent monitoring objectives and are based on professional judgment. The approach also supports coordination and integration of environmental programs through a Basin Management Approach.  Go To Top
Indiana employs a 5-year rotating basin (eight-digit HUCs) approach to monitoring surface waters. The strategy includes fixed stations, randomly selected stations for biological and water chemistry monitoring, pesticide monitoring, bacteriological monitoring, NPDES permit monitoring, TMDL development monitoring, and targeted fish and surficial aquatic sediment monitoring. The monitoring strategy is designed to describe the overall environmental quality of each basin and to identify impaired waters.   Go To Top

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