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Bioassessment Training, Evaluation, and Quality Assurance

DEP Stream Biological Assessment Methods

Biological Assessment Training Requirements - DEP Bioassessment Training and Testing Guidelines: Rivers and Streams

Bioassessment Testing Registry - Searchable query for individuals who have completed a sampling audit to support either SCI or BioRecon sampling events.

DEP Field SOPs

Quality of Science e-newsletter – Register for this e-newsletter to receive announcements from DEP about training or testing opportunities.

Field Sampling Forms

Additional Resources

Video training - Stream Ecology, Module 1

Stream Condition Index

The training process described in the following links is required.  Anyone wishing to submit SCI data to DEP must pass an initial demonstration of proficiency (SCI field audit) and pass a refresher audit every 5 years thereafter. Contact Ashley O’Neal to schedule an initial or refresher SCI audit (including the online SCI test).

Samplers wishing to become proficient in SCI sampling should do the following:

  • Attend DEP SCI/HA class. This class is taught once a year at the Bear Creek Education Center near Tallahassee, and once a year in the Tampa area. Training opportunities are announced through Quality of Science e-newsletter.
  • Complete SCI training as directed in the checklist with one or more trainers who passed the SCI audit. Keep a list of training sites and dates.
  • Complete 9 training sites, as directed in the checklist, in which the trainee is practicing the method. The trainer should observe and critique dipnet sweeps by the trainee.
  • Trainer should conduct a mock audit for the trainee (10th training event), in which s/he ensures that the trainee understands and is proficient in the items in the checklist. Complete the Evaluator checklist.
  • Pass online test and field audit.


A field sampling audit (initial proficiency demonstration) is available for samplers wishing to submit BioRecon data to DEP. Samplers should undergo field taxonomic training with experienced BioRecon samplers, as well as dipnet sweep training as described above for the SCI.

Stream and River Habitat Assessment


DEP requires that analysts wishing to submit data to DEP pass 3 out of 5 benchmark tests every two years. It is optimal to test under similar water level conditions, and local hydrographs are provided for each site to aid in this determination. Analysts should not test at the same sites twice. New analysts can test at or 2012, 2014 or 2016 sites if necessary, but should contact Joy Jackson if they plan to do so.

2018 Site Information:  Northern Sites, Central Sites, Southern Sites

Contact Joy Jackson to submit your testing scores.

Lake Vegetation Index

*NEW* 2019 Team Proficiency Testing for the LVI will be conducted June 10-July 10, 2019 at the lakes specified below. For those organizations that wish to submit LVI data to DEP, each LVI sampling team must conduct the testing at one of the lakes below between June 10th and July 10th, 2019. Each team participating in testing must have at least one team member in pass status for the online plant ID test (must be taken each year).  Contact Ashley O’Neal ( to take the plant ID test.

Southern Lobe of Ocheesee Pond, Jackson County (30° 39.3978', -84° 58.4316' ), access via Ocheesee Pond Public Boat Ramp (aka Shady Grove) Ocheesee Pond LVI sampling map

**IMPORTANT NOTE**  Sampling area is the southern lobe of Ocheesee.  On Google Maps (and other aerials), “Ocheesee Pond” refers to the large wetland to the north, which is not included.   

Halfmoon Lake, Marion County (29.15277, -81.82805), access via Halfmoon Lake boat ramp Halfmoon Lake LVI sampling map

Lake Rochelle Polk County (28.07402, -81.73093), access via Lake Rochelle boat ramp  Lake Rochelle LVI sampling map

To determine proficiency, a sampling team must conduct the LVI per SOP LVI 1000, calculate the final LVI score per LVI 2200, and submit results by July 24, 2019, to Ashley O’Neal at 2600 Blair Stone Rd., MS 6511, Tallahassee, FL 32399.

Submit the following information: name of organization, name of samplers performing the exercise, sampling date, final LVI score (calculated per LVI 2200), and taxa lists for each sampling section. The consensus score for each lake will be determined as the median score from all teams in pass status from the testing in 2017. All teams that score within +/- 12 points of the median score will be in pass status for 2019.


Anyone who intends to submit LVI data to DEP must pass the LVI team proficiency  testing offered every two years. In addition, at least one member of each LVI sampling team must pass the online test of common lake plants. Please contact Ashley O’Neal to take the online plant test.

Online Plant Test

At least one person on every LVI sampling team must pass the online test of common lake plants. Contact Ashley O’Neal ( to take this test.

Team Testing

The final report for the Lake Vegetation Index 2017 Team Proficiency exercise is available here.LVI Calculator - Available for download and use to calculate Lake Vegetation Index scores. Users should review “Instructions for use of the LVI Calculator” before using. (Note: You must enable macros to use this calculator.)

Calculations per DEP SOP LVI 2200 (effective 4/16/18)

Excel (DEP SOP LVI 2200)

Instructions for use of updated LVI Calculator

Please contact Ashley O’Neal if you need the older version of LVI calculator for samples collected prior to 7/30/14

Stream Floral Tools – Rapid Periphyton Survey, Linear Vegetation Survey

The Rapid Periphyton Survey (RPS) quantifies the thickness and abundance of attached algae in stream and river reaches. Follow DEP SOP FS 7230 (effective 4/16/18, dated January 2017) to conduct the RPS.

The Linear Vegetation Survey (LVS) characterizes the vascular plant community within the wetted channel of stream and river reaches. Follow DEP SOP FS 7320 (effective 4/16/18, dated January 2017) to conduct the LVS.

Last Modified:
November 25, 2019 - 2:03pm

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