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Bioassessment Training, Evaluation and Quality Assurance

New Habitat Assessment Testing Opportunity

Three new sets of Habitat Assessment Benchmark Sites are available for testing in 2021 through 2023.  Site information and directions are available under the Proficiency Demonstration information of the Stream and River Habitat Assessment section below.

While we encourage everyone to visit the newly established sites as soon as possible, we are extending the current status of testers through June 30, 2022. This will allow everyone to maintain their proficiency status until they are able to test. 

DEP Stream Biological Assessment Methods

DEP Lake Biological Assessment Methods


Stream Condition Index

This method is a composite macroinvertebrate index for use in flowing streams. 

 

Training Resources:

 

Summary of steps required to demonstrate SCI proficiency:

  • Attend a DEP biological assessment training class or event. Classes are typically held twice a year: once in North Florida and once in Central Florida. Training classes are announced through the Quality of Science eNewsletter.
  • Complete 9 SCI training events with one or more trainers who are in Pass status for the SCI. The Trainer will observe and critique the trainee's sampling technique. Document events on the Training Checklist and Event Log (FD 9000-35). 
  • An Evaluator will conduct an evaluation (mock audit) for the trainee (10th training event), to ensure the Trainee understands and is proficient in the items on the checklist. Complete the Evaluator section of the Training Checklist and Event Log.
  • The audit candidate must attain a score of 90% on the online test and successfully complete a field audit with a DEP auditor.

 

Proficiency Demonstration:

Anyone submitting data to DEP must attain a score of 90% on the online test, pass an initial demonstration of proficiency (SCI field audit), and a 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. 

Photograph of DEAR samplers conducting a Stream Condition Index on Davenport Creek

Overall habitat quality is determined by measuring eight attributes known to have potential effects on the stream biota. The method involves a mapping exercise and conducting a series of observations as specified in the Physical/Chemical characterization SOP (DEP SOP FT 3001). 

 

Training Resources:

 

Proficiency Demonstration:

Anyone submitting data to DEP must pass 3 out of 5 Habitat Assessment proficiency testing sites every two years, ideally under similar hydrologic conditions as those present during the establishment of testing sites. Hydrographs are provided for each set of sites to aid in this determination. Analysts must be within +/- 10 points of the overall consensus score for each testing site.

All analysts should test at the sites established in 2021. 

*NEW* 2021 Site Information:  Northern Sites, Central Sites, Southern Sites

Contact Joy Jackson to submit your Habitat Assessment field sheets and testing scores.


BioRecon

This method samples macroinvertebrates and is an initial screening tool for streams, intended to rapidly assess a site to prioritize it for more intensive sampling. 

 

Training Resources:

 

Summary of steps required to demonstrate BioRecon proficiency:

  • Attend a DEP biological assessment training class or event. Classes are typically held twice a year: once in North Florida and once in Central Florida. Training classes are announced through the Quality of Science eNewsletter
  • Samplers should undergo field taxonomic training with experienced BioRecon samplers, as well as sampling training as described above for the SCI. 

 

Proficiency Demonstration:

  • The audit candidate must attain a score of 90% on the online test, pass an initial demonstration of proficiency (BioRecon field audit), and pass a refresher audit every 5 years thereafter. 

Contact Joy Jackson to schedule a BioRecon audit. 


Rapid Periphyton Survey

This method quantifies the extent and abundance of attached algae (periphyton) in a stream or river and evaluates the ecological information associated with the dominant algae. 

 

Training Resources:

 

Proficiency Demonstration:

DEP does not currently have any proficiency requirements for collection of the RPS; however, samplers are encouraged to take the online proficiency test linked below to demonstrate their knowledge of the method and provide assurance that data collection follows the SOPs.The RPS online test includes questions about the RPS method, and you may use the RPS SOP (FS 7230) to answer the questions.  You will have one hour to complete the 30-question test. A passing score is 90%, or 27/30 correctly answered questions.

Contact Sarah Noble if you have questions about the RPS online test. 


Linear Vegetation Survey

This method was designed to be a rapid screening tool for ecological condition, by determining how closely a site's flora resembles that of an undisturbed condition.

 

Training Resources:

 

Proficiency Demonstration:

DEP does not currently have any proficiency requirements for collection of the LVS; however, samplers are encouraged to take the online proficiency test linked below to demonstrate their knowledge of the method and provide assurance that data collection follows the SOPs. The LVS online test includes questions about the LVS method and plant identification. You may use the LVS SOP (FS 7320) to answer LVS method questions, but do not use any resources for the plant identification questions.  You will have one hour to complete the 40-question test.  A passing score is 90%, or 36/40 correctly answered questions.

Contact Sarah Noble if you have questions about the LVS online test. 


Lake Vegetation Index

A rapid field method developed to assess how similar a lake plant community is to a minimally disturbed community.

 

Training Resources:

 

LVI Calculator:

The LVI Calculator is 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.). LVIs are calculated per DEP SOP LVI 2200 (effective 4/16/18).

 

Proficiency Demonstration:

Anyone submitting 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 annually.

Contact Ashley O’Neal to take the online plant test.

For information about the most recent LVI Team Proficiency Exercise (2019), see Lake Vegetation Index 2019 Team Proficiency Report (PDF, 2019). 


Additional Resources

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Last Modified:
January 4, 2022 - 9:28am

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