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Bioassessment Training, Evaluation, and Quality Assurance

UPDATE REGARDING HABITAT ASSESSMENT PROFICIENCY TESTING FOR 2020

Due to COVID-19, DEP was unable to complete the establishment of new Habitat Assessment Proficiency Testing sites in 2020. In lieu of testing opportunities, DEP will extend the current status of samplers through 2021.

If you have never tested as part of the Habitat Assessment proficiency process, please contact Joy.Jackson@floridadep.gov for instructions on testing at previously-established sites in your region.

Any additional updates about HA proficiency testing will be sent out via the Quality of Science newsletter. Subscribe to eNewsletter.

Thank you for your interest in Quality Science.

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 collect SCI data to submit 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.

BioRecon

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

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

Testing

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 the 2018 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.

UPDATE REGARDING HABITAT ASSESSMENT PROFICIENCY TESTING FOR 2020

Due to COVID-19, DEP was unable to complete the establishment of new Habitat Assessment Proficiency Testing sites in 2020. In lieu of testing opportunities, DEP will extend the current status of samplers through 2021.

If you have never tested as part of the Habitat Assessment proficiency process, please contact Joy.Jackson@floridadep.gov for instructions on testing at previously-established sites in your region.

Any additional updates about HA proficiency testing will be sent out via the Quality of Science newsletter. 

Thank you for your interest in Quality Science.


Lake Vegetation Index

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 (Ashley.ONeal@dep.state.fl.us) to take this test.

Team Testing

The final report for the Lake Vegetation Index 2019 Team Proficiency exercise is available here

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).

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.

The DEP does not currently have any proficiency requirements for collection of the RPS and LVS; however, samplers are encouraged to take the online proficiency tests linked below to demonstrate their knowledge of the methods 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.

RPS Online Test Link

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 please 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.

LVS Online Test Link

Please contact Sarah Noble if you have questions about the RPS or LVS online tests. 

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Last Modified:
July 28, 2020 - 2:54pm

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