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Bioassessment Training, Evaluation and Quality Assurance

 

Announcement: DEP Stream Biological Assessment Methods Training  

 

What: DEP-led classroom and field training for stream bioassessment methods, including the Stream Condition Index (SCI), stream Habitat Assessment (HA), Rapid Periphyton Survey (RPS), and Linear Vegetation Survey (LVS).  This class is intended for beginners.

When:     Thursday, March 7, 2024, 8:30-4:30 PM EST  

Where:    Starkey Environmental Education Center, in J.B. Starkey Wilderness Park

10500 Wilderness Park Rd. New Port Richey, FL 34655  

To Register:     Click here

What to bring:     Chest waders, rain gear, clipboard with appropriate forms and SOPs (see table below), dipnet and long-handled brush (if you have them), lunch, and water.   

Method  

SOP sections (click to access most current SOP)  

Form (click for current versions)  

Stream Condition Index  

SCI 1000

None

Stream Habitat Assessment and

Phys/Chem  

FT 3000 and FT 3100

FD 9000-03

FD 9000-04

FD 9000-05

Rapid Periphyton Survey  

FS 7230

FD 9000-25

Linear Vegetation Survey  

FS 7320

FD 9000-32

Course Schedule (times may be approximate):

8:30-8:45 AM

Introductions

8:45-10:45 AM

HA and SCI presentations

10:45-11:00 AM

Break & Field Prep

11:00-12:30 PM

HA and SCI Field Practice

12:30-1:30 PM

Lunch (We suggest you bring a lunch)

1:30-2:30 PM

RPS and LVS presentations

2:30-2:45 PM

Break & Field Prep

2:45-3:45 PM

RPS and LVS field practice

4:00-4:30 PM

HA Examples and Wrap-Up


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 within 6 months of when sites were established to assure testing is performed under similar hydrologic conditions. Analysts are expected to test at all 5 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 2024. 

2024 Site Information: Northern Sites, Central Sites (coming soon), 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:


LVS Calculator:

The LVS is calculated per DEP SOP FS 7320 (effective 4/16/18). An LVS Calculator is available for download and use to calculate Linear Vegetation Survey scores. Users should review "Instructions for use of LVS Calculator" before using (Note: You must enable macros to use this calculator). Please contact Ashley O'Neal if you encounter any errors with the calculator. 


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:

LVIs are calculated per DEP SOP LVI 2200 (effective 4/16/18).  A new LVI Calculator is available for download and use to calculate Lake Vegetation Index scores. Users should review “2022 Instructions for use of 2022 LVI Calculator” before using (Note: You must enable macros to use this calculator.) The 2022 calculator should be used in place of the previous calculator. Please contact Ashley O'Neal if you encounter any errors with the new calculator. 

 

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 (2021), see Lake Vegetation Index 2021 Team Proficiency Report (PDF, 2021). The results for the 2023 LVI Team Proficiency Exercise will be available soon.


Additional Resources

Last Modified:
February 8, 2024 - 1:54pm

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