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Title: Testing and Further Development of RIVPACS Phase 3. Development of New RIVPACS Methodologies - Stage 1
Author: J F Wright
Author: R T Clarke
Author: R J M Gunn
Author: J H Blackburn
Author: J Davy-Bowker
Author: Environment Agency
Document Type: Monograph
Annotation: Environment Agency Project ID:EAPRJOUT_340, Representation ID: 81, Object ID: 1684
This three-year project (January 1998 - December 2000) for the development of new RIVPACS methodologies includes a total -of ten separate work packages. of which .four have received attention in-year 1 (January - December 1998)The four packages are: 1. The editing of a .book resulting from- an Mernational held at Jesus College, Oxford in-September 1997. Workshop on RIVPA CS- research, The book, which includes nineteen. edited papers based on oral presentations made at the International Workshop plus the main findings and conclusions fi-om five Workshop discussion groups, is to be published by the Freshwater Biological Association. :.. Most manuscripts have now,been through-:the full editing procedures and almost 70% have been formally accepted in their revised form. We intend to complete this phase of the work, i. by the end of March 1999. It should then be possible to complete type:setting, proof-reading and production of the book by the end of 1999. 2. Development of the use of abundance data fo? biological quality assessment.. (Year one : of ci two year study). The-current version of RIVPACS. III+ includes a single abundance index (414) designed to indicate the first signs of environmental stress prior to major loss of BMWP families. Several additional aindices (Q15-Q19) are currently under consideration. ,To date, aIndices Q14-Q17 have been coded directly into a modified version of RIVPACS ILI+: Critical lower limits for these indices have recently-been calculated based on the 614*RIVPACS III+:reference-sites. Previously, the.critical limit for the Q14 index was based on the 438 sites from RIVPACS II, : : and was a less sensitive measure of stress. To test and assess the relative merits of the different indices, it is importantto -know, the extent to which each index is affected by sampling variation and by. the errors in the. RIVPACS estimates of expected abundance .levels due to measures of the environmental- .. variables. Hence, the data available from ,a previous replicated sampling programme at 16 .... sites, referred -to as BAMS (Biological Assessment. MethodsStudy) .is ,being used to assess the abundance-based quality indices Q14- Q17. (This work has been brought forward from Year 2 because of the benefit :of having early access to the results for. each . index). .I A new computer program (EXCLRIVP) has been written to convert -EXCEL data files into .. RIVPACS format. This will simplify the task of getting biological and environmental data .files into the correct format for RIVPACS.. A-trial version is being.tested by the IFE and by April 1999; a version will be available for testing by users within the Environment Agency. 3. Scoping study to re-evaluate methods for collecting RIVPACS samples from deep waters. A review of recent literature on deep-water samplers indicated that there-were no new devices that were.suitable for use in RIVPACS assessments in deep rivers.. R and D Technical Report E71 .. ix A questionnaire completed by all 26 Areas within the Environment Agency revealed extensive use of long-handled pond-nets and a variety of dredges at deep-water sites. Airlifts, grabs and other procedures were used by a small number of regions. It was apparent that the detailed sampling protocols varied across the Agency and according to sampling device. After careful consideration of the current field protocols used in RIVPACS, it was concluded that the procedures required for the appraisal of deep-water sites should be different from the standard protocol used in shallow waters. Essentially, the margins and the benthos should have their own separate field sampling protocols. In order to have standardised procedures in place for the sampling of deep-water sites during the GQA survey in 2000, it will be necessary to undertake field trials in 1999. The field trials must establish the type of sampling device and detailed protocol required over the full range of deep-water sites. Three devices for sampling the benthos (long-handled pond-net, Medium Naturalistas dredge and Mackey/Yorkshire pattern Air-lift) will be compared at a variety of deep-water sites in order to establish clear guidelines on the method to be used at any given site with stated environmental characteristics. The detailed protocol for pond-netting the margins must also be clarified. The consequences, for the next version of RIVPACS, of standardising the sampling protocol for the margins and benthos at deep-water sites are considered. There will be a need to collect reference site data using the new protocols as a part of the GQA survey in 2000. The option will then be available for the Environment Agency to choose to assess the biological quality of the margins and benthos of deep-water sites independently. The relative merits of the alternative formats for the next version of RIVPACS are described. 4. Scoping study to consider the development of a RWPACS methodology for canals. A brief review of canals and their macroinvertebrate fauna was undertaken with the emphasis on the BMWP families that characterise canals in England and Wales. A questionnaire was used to obtain information on the types of canals within each area of the Environment Agency and the procedures used in current biological sampling programmes. In general, long-handled pond-nets are used from the bank, although some areas also use dredges. There is no standard protocol at present. In considering the best way forward, it is essential to take full account of progress made by a separate project undertaken by Pond Action, also funded by the Environment Agency (Biological Techniques of Still Water Assessment). Information collected by Pond Action during a preliminary field trial at a limited set of canal sites in April 1997 has recently been used to demonstrate that a RIVPACS-type classification and prediction system for canals should be feasible. In a new phase of the same project, the field sampling programme on reference sites is now being extended. Hence, the original specification for the IFE scoping study has been partially superseded. In view of this, the Il?E scoping study provides suggestions on factors to be taken into account regarding the field and laboratory protocols and offers suggestions for consideration during the analyses. It is now apparent that a fully-fledged system cannot be in place prior to the GQA Survey in 2000. However, the field protocols developed by Pond Action could be formalised in R and D Technical Report E71 X consultation with the Environment Agency and used as the basis of the sampling programme for canals during the GQA- Survey in 2000. If there is a need to supplement the reference dataset with additional sites, then selected samples collected during the GQA Survey could be passed to a contractor for processing at species level.. Once the full-dataset is assembled, the classification a and prediction .exercises can commence, a.nd.on completion of an operational system, it should still be possible to-make an appraisal of the full range of canal sites sampled during the GQA Survey in 2000. KEY woRDs RIVPACS; Biological monitoring; macroinvertebrates; rivers; canals. R and D Technical Report E7 1 Xi Workshop;.Abundance data; deep R and D Technical Report E7 1 xii 1
Publisher: Environment Agency
Subject Keywords: Biological monitoring; RIVPACS; Macroinvertebrates; Workshop; .abundance data; Deep rivers; Canals.
Extent: 154
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