Biological Monitoring


benthic macroinvertebrate


What's New in Biological Monitoring?

Benthic Biomonitoring Self-Assessment

VA DEQ biologists earn taxonomic certification

Validation of the Virginia Stream Condition Index

DEQ's Freshwater Biological Monitoring Program uses the benthic macroinvertebrate community to assess the ecological health of freshwater streams and rivers. Benthic macroinvertebrates are invertebrate organisms such as insects, crustaceans, snails or worms that live on the bottom of streams and rivers which are large enough to be seen with the naked eye. Because many of the organisms that make up these biological communities are extremely sensitive to pollutants, they often respond to changes in water quality caused by the introduction of various contaminants into a water body from point or non-point source pollution. Most benthic macroinvertebrate species have a complex life cycle of approximately one year or more and, therefore, integrate the effects of fluctuations in water quality over time. In essence, benthic macroinvertebrates are considered to be virtual “living recorders” of water quality conditions over time. Analysis of the community of these organisms provides a measure of the overall water quality of a particular water body segment.


Contractor Virginia EDAS programs:

There are 2 sets of zip files of Microsoft Access databases for contractors to use, one for Genus level data and one for Family level data in Microsoft Office 2003 or earlier (.mdb). The other set is identical but is formatted for use in Microsoft Office 2007 or later versions (.accdb). The instructions are suitable for either Office version. Please note, VADEQ still assesses data at a family level; however, we are moving towards a genus level index.

Blank EDAS Family Database (Office 2003 - 2.8 MB) Blank EDAS Family Database (Office 2007 - 2.8 MB) Blank Family Instructions (158 kb)
Blank EDAS Genus Database (Office 2003 - 5.6 MB) Blank EDAS Genus Database (Office 2007 - 5.6 MB) Blank Genus Instructions (160 kb)

For further information, contact:
Rick Browder
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, Virginia 23218
(804) 698-4134
Richard.Browder@deq.virginia.gov

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000


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