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Virginia Stream Condition Index for Non-Coastal Streams (VSCI)

In an effort to assist DEQ in updating the biological monitoring program in Virginia to reflect recent advances in bioassessment methods, Rapid Bioassessment Protocols at, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funded their contractor Tetra Tech Inc. to prepare a report recommending a method for evaluating the ecological health of freshwater non-coastal streams in Virginia. Tetra Tech has produced a final report titled A Stream Condition Index for Virginia Non-Coastal Streams that under went an evaluation and testing by DEQ. This index contains eight core metrics that when calculated into one number is known as the Virginia Stream Condition Index (VSCI) (Tetra Tech, 2003).

Using Probabilistic Monitoring Data to Validate the Non-Coastal Virginia Stream Condition Index (VSCI)

Using a new, independent probabilistic monitoring program (ProbMon) database (number of stations = 350, 2001-2004), VDEQ has validated the VSCI using a spatially diverse (ecoregionally and stream size) data set free of psuedoreplication. These probabilistic data sets have allowed VDEQ to narrow data gaps and test the proposed VSCI against many classification variables, which include season, stream size, ecoregion, bioregion, river basin, regional office, and sampling technique. Reviewing the probabilistic biological data has confirmed that the VSCI works well to discriminate between sites with acceptable water quality and habitat versus sites with degraded water quality and habitat.

biological monitoring biological monitoring

Technical Development Documents

Aquatic Life Use assessment protocols for Swamp Waters (Class VII)

Determining whether the aquatic life use is met in swamps of Virginia’s Coastal Plains is difficult due to naturally occurring acidity and frequent low dissolved oxygen concentrations that results in unique aquatic communities. DEQ has contracted with the Academic Advisory Committee (AAC) toward the development of a biological assessment index for Class VII swamp waters in Virginia. The overarching goal of this work is to provide a working Blackwater Condition Index (BCI) that can be used by the DEQ for monitoring and assessment purposes.

Year end reports regarding this effort are housed at Virginia Tech's Virginia Waters Resources Research Center academic advisory committee web page. Swamp water assessment methodology reports are near the bottom of the page.

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

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