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Update on Development of Expected Conditions for Colorado August 14, 2006 Chris Theel, WQCD.

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Presentation on theme: "Update on Development of Expected Conditions for Colorado August 14, 2006 Chris Theel, WQCD."— Presentation transcript:

1 Update on Development of Expected Conditions for Colorado August 14, 2006 Chris Theel, WQCD

2 Development of Expected Conditions for Colorado Refinement of ALUCs Integrating tiered ALUC approach Bldg supportive narrative and/or numeric criteria Integrating ALUCs & criteria into WQ Stds

3 Development of Expected Conditions for Colorado Refinement of ALUCs

4 Steps for Developing Programmatic Bioassessment and Biocriteria 1.Build ecological classifications  2.Develop a timetable; game plan  3.Determine reference criteria & reference sites  4.Metric evaluation and index development  5.Refinement of designated uses () 5.Refinement of designated uses (beginning stages) 6.TALU & biocriteria development 7.Implement operational monitoring and assessment program; WQ Stds

5 Why is a change needed? Colorado’s ALUCs are too generalized and outdated Many streams are misclassified or do not fit into any one category Determinations of nonattainment in these waters have been difficult and open to alternative interpretations in front of the WQCC

6 What do we hope to accomplish by refining ALUCs? Unique and consistent differences among aquatic communities inhabiting different waters w/ the same designated use are not being captured Biological data can be used to separate one class into two or more sub-classifications

7 Types of Aquatic Life Sub- Classes Attainable habitat –Example: Cold vs. Warm (CO) Community structure & composition Special designations to protect unique & sensitive species, communities or habitats –Example: greenback cutthroat or tail waters

8 Usage of Biological Data to Refine Biological data will simply not “generate” a sub- classification Sub-classes are objectively predetermined and tested by linear discriminant analysis Output obtains the maximum discrimination among the defined classes

9 Biological Data “What data will be used to refine Colorado’s aquatic life use classifications?” Macroinvertebrate –Multimetric Indexes (MMI scores) –Multivariate predictive model (O/E scores) Fish –MMIs (index scores) Aquatic GAP –Will NOT be utilized to refine uses…will be used to build supportive biocriteria around “Uses”

10 Biological Data cont. “What is the status of Colorado’s bioassessment tools?” Macroinvertebrate MMIs –WQCD seeking additional reference sites in plains and xeric bioregions to improve discrimination between ref and stressed sites –Anticipate recalibration of this tool in late 2006 –Ready for use in early 2007 Macroinvertebrate Multivariate Predictive Model (O/E) –Provides us with an “expected” –Ready for use now…must continue updating predictor variables

11 Biological Data cont. Fish MMIs –Will be calibrated and validated during development of Colorado’s chapter of EPA’s EMAP report (ongoing) –MMIs developed for plains and xeric bioregions –No MMI for mountain bioregion…no metrics worked –Anticipate full availability in late 2006 or early 2007 Aquatic GAP –Peer reviewed by CDOW staff –Anticipate full availability in spring 2007

12 Recent Progress “Breaking down the current Aquatic Life Use Classifications” Identify and understand ALUC distributions by bioregion Applied discriminant analysis to current ALUCs using suite of human disturbance variables, such as land use, road density, diversions, dam proximity, etc. Some critical findings and observations made…

13 ALUC Distribution by Bioregion (% of total stream miles per bioregion) Xerics Mountains Plains Stream Miles Statewide = 104,432

14 ALUC Distribution Observations in Mountain Bioregion 84% of stream miles designated as Cold 11% of stream miles designated as Warm Remaining 5% or 2400 stream miles have no designated use (either stream or ditch)

15 ALUC Distribution Observations in Xeric Bioregion 30% of stream mi. designated as Cold 57% of stream mi. designated as Warm 13% or 3500 stream mi. have no ALUC High # of stream miles designated Cold in a bioregion widely considered to have warm water habitat

16 ALUC Distribution Observations in Plains Bioregion 82% of stream miles designated as Warm 2% of stream miles designated as Cold Remaining 16% or 5800 stream miles have no designated use (either stream or ditch) Cold segments either in Republican basin or adjacent to foothills

17 Critical Findings and Observations by Bioregion Mountain bioregion observations Xeric bioregion observations Plains bioregion observations

18 Critical Findings and Observations in Mountains Warm I & II segments in the mnts had a high probability of classifying correctly (>90%) when hydro mod metrics* were used as predictor variables Cold I & II segments in the mnts had an extremely low probability of classifying correctly (6.7%) when hydro mod metrics used as predictor variables…Cold II 0.0% probability Cold I class groups well in mountain bioregion * = Proximity of site below dam, # of diversions u/s

19 Critical Findings and Observations in Xerics Cold II segments in the xeric had a high probability of classifying correctly (95.7%) when hydro mod metrics* were used as predictor variables…i.e. it was designated Cold II because of modified habitat Warm II segments in the xeric had a zero probability of classifying correctly (0.0%) when hydro mod metrics were used as predictor variables * = Proximity of site below dam, # of diversions u/s

20 Critical Findings and Observations in Plains Cold I & II segments in the plains had a high probability of classifying correctly (89.9%) when 7 human disturbance metrics were used as predictor variables Only Cold I segments in the plains had a high probability of classifying correctly (81.8%) when hydro mod metrics* alone were used as predictor variables…Cold II segments did not * = Proximity of site below dam, # of diversions u/s

21 Common Denominators Hydrological modifications are greatly influencing how ALUCs were and are currently being assigned Areas of misclassifications typically seen at interfaces between bioregions…”transition areas from cold water habitat to warm water habitat” Inadequate ALUC “coverage”, too many gaps Temperature is a strong driver on the distribution of macroinvertebrate (and fish) communities across Colorado

22 Final Analysis Final and formal discriminant analysis nearing completion Predict that this analysis may not discriminate (or separate) the four classes with respect to non-biological variables Will provide statistical validation that misclassifications are widespread and refinement is necessary

23 Next Steps Recon more candidate reference sites in plains and xeric bioregions (ongoing) Recalibrate and validate macroinvertebrate MMIs w/ additional ref sites (late 2006) Further develop and test fish MMIs thru EMAP project (next 5 months)

24 Next Steps cont. Once first 3 bioassessment tools coalesce, start refinement process (winter 06-07) Integrate refined uses into TALU structure (early 2007) Once all 4 tools coalesce, build biocriteria to support those new, refined uses (spring/summer 2007)

25 Workgroup Involvement From Here on In Review and approve all calibrated biological assessment tools –Why? If the workgroup supports use of this biological data then outcome of refined ALUCs and MMI/OE output scores (that will be used to develop biocriteria) cannot be called into question later down the road

26 Workgroup Involvement cont. Review outcome of discriminant analysis, provide technical comments and give final approval to “statistically sound” refined ALUCs –Why? Provide finality to refined ALUCs making the building of biocriteria around those ALUCs much easier

27 Workgroup Involvement cont. Actively engage in the building of biological criteria (thresholds) This is the true building of “expected conditions” Support biocriteria with safety factors, antidegradation and goal setting features, etc.

28 Trouble Shooting Fish data…all we have to go on right now is fish data from EPA’s EMAP project Is this enough to refine uses? Probably not! It is inevitable that we will eventually need some fish data from CDOW to help refine Colorado’s ALUCs (by late 2006) Must address how Aquatic GAP can be of use when biocriteria building commences in spring of 2007

29 Summary Once biocriteria development is complete and has “workgroup stamp of approval” on it, the WQCD will… –Package “Expected Condition” for 2008 Issues Scoping Hearing –Finalize supporting guidance docs –Figure out how all this will be integrated programmatically within WQCD

30 Contact Information Chris Theel Colorado Department of Public Health & Env Water Quality Control Division Monitoring Unit

31 Candidate Ref Sites in Xerics Black Sulphur Creek at Cty Rd 26

32 Candidate Ref Sites in Xerics Yellow Creek below conf with Barcus Creek

33 Candidate Ref Sites in Xerics South Fork White River at Oak Ridge SWA


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