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April 1999 Biocriteria Workshop on Reference Sites and Conditions

  • Date Held: 14 – 16 April 1999
  • Location: University of Kansas, Lawrence KS
  • Attendance: The conference was attended by 54 people from 9 states.


The objective of this meeting was to bring together water quality experts from various agencies in EPA Region 7 and surrounding areas for five purposes:

  1. To introduce and discuss the theory behind the characterization and use of reference sites and condition
  2. To share protocols, practices, and problems of characterizing reference conditions in the four states in EPA Region 7
  3. To work together in solving any problems associated with establishing reference conditions
  4. To reach a consensus regarding reference conditions
  5. To create a document on the workshop


OWNERSHIP: Each Powerpoint slide and all ideas, text, and images therein remain the exclusive property of the author of the presentation. Photos have been reduced to low resolution in order to prevent unauthorized use. If you are interested in using any part of a presentation, please request permission from the author or contact the Center.

Name Affiliation File Presentation Title
Dr. Barbara Hayford CPCB
Lawrence, KS
122 KB Workshop Goals and Purpose of Central Plains Center for BioAssessment (CPCB)
Dr. Sam Stribling Tetra Tech, Inc.
Owings Mills, MD
1.7 MB Reference Sites and Measurement Endpoints
Dr. Bruce Moring USGS
Austin, TX
slides Ecological Reference Sites in an Assessment Framework-National Water-Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA)
Shannon Donley CPCB
Lawrence, KS
251 KB Determining a Reference Condition in the Agricultural Midwest
Dr. Jeroen Gerritson Tetra Tech, Inc
Owings Mills, MD
237 KB Establishing and Utilizing Reference Sites and Conditions for Lakes
Tom Wilton IDNR
Des Moines, IA
1.5 MB Reference Sites and Conditions, Iowa Department Natural Resources (IDNR)
Randy Sarver MDNR
Jefferson City, MO
1.7 MB Reference Sites and Conditions, Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR)
Dr. Bob Angelo KDHE
Topeka, KS
  Reference Sites and Conditions, Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE)
Ken Bazata NDEQ
Lincoln, NE
268 KB Reference Sites and Conditions, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ)
Supplemental presentations (not given at the workshop):
Gary Welker USEPA
Kansas City, KS
372 KB Biological Criteria Development
Tom Wilton IDNR
Des Moines, IA
2.8 MB Development of Reference Conditions for Stream Biological Assessment in Iowa

Other Workshop Resources

1. Discussion

On day three of the workshop, a facilitated discussion was held in which we discussed terms and theory associated with reference sites and conditions, restoration and improvement of aquatic ecosystems, methods in designating reference conditions, and preservation of reference conditions. The facilitated discussion lasted for nearly three hours and constituted many topics besides those listed below.

The goals of the discussion were:

  • to show that establishing reference conditions is an iterative process
  • to have scientists from State and Federal agencies and academicians come to a consensus on the issues stated above.

2. Summary/Consensus Documents

The outcome of the discussion is summarized in the following series of documents. Please click to view and/or download.

  1. Consensus
  2. Terms related to reference conditions
  3. Theoretical considerations of reference conditions
  4. Identification of reference conditions
  5. Preservation of reference conditions and improvement of all aquatic ecosystems

3. Literature References

Donley, S.R. 1999. Development of Biological Criteria for Macroinvertebrates for Streams of the Western Corn Belt Plains Ecoregion. MA Thesis, University of Kansas. 82 pp.

Reynoldson, T.B, R.H. Norris, V.H. Resh, K.E. Day, and D.M. Rosenberg. 1997. The reference condition: a comparison of multimetric and multivariate approaches to assess water-quality impairment using benthic macroinvertebrates. J. N. Am. Benthol. Soc. 16(4):833-852.

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