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Region 7 MO, KS & NE Project Information

Text reproduced from the publication, USEPA 1993. Regional Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program. EPA/625/R-93/012. September 1993. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, Washington, DC.

Figures and tables not reproduced here. The complete publication may be ordered from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Center for Environmental Research Information, Cincinnati, OH 45268. The publication request desk may be reached by phone at 513-569-7562.


Region VII is concerned that concentrations of contaminants in fish tissue may be impairing the quality of Region VII fisheries. The purpose of the Region VII R-EMAP study is to determine the health of the fisheries in the Region and to establish baseline data and methods that could be used to assess long-term trends in fishery health throughout the Region.

The Region VII R-EMAP project will address the following questions:

The answers to these questions may be helpful to the states in Region VII in developing biocriteria.

The Region VII study is a collaborative effort between EPA's Office of Research and Development, the Region VII Environmental Services Division (ESD), and the states of Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska.


To assess the status of fisheries in Region VII, researchers will obtain water, sediment, and fish samples and will assess habitat quality from randomly selected lakes, ponds, and streams in the four-state Region. The samples will be taken from July through September 1994. The investigators will perform statistical analyses on the data obtained from each sampling site. They will use these analyses to formulate conclusions related to fishery health, such as "Twenty percent of the streams in Region VII have an Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) score greater than 45." Table 7-1 presents a schedule of milestones and deliverables for the Region VII R-EMAP program.

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To determine the sample sites, investigators will randomly select 120 hexagons, 40 square kilometers each, from the 1,100 EMAP hexagons in Region VII. An additional 15 sites will be selected by the three states participating in the study. These 15 sites can be used to evaluate known or suspected water quality or habitat problems, measure reference conditions in ecoregions, or serve as additional random sampling sites.

Once all the randomly selected hexagons have been identified, all waterbodies identified in EPA's River Reach File Version 3 (RF3) data base will be included as part of the random sample population. From this population, the investigators will randomly choose sampling sites. Because ponds are believed to be an important fishery resource in the Region, at least 25 percent of the sampling sites will be located at ponds.

The randomly selected waterbodies will be screened for legal and logistical accessibility. For streams, investigators will determine sample sites of between 150 and 300 meters based on characteristics of fluvial geomorphology. For lakes and ponds, in general, 10 sampling stations will be established at evenly spaced intervals around the perimeter of the lake or pond.

In addition to the randomly selected sites and the 15 sites selected by the states, another 12 sites will be used to study reference conditions in the ecoregions (such as forested land in Missouri and rangeland in Nebraska). To determine the natural variability of biological communities, both in time and in space, each state will designate two ecological reference sites (one lake/pond and one stream site). Each site will be duplicate-sampled in July and duplicate-sampled again in September. (Duplicate sampling involves bisecting each sampling site and sampling the fish community in each subarea.) Determining the variability of the biological data will be important for long-term monitoring because it will allow researchers to recognize both natural and human-induced changes and perhaps distinguish one from the other.


The Region VII R-EMAP project will measure several indicators to assess the health of fisheries:


Fish will be collected from each sampling site using electrofishing and seining techniques. The field crew will identify and count large fish of specified sizes and species and will examine 30 specimens from each sampling site for the presence of external anomalies. Small fish will be preserved and sent to a laboratory for counting and identification. If fish of sport or commercial value are present, one species or family of species will be composited into a sample for fish tissue analysis. Water and sediment samples will be collected according to Region VII standard operating procedures for this sampling.



Lyle Cowles
Environmental Services Division
Region VII
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
25 Funston Road
Kansas City, KS 66115
(913) 551-5042

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