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Region 8 Rocky Mountains 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 VIII is concerned that the release of toxic metals from abandoned mines and mills into the environment could cause widespread destruction of aquatic resources. The proposed Region VIII REMAP project will focus on headwater streams in mineralized areas (areas that have been subjected to extensive mining activity) in the Southern Rocky Mountains Ecoregion.

The project will address the following questions:

Region VIII is working to establish partnerships with state and federal agencies and the academic community to conduct this REMAP project.


Investigators will conduct pilot work on indicators in 1993; the full project, including sampling of biological, chemical, and physical parameters in selected headwater streams, will be conducted in 1994 and 1995.

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The population of interest will be streams within the Southern Rocky Mountains Ecoregion, with sampling limited to mineralized areas. During the initial selection process, streams will be stratified according to stream size. After sampling takes place, an analysis of stream flow and stream morphology may help investigators refine the stratification of streams into meaningful groups for statistical analysis of the data. A minimum of 50 sites will be sampled during 1994 and 1995.

This total includes three types of sites:

These sites will be selected in consultation with state government and federal land management agency staff.

To distinguish minimally affected or unaffected sites from affected sites, it is important to collect measurements from sites with known impactsþthat is, streams with high metals loadings. Investigators will select several test site locations within the study area representing different ecological conditions.

These sites will be selected using EMAP's systematically arranged grid design, combined with a probability-based selection process. The investigators will use the EMAP-Surface Waters method for selecting probability samples.

The 1993 pilot study will consist of sampling at approximately 15 sites in the Southern Rocky Mountains Ecoregion.

The goals of the pilot study are to:

For the pilot study, sampling is planned in two basins: the Arkansas River and the Eagle River in Colorado. Sites for the pilot study will be selected based on stream characteristics (not probability sampling). A mix of reference sites and test sites will be identified in each basin.


Investigators will field-test the indicators shown in Table 8-1 during the 1993 pilot work. After review of the 1993 pilot data, Region VIII scientists will decide whether to use this full suite of parameters during project implementation in 1994 and 1995.

Sampling protocols will be based on the written protocols developed for the joint EMAP 1993 Surface Waters and Region III REMAP Project, modified for Rocky Mountain headwater streams.


The sampling period will be limited to a maximum of 45 days to ensure that the samples can be considered to come from a single population. Sampling will take place in August and September to take into account both biological and logistical considerations:


The investigators will evaluate several methods for data analysis and reporting, including multivariate statistics and multimetric measures. The methods selected must be able to effectively distinguish between reference sites and test sites. Geographic information system (GIS) technology will be used for data analysis and presentation.


CONTACT: Phil Johnson
Water Quality Division
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
999 18th Street
Suite 500
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 293-1581

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