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Water: Monitoring & Assessment

Biological Assessment of Wetlands Workgroup (BAWWG)

United States
Environmental Protection
Office of Water
Office of Wetlands, Oceans
and Watersheds (4502-F)
July 1998

Wetland Bioassessment Fact Sheet 3

Box 1: Recurring Workgroup Topics
  • Selecting and testing metrics.
  • Scoring metrics.
  • Combining metrics into a multimetric Index of Biological Integrity.
  • Selecting study design (e.g., targeted vs. random sampling).
  • Classifying wetlands and ecoregions.
  • Defining reference conditions.
  • Developing and testing sampling methods.
  • Analyzing data.
  • Communicating results.
  • Defining terms.
  • Exploring relationship with the hydrogeomorphic (HGM) approach to assessing wetland functions

The Biological Assessment of Wetlands Workgroup (BAWWG, pronounced "bog") was formed in 1997 with the objective of improving methods and programs to assess the biological integrity of wetlands. The workgroup consists of wetland scientists from federal agencies, states, and universities and is coordinated by the EPA Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds in partnership with the EPA Office of Science and Technology. BAWWG provides a forum for wetland scientists and professionals to:

  • interact with peers and share expertise in developing wetland biological assessment methods
  • form partnerships and collaborative projects
  • develop consistency in terminology and sampling methods
  • coordinate the development of biological and functional assessment methods (See Fact Sheet 6)
  • improve methods of managing and presenting data

Activities and Products

BAWWG holds periodic conference calls in addition to periodic conferences and technical meetings to examine topics related to developing wetland biological assessment methods and programs (Box 1). The workgroup will prepare guidance and technical papers on some of these topics to help other states develop biological assessment capabilities. BAWWG also intends to develop a peer review process for reviewing project designs for wetland biological assessment projects.

BAWWG Participants

As of January 1998, the workgroup includes participants from six states, six federal agencies, and seven universities. See Fact Sheet 4 for a summary of existing wetland biological assessment projects.

STATES Florida
North Dakota
FEDERAL Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Geological Survey
U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
UNIVERSITY Montana State University
North Dakota State University
Oregon State University
Pennsylvania State University
University of Florida
University of Louisville
University of Washington

Focus Groups

BAWWG has focus groups for five taxanomic assemblages:

  1. macroinvertebrates
  2. vascular plants
  3. amphibians
  4. algae
  5. birds

These focus groups are identifying potential metrics and are examining topics, such as when and how to sample each assemblage. BAWWG has a sixth focus group examining the relationship between assessing wetland biological integrity and the hydrogeomorphic (HGM) approach to assessing wetland functions.

For More Information

More information about wetland bioassessments and BAWWG is available through the following sources:

  • The "Wetlands and Water Quality" section of the Wetland Division's internet site (https://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands)
  • The EPA Wetlands Information Hotline (contractor operated) - 1 (800) 832-7828
  • U.S. EPA Wetlands Division (4502F), 401 M Street, Washington, DC, 20460
    Phone: (202) 260-1799   Fax: (202) 260-8000

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