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Linking Sediment with Biological Impairment in Virginia

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2007 ASAE Annual Meeting  072266.(doi:10.13031/2013.23046)
Authors:   Gene Yagow
Keywords:   Biological impairment, ecosystem integrity, sediment, TMDL, weight-of-evidence

In Virginia, ecosystem integrity is essentially defined as support for the aquatic life designated use. Support for this use is monitored with EPA’s Rapid Bioassessment Protocols for the benthic macroinvertebrate community. Specific biological metrics that link biological impairment with sediment or any other specific stressor do not exist. Therefore, the approach that is recommended by EPA and followed by Virginia, is to follow the Stressor Identification Guidance provided by EPA and perform this “weight-of-evidence” stressor analysis to determine the primary stressor responsible for the impairment. This paper summarizes the various types of evidence that have been used in previous biological (benthic) TMDLs in Virginia to identify sediment as the primary stressor and thus to provide the linkage between sediment and ecosystem integrity.

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