Ephemeral stream bioassessment tools show promise for monitoring oil spills

Posted November 8, 2019

SCCWRP and its partners at California State University, Monterey Bay, have shown in a proof-of-concept study that bioassessment tools designed to evaluate the health of ephemeral streams have the potential to be adapted for assessing ecological damage from oil spills in California.

The study, to be published in a forthcoming technical report, found that the structure and composition of bryophyte and arthropod communities living in dry streambeds were altered in predictable ways by increasing stress from oil spills.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Oil Spill Prevention and Response Team is interested in adapting ephemeral stream tools for oil spill monitoring because they have the potential to provide a quantitative basis for assessing environmental damage and levying appropriate penalties.

Oil spills are becoming increasingly common in dry streambeds in California as a result of local petroleum production and transportation activities.

More news related to: Bioassessment, Indices of Biotic Integrity