Ephemeral stream scoring tools being transitioned to management use

Posted November 2, 2018
A ramp trap is deployed in a dry streambed to collect arthropods, which SCCWRP and its partners have adapted as a biological indicator of ecological condition in ephemeral streams when they are dry. SCCWRP and its partners are beginning to transition a new set of ephemeral steam scoring tools to pilot testing by the end-user management community.

A new set of tools co-developed by SCCWRP to assess the condition of ephemeral streams when they are dry is being transitioned to pilot testing by the end-user management community.

More than a dozen federal, state and local agencies were trained in how to use the ephemeral stream tools during a three-day training exercise facilitated by SCCWRP in the Coachella Valley in August. The training enabled participants to begin using the tools in their own monitoring programs, including the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, which already has launched an ephemeral streams pilot project in the Santa Clara River and Malibu Creek.

The ephemeral stream assessment tools are intended to dramatically expand the types of streams that Southern California water-quality managers can monitor via a bioassessment-based approach. Ephemeral streams, which are streams that run dry for much of the year, make up about 60% of all streams in Southern California, but they have traditionally been excluded from watershed monitoring programs, as existing bioassessment tools are designed for application in perennial and intermittent streams only.

Researchers are now working to develop an index scoring tool that can characterize the complex ecological condition of ephemeral streams using a simple numerical score.

More news related to: Bioassessment, Indices of Biotic Integrity