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Continuing Education for Natural Resource Professionals

Workshop Agenda for:

Aquatic Monitoring - Eastern (AM)


Workshop "On Demand" - ask for it when you want it


US Forest Service

National Stream & Aquatic Ecology Center


Eastern United States - where ever you are located

Workshop Home | Workshop Outline | Daily Agenda | List of Instructors | Pre-Quiz |

Sponsored By:

  • USFS National Stream & Aquatic Ecology Center

Aquatic Monitoring-Eastern is a "Workshop On Demand" by Dr. Brett Roper. Call Brett to arrange for the workshop to come to your area. Brett will tailor it with you to meet your needs and keep costs to a minimum. This workshop is the eastern version of NR16 Aquatic Ecosystem Monitoring and Evaluation, hosted by Region 6 (Forest Service, Pacific Northwest). If you want the aquatic monitoring with a western perspective, you want NR16.

Workshop Outline


  • To introduce the essential elements needed in a successful monitoring program and to provide background information on the legal mandates for agency monitoring.
  • To establish a basic understanding of the biological, physical, and statistical principles necessary for designing effective aquatic monitoring strategies.
  • To introduce field equipment and techniques commonly used in aquatic resource monitoring.
  • To demonstrate a variety of technological developments and state-of-the-art methodologies used for analysis of monitoring data.
  • To provide guidance in interpretation and reporting of monitoring data, and to present examples where such information has served to influence the decision making process.
  • As part of this workshop, attendees will have the opportunity to develop a specific aquatic monitoring program for actual use at their particular field unit.

Brief Description of Workshop:

Introduction to Aquatic Resource Monitoring

In this workshop, speakers will introduce the conceptual framework and thought processes needed to design a monitoring program. This introduction lays the foundation for subsequent parts of the workshop. It will include "how-to's" on setting monitoring objectives and the essential elements of a monitoring plan.

The legal mandates which have required land management agencies to monitor the effects of their activities will be discussed, with an emphasis on the recent events (Clean Water Act, Pacific Northwest Salmon Recovery Strategy, etc...) that have increased both agency and public awareness of importance of protecting aquatic resources.

Developing a Study Design and Statistical Considerations

Effective and efficient monitoring depends on careful consideration of data analysis needs, statistical requirements, and a well-planned study design. These are critical elements in the process of developing a monitoring program that will determine success or failure. This session will include interactive exercises as well as the opportunity for consultation on both statistics and study design questions related to your particular monitoring situations.

Fundamental Biological and Physical Principles

A series of lecturers will present essential information on the ecology of aquatic biota, the dynamics of lotic aquatic ecoysystems (including basic principles of hydrology, fluvial geomorphology, water chemistry/water quality), and structure/function of lentic systems (lakes, reservoirs, and wetlands). The focus will be on those processes/elements which are relevant to aquatic monitoring -- which ones should be included; our abilities to quantify them; and the importance of considering the natural range of variability in selecting those elements to monitor.

Field Data Collection Techniques and Equipment

Attendees will spend time in the field with instructors in "hands-on" sessions developing familiarity with various types of field equipment and sampling techniques related to the lectures on fundamental physical/biological principles. Small groups will rotate among instructors, practicing stream macroinvertebrate collection, water chemistry/quality determinations, measuring important fluvial geomorphic characteristics, taking hydrology measurements, conducting limnological assessments, and monitoring lake/reservoir fish and zooplankton populations.

Monitoring Case Studies

The focus of this session will be to provide demonstrations of how monitoring data is utilized. Included in this session are actual case-study applications where agency biologists and research scientists have conducted successful aquatic resource monitoring projects. A variety of topics will be covered, including effects of timber harvest/roading on stream fish communities, water quality changes in high elevation lakes, effects of land use activities on amphibians, timber harvest impacts on wetlands, acid rain deposition, and monitoring the effectiveness of watershed restoration projects. Presenters will emphasize how their results were provided to decision makers and how such information can be used to effect changes in resource management activities.

Designing Your Own Monitoring Program

Attendees will utilize information presented in the course to develop an aquatic monitoring program for use at their particular field unit. They will have an opportunity to consult with the experts from the previous session and to have these proposals reviewed by both instructors and peers.

Target Group

Natural resource specialists with eastern US aquatic monitoring responsibilities.


No college credit will be offered for this workshop. USU does not allow college credit for workshops using professors from other universities, without first having the professors made adjuncts to USU (which is a long process).

Cost of this training does not include participant lodging or transportation.


  • Professor in Charge: Dr. Brett Roper at 435-755-3566 (broper'at' or
    contact the National Continuing Education Program Leader, Shelly Witt, at 435-881-4203 (switt01'at'

Daily Agenda

Monday, Day 1

Introduction to Aquatic Monitoring (1300)

  • Introductions and Housekeeping, Participants' course expectations
  • Basic principles to be considered in developing a successful monitoring program

Statistics & Study Design Session

  • Important statistical principles and sampling design considerations for aquatic monitoring
  • Statistics and study design continued Group exercises on monitoring study design and statistics
  • Statististical/study design consultation

Tuesday, Day 2

Aquatic Biological & Physical Overview Session: Lentic Aquatic Systems (0800)

  • Ecology/function and monitoring of lentic systems: wetlands Monitoring physical, chemical, and biological changes in wetlands following timber harvest activities
  • Ecology/function and monitoring of lentic systems: lakes and reservoirs
  • Lakes and reservoirs continued
  • Field demonstrations of monitoring techniques for wetlands

Wednesday, Day 3

Aquatic Biological & Physical Overview Session: Lotic Aquatic Systems (0800)

  • Fluvial geomorphology concepts for aquatic monitoring
  • Fluvial geomorphology continued
  • Water chemistry and water quality monitoring
  • Fluvial geomorphology, water chemistry/quality field demonstrations

Thursday, Day 4

Aquatic Biological & Physical Overview Session: Lotic Aquatic Systems (0800)

  • Freshwater mussels: ecology, life history, and current population trends and conservation status
  • Aquatic Macroinvertebrates and Biomonitoring overview
  • Aquatic macroinvertebrates and biomonitoring field session

Friday, Day 5

Monitoring Case Studies(0800)

  • Monitoring aquatic acidification and land use activity effects
  • Monitoring fish population and fish community changes following timber harvest/roading activities
  • Monitoring land management effects on western amphibian populations
  • Evaluation of the R5 ISI methodology for stream channel monitoring
  • Watershed restoration monitoring efforts
  • Course wrap-up & Travel Home

 List of Instructors

Developed based on your topic requests

Disclaimers | Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) | Privacy Notice

Forest Service Continuing Education for Natural Resource Professionals
Author: Shelly Witt, National Continuing Education Coordinator,
WFW staff
Phone: 435-881-4203
Expires: none

Photo Credits

USDA Forest Service
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
(202) 205-8333

 Last Modified: June 2012