National Rivers and Streams Assessment

In 2008-2009 and again in 2013-2014 AOI was involved with the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s National Rivers and Streams Assesment (NRSA). AOI assisted in the auditing and training of field crews and sampled over 190 sites throughout Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming. Accessing some sites was challenging and in some instances required multi day float trips including the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho and the Grand Canyon in Arizona. This survey was designed to monitor the condition of the nation’s water resources using statistically valid and environmentally significant metrics. Data from the study will be used to provide local and regional estimates of stream conditions and track changes in these conditions over time.

National Rivers and Streams Assessment

Bob Hughes helped develop and evaluate indicators for the USEPA’s Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) that have since been employed in its National Rivers and Streams Survey (NRSA). His initial focus was on assessing the necessary and sufficient sampling effort for obtaining robust estimates of fish species richness in rivers (Hughes & Herlihy 2007; Kanno et al. 2009). That focus shifted to the development of multi-metric indices for making regional and national assessments of aquatic ecosystem condition (Stoddard et al. 2006; Whittier et al. 2007a,b; Meador et al. 2008; Pont et al. 2009; Stoddard et al. 2008; Kaufmann et al. 2014a,b,c). Additional NRSA and EMAP research topics included assessing ecological risks from non-native species (Lomnicky et al. 2007), mercury in fish tissue (Peterson et al. 2007a,b) and landscape condition (Kaufmann & Hughes 2006; Whittier et al. 2006), as well as various aspects of ecological survey design and implementation (Hughes et al. 2006; McCormick & Hughes 2006; Peck et al. 2006; Hughes & Peck 2008; Hughes et al. 2011).

Associated publications
Hughes, R.M., S.A. Peterson, and F.H. McCormick. 2006. Fish tissue contaminants. Pages 251-258 in Peck, D.V., A.T. Herlihy, B.H. Hill, R.M. Hughes, P.R. Kaufmann, D.J. Klemm, J. M. Lazorchak, F. H. McCormick, S.A. Peterson, P.L. Ringold, T. Magee, and M.R. Cappaert, eds., Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program-Surface Waters: Western Pilot Study field operations manual for wadeable streams. EPA/620/R-06/003. USEPA. Washington, DC.

Hughes, R.M., and A.T. Herlihy. 2007. Electrofishing distance needed to estimate consistent IBI scores in raftable Oregon rivers. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 136:135-141.

Hughes, R.M., and D.V. Peck. 2008. Acquiring data for large aquatic resource surveys: the art of compromise among science, logistics, and reality. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 27:837-859.

Hughes, R.M., P.R. Kaufmann, and M.H. Weber. 2011. Strahler order versus stream size. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 30:103-121.

Kanno, Y., J.C. Vokoun, D.C. Dauwalter, R.M. Hughes, A.T. Herlihy, T.R. Maret, and T.M. Patton. 2009. Influence of rare species on electrofishing distance– species richness relationships at stream sites. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 138:1240-1251.

Kaufmann, P.R., and R.M. Hughes. 2006. Geomorphic and anthropogenic influences on fish and amphibians in Pacific Northwest coastal streams. In R.M. Hughes, L. Wang, and P.W. Seelbach (eds.). Landscape influences on stream habitat and biological assemblages. American Fisheries Society, Symposium 48:429-455.

Kaufmann, P.R., R.M. Hughes, J. Van Sickle, T.R. Whittier, C.W. Seeliger, and S.G. Paulsen. 2014a. Lakeshore and littoral habitat structure: a field survey method and its precision. Lake & Reservoir Management 30:157-176.

Kaufmann, P.R., R.M. Hughes, T.R. Whittier, S.A. Bryce, and S.G. Paulsen. 2014b. Relevance of lake physical habitat assessment indices to fish and riparian birds. Lake & Reservoir Management 30:177-191.

Kaufmann, P.R., D.V. Peck, S.G. Paulsen, C.W. Seeliger, R.M. Hughes, T.R. Whittier, and N.C. Kamman. 2014c. Lakeshore and littoral physical habitat structure in a national lakes assessment. Lake & Reservoir Management 30:192-215.

Lomnicky, G.A., T.R. Whittier, R.M. Hughes, and D.V. Peck. 2007. Distribution of nonnative aquatic vertebrates in western U.S. streams and rivers. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 27:1082-1093.

McCormick, F.H. and R.M. Hughes. 2006. Aquatic vertebrates. Pages 225-250 in Peck, D.V., A.T. Herlihy, B.H. Hill, R.M. Hughes, P.R. Kaufmann, D.J. Klemm, J. M. Lazorchak, F. H. McCormick, S.A. Peterson, P.L. Ringold, T. Magee, and M.R. Cappaert, eds., Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program-Surface Waters: Western Pilot Study field operations manual for wadeable streams. EPA/620/R-06/003. USEPA. Washington, DC.

Meador, M.R., T.R. Whittier, R.M. Goldstein, R.M. Hughes, and D.V. Peck. 2008. Evaluation of an index of biotic integrity approach used to assess biological condition in western U.S. streams and rivers at varying spatial scales. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 137:13-22.

Peck, D.V., A.T. Herlihy, B.H. Hill, R.M. Hughes, P.R. Kaufmann, D.J. Klemm, J. M. Lazorchak, F. H. McCormick, S.A. Peterson, P.L. Ringold, T. Magee, and M.R. Cappaert. 2006. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program-Surface Waters: Western Pilot Study field operations manual for wadeable streams. EPA/620/R-06/003. USEPA. Washington, DC.

Pont, D., R.M. Hughes, T.R. Whittier, and S. Schmutz. 2009. A predictive index of biotic integrity model for aquatic-vertebrate assemblages of western U.S. streams. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 138:292-305.

Peterson, S.A., J. Van Sickle, A.T. Herlihy, and R.M. Hughes. 2007b. Mercury concentration in fish from streams and rivers throughout the western United States. Environmental Science and Technology 41:58-65.

Peterson, S.A., D.V. Peck, J. Van Sickle, and R.M. Hughes. 2007
​a​. Mercury concentration in frozen whole-fish homogenates is insensitive to holding time. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 53:411-417.

Stoddard, J. L, A.T. Herlihy, D.V. Peck, R.M. Hughes, T.R. Whittier, and E. Tarquinio. 2008. A process for creating multi-metric indices for large-scale aquatic surveys. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 27:878-891.

Stoddard, J.L., A.T. Herlihy, B.H. Hill, R.M. Hughes, P.R. Kaufmann, D.J. Klemm, J.M. Lazorchak, F.H. McCormick, D.V. Peck, S.G. Paulsen, A.R. Olsen, D.P. Larsen, J. Van Sickle, and T.R. Whittier. 2006. Mid-Atlantic Integrated Assessment (MAIA): state of the flowing waters report EPA/620/R-06/001, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC.

Whittier, T.R., J.L. Stoddard, R.M. Hughes, and G. Lomnicky. 2006. Associations among catchment- and site-scale disturbance indicators and biological assemblages at least- and most-disturbed stream and river sites in the western USA. In R.M. Hughes, L. Wang, and P.W. Seelbach (eds.). Landscape influences on stream habitat and biological assemblages. American Fisheries Society, Symposium 48:641-664.

Whittier, T.R., R.M. Hughes, J.L. Stoddard, G.A. Lomnicky, D.V. Peck, and A.T. Herlihy. 2007a​. A structured approach to developing indices of biotic integrity: three examples from western USA streams and rivers. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 136:718-735.

Whittier, T. R., R. M. Hughes, G. A. Lomnicky, and D. V. Peck. 2007b​. Fish and amphibian tolerance values and an assemblage tolerance index for streams and rivers in the western USA. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 136:254-271.