Development of a Rapid Bioassessment Technique for Integrating Biological Data into TMDL Assessments in Urban Streams

Project Staff: 

Principal Investigator: Leonard Ferrington Jr., Professor, Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota


USGS-WRRI 104B/ CAIWQ Competitive Grants Program

Project Duration: 

March 2004 - February 2005


The Federal Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 (PL 92-500), as supplemented by the Clean Water Act of 1977 and the Water Quality Act of 1987, serve as the foundation for protecting the quality of US surface waters. Present-day implementation of Section 303d of the Clean Water Act focuses on ambient water quality standards, and requires states to identify surface waters that are not meeting ambient water quality standards appropriate for their designated use categories, and to define the pollutants and their sources that are responsible for non-attainment of the ambient water quality standards. Section 303d further requires states to establish Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) for pollutants impairing the surface waters and to develop strategies for reducing both point and non-point sources of the pollutants in order for the non-attaining water bodies to meet ambient water quality standards. In a recent overview of the TMDL approach to water quality management requested by the US Congress, the National Research Council (2000, text available at made several recommendations for integration of biological data into the TMDL process. Among the recommendations, the report states "EPA should promote the development of models that can more effectively link environmental stressors (and control actions) to biological responses" and "Monitoring and data collection programs need to be coordinated with anticipated water quality and TMDL modeling requirements". This proposal is for developing and refining a rapid bioassessment technique for integrating biological data into a current TMDL study of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed in Carver and Hennepin counties, Minnesota. The technique relies on an innovative approach to use collections of surface-floating pupal exuviae of Chironomidae as the primary sampling protocol. Protocols developed from this research will be tested independently in urban streams of Baltimore, Maryland. Based on results of the Minnesota and Maryland studies, the protocols will be fine tuned as a generalized model for gathering and integrating biological data into TMDL assessments of urban streams in major metropolitan areas.


Refereed Scientific Journal Articles

Bouchard, R.W. Jr., M.A. Carrillo, and L.C. Ferrington Jr. 2006 Lower Lethal Temperature for Adult Male Diamesa mendotae Muttkowski Diptera: Chironomidae , a Winter−Emerging Diamesinae. Aquatic Insects. 28(1): 57−66.

Bouchard, R.W. Jr., M.A. Carrillo, S.A. Kells &L.C. Ferrington Jr. 2006. Freeze tolerance in larvae of the winter−active Diamesa mendotae Muttkowski Diptera: Chironomidae: a contrast to adult strategy for survival at low temperatures. Hydrobiologia 568(1): 403−416.

Conference Proceedings

Ferrington, L.C., Jr. and R.W. Bouchard. 2006. TMDL for trout streams: Winter dynamics matter. Oral Presentation. Minnesota Water 2006 and Annual Water Resources Joint Conference, October 24−25, 2006, Brooklyn Center, MN.