Many of the technical reports published by the Commission include scientific assessments of stream life communities. The Commission evaluates stream life as one means to qualitatively characterize stream conditions. Through 2014, the Commission used the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Rapid Bioassessment Protocol (RBP) (EPA/444/4-89-001) to assess stream communities. The RBP outcome assigns one of four Biological Condition Categories (e.g., nonimpaired, slightly impaired, moderately impaired, and severely impaired) that compare the assessed stream’s living community traits with conditions of a similar reference stream.
State agencies that regulate water quality and determine the designated use of waters pursuant to the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) also use the terms “assessment” and “impaired.” When applied in the context of CWA regulations, the terms “assessment” and “impaired” convey specific legal meaning. Because the Commission’s assessments are not for regulatory purposes, our use of the term “impaired,” consistent with RBP Biological Condition Categories, describes a qualitative comparison with a reference setting only. To avoid confusion over the term “impaired,” in 2015, the Commission began using a different data analysis method that allows the application of descriptive characterizations of water quality at sites (e.g., very good, good, fair, poor, and very poor).
Pub. 304 2014 Nutrients and Suspended Sediment in the Susquehanna River Basin (December 2015)
Pub. 301 Biological and Water Quality Assessment of the Lower Susquehanna River: New Cumberland, PA (RM 69) to Conowingo, MD (RM 10), June to August 2014 (September 2015)
Pub. 297 Remote Water Quality Monitoring Network Data Report of Baseline Conditions 2010-2013 (June 2015)
Pub. 296 2013 Nutrients and Suspended Sediment in the Susquehanna River Basin (December 2014)
Pub. 295 Susquehanna River Basin Flow Monitoring Network Technical Summary - 2013 (September 2014)
Pub. 294 Upper Susquehanna River Subbasin Year-1 Survey: A Water Quality and Biological Assessment, May-August 2013 (September 2014)
Pub. 293 Assessment of Interstate Streams in the Susquehanna River Basin, Monitoring Report No. 27, January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013 (September 2014)