Recommendations for Chesapeake Bay-wide Indicators of Physical Stream Health

Mark Southerland PhD, Senior Ecologist, Tetra Tech

Richard Starr, Senior Water Resources Scientist, Ecosystem Planning & Restoration

Nancy Roth, Senior Watershed Scientist, Tetra Tech

This project, “Scope of Work 12: Data Review and Development of Multi-Metric Stream Health Indicators,” is a continuation of work developed by the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) Stream Health Work Group (SHWG) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to better understand the drivers and stressors affecting stream health throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Currently, the Chesapeake basin-wide benthic macroinvertebrate index of biotic integrity, or “Chessie BIBI,” is the sole indicator of stream health being used by the SHWG. For this project we interviewed experts, reviewed data, created a framework, provided a data inventory matrix, and made recommendations to help develop multi-metric stream health indicators for hydraulics and geomorphology (hydromorphology). The development of these additional indicators will address the significant science and management need to better understand and communicate how streams respond to management actions.

Author Bio

Mark Southerland has a Ph.D. in ecology and has spent the last 30 years working as a consultant to monitor, assess, and restore ecosystems in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. He was the primary author of the EPA national program guidance on biological criteria and has been the lead consultant on the Maryland Biological Stream Survey for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) since its inception in 1993. He has also supported the impaired waters, stressor identification, and TMDL programs for the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). Since 1996, he has helped 18 counties and cities in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, and South Carolina develop stormwater programs and comply with the Chesapeake Bay and local TMDLs. Mark has served as board chair of Maryland Water Monitoring Council, Patapsco Heritage Greenway, and Howard County Environmental Sustainability Board. He is also a member of the Science Council of the Maryland Academy of Sciences and Safe Skies Maryland.