Macroinvertebrate Bioassessment Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and Metric Spreadsheets

Download this pdf file. Guidelines for Using Third Party Biological Data For 305(b)/303(d) Purposes (Revised April 2019)


 Georgia EPD Macroinvertebrate Biological Assessment Workshop for Wadeable Streams Information

Starting in the mid 1980s, biologists for the Watershed Planning and Monitoring Program (WPMP) of EPD's Watershed Protection Branch began adopting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) protocols for watershed assessments and subsequently developed standard operating procedures for macroinvertebrate assessments of streams. From 1998 to 2001, USEPA, with assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), refined the national level III ecoregions. Within each ecoregion, USEPA and NRCS also refined and delineated more localized level IV ecoregions, or subecoregions.


In the early 2000s, Columbus State University (CSU) was contracted by EPD's Watershed Protection Branch to develop macroinvertebrate metric indices that would take into account the ecological differences of Georgia’s subecoregions. Using land-use GIS data, CSU delineated watersheds across all gradients of human disturbance (from least impacted, or reference, to the most heavily impacted) for second- to fourth-order streams statewide. Streams from across the gradient of human disturbance were sampled and analyzed from each of Georgia’s subecoregions. Using the sampling data CSU developed, 24 discrete metric indices, including one tidal index. To go along with these indices, a standardized numerical scoring system was developed, which can then be translated into a five-step descriptive classification system that ranks a stream’s health as very good, good, fair, poor or very poor.

Currently, biologists from the Ambient Monitoring Unit (AMU) in WPMP are working to determine criteria for listing streams on the 303(d) list for impaired water bodies based on macroinvertebrate biology data. Each year, AMU collects new site data to help increase the ability in which the classification system is able to discriminate all environmental gradients. AMU also periodically returns to randomly selected sample sites to gather more data for environmental gradient discrimination and to monitor possible changes due to human disturbance or restoration efforts.


Future projects include evaluating possible differences between drought and non-drought conditions and differences between clear-water and black-water streams that occur in the same subecoregion. Other future projects include developing additional biological criteria and methods using periphyton (attached algae) as indicators and coordinating AMU data with Georgia Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) fish data to get a more complete picture of biological integrity and ecological function of Georgia’s streams.

Download this pdf file. Macroinvertebrate Biological Assessment of Wadeable Streams in Georgia - Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) [May 2007]

Download this zip file. Revised EPD Macroinvertebrate SOP Field Sheets [Aug 31, 2016]

Download this zip file. Watershed Assessment Macroinvertebrate SOP Field and Laboratory Sheets [Aug 31, 2016]

SOP Supporting Documents:

Ecoregion Metric Spreadsheets

The MS Excel spreadsheets and associated documents are compressed into a separate ZIP file for each subecoregion.

Ecoregion 45-Piedmont

Download this zip file. 45a-Southern Inner Piedmont [05/2008]

Download this zip file. 45b-Southern Outer Piedmont [11/2007]

45c-Carolina Slate Belt *Coming Soon*

Download this zip file. 45d-Talladega Upland [11/2007]

45h-Pine Mountain Ridges *Coming Soon*

Ecoregion 65-Southeastern Plains

Download this zip file. 65c-Sand Hills [11/2011] 

Download this zip file. 65d-Southern Hilly Gulf Coastal Plain [11/2007]

Download this zip file. 65g-Dougherty Plain [02/2010]

Download this zip file. 65h-Tifton Upland [11/2007]

Download this zip file. 65k-Coastal Plain Red Uplands [11/2007]

Download this zip file. 65l-Atlantic Southern Loam Plains [12/2011]

65o-Tallahassee Hills/Valdosta Limesink *Coming Soon*

Ecoregion 66-Blue Ridge

Download this zip file. 66d-Southern Crystalline Ridges & Mountains [11/2007]

Download this zip file. 66g-Southern Metasedimentary Mountains [11/2007]

Download this zip file. 66j-Broad Basins [11/2007]

Ecoregion 67-Ridge & Valley

Download this zip file. 67f&i-Southern Limestone/Dolomite Valleys & Low Rolling Hills and Southern Dissected Ridges & Knobs [06/2018] *New Update*

Download this zip file. 67g-Southern Shale Valleys [11/2007]

67h-Southern Sandstone Ridges *Coming Soon*

Ecoregion 68-Southwestern Appalachians

68c&d-Plateau Escarpment and Southern Table Plateaus *Coming Soon*

Ecoregion 75-Southern Coastal Plain

Download this zip file. 75e-Okefenokee Plains [12/2011]

Download this zip file. 75f-Sea Island Flatwoods (non-tidal) [12/2011]

75h-Bacon Terraces *Coming Soon*

Download this zip file. 75j-Sea Islands/Coastal Marsh (non-tidal) [11/2007]

Download this zip file. Tidal-75f&j [11/2007]

For questions about the macroinvertebrate SOP, please contact Michele Brossett, 404-651-8451, [email protected] or Cody Jones, 404-651-8452, [email protected].