Biological and Chemical Benchmarking of Streams, Rivers, and Watersheds
Scientific Benchmarking is the most important method in the protection and evaluation of aquatic ecosystems and watersheds. Benchmarking establishes a baseline for a stream or river on a continuum. The failure to properly benchmark aquatic ecosystems has resulted in the wasting of hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars in ill conceived environmental projects. Benchmarking consists of laboratory grade chemical water sampling and analysis. A physical and environmental habitat assessment is done in relationship to the stream or river. Finally, a complete biological sampling and assessment of the watershed or aquatic ecosystem is done using qualitative macroinvertebrate collecting techniques and semi-quantitative macroinvertebrates (EPA RBPs) if applicable. Fish sampling is often done in conjunction with benthic macroinvertebrate samplings. It should be noted however, that because fish populations are transient they do not always show past ecological conditions of the water.
All of the data are brought together and analyzed. With proper analysis the aquatic system has now an established baseline. Once this baseline has been established a complete remediation and protection plan can be started. If a stream, river or watershed is not benchmarked to establish a baseline all other projects are without scientific merit.
Good aquatic ecologists or aquatic scientists understand the importance of proper benchmarking as the first step to proper stream, river and watershed management. Never under any circumstance allow other work to be done on any stream or river without first benchmarking and establishing a baseline. If you do you will have compromised the entire project. Environmental science must use the proper methods to address the conditions of the watershed, unfortunately these samplings are often done improperly and produce erroneous data. Sometimes this is because the people performing such studies are ill trained or completely lacking in experience. This is often the case with large firms because of the bottom line. You can be assured that our methods, data, and analysis will be the best available. Eugene Macri stakes his reputation on his work.