Biological Monitoring Program

Round 3 Countywide Biological Monitoring

Coastal Resources, Inc. (CRI) is a subconsultant on this 5-year contract to implement Round 3 of Anne Arundel County’s Biological Monitoring Program under the Bureau of Watershed Protection and Restoration (BWRP). The current contract adds to the data collected in Rounds 1 and 2 to determine conditions in the County as a watershed management tool and identify trends between sampling rounds. Annual monitoring includes benthic macroinvertebrates, aquatic habitat, water quality grab samples and in-situ measurements, physical geomorphology, fish, and herpetofauna at 40 large stream sties (1:100,000 scale stream network), including both random and revisit sites from previous sampling rounds. Annual monitoring also includes assessing 40 small stream sites selected from the County’s 1:2,400 scale small stream coverage to help characterize smaller stream networks that were not assessed during Rounds 1 and 2.All monitoring is being conducted in accordance with Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Biological Stream Survey (MBSS) sampling protocols and Anne Arundel County’s Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP), which was reviewed and updated by CRI prior to the start of the contract. Spring sampling includes benthic macroinvertebrate collection using a 20-jab dip-net sample in the most suitable available habitats; habitat assessments using both the MBSS method and EPA’s Rapid Bioassessment Habitat Protocols; in-situ water chemistry measurements and water quality grab samples for lab analysis; and quantitative geomorphic measurements in the form of cross sections, Wolman Pebble counts, and an abbreviated longitudinal profile. In the summer, habitat assessments and in-situ water chemistry measurements are repeated, and a double-pass electrofishing survey is conducted to document the fish community.  

 Field data are being collected in an electronic geodatabase format, and a rigorous QA/QC program has been instituted for all project activities. The MBSS benthic and fish indices of biological integrity (BIBI and FIBI) and physical habitat index (PHI) are calculated and compiled with geomorphic characteristics, land use data, and water chemistry data to evaluate overall stream condition at each site and within each watershed. Annual reports are completed each year and a comprehensive 5-year report will be developed in the last year of the monitoring contract to summarize results for all the Round 3 monitoring.

Targeted Site Biological Monitoring

CRI has been a prime consultant since 2017 on this contract that includes processing and identification of approximately 35 benthic macroinvertebrate samples annually at the genus-level, following methods in the County’s QAPP and Method Quality Objective (MQO) documents. The benthic samples are for targeted monitoring sites sampled by the Anne Arundel County BWPR. CRI works with an outside laboratory for the processing and identification, but provides project management, data analysis, and secondary quality control (QC) taxonomy. CRI calculates BIBI scores for each sample using the County’s QAPP and MQO documents, which are based on MBSS protocols. Ten percent of samples are randomly selected for re-identification by CRI as a QC measure. CRI resolves any taxonomic disagreements with the outside laboratory and prepares a QC report summarizing the results of QC analysis.

CRI is also working to provide summer field assessments, data entry, and data analysis for targeted sites under the BWPR’s Biological Monitoring Program. Field assessments are conducted in accordance with MBSS sampling protocols and the County’s QAPP. Sampling includes habitat assessments, following both the MBSS method and EPA’s Rapid Bioassessment Protocols; in-situ water chemistry measurements; a double-pass electrofishing survey to document the fish community; a timed herpetofauna survey; and documentation of exotic plant species. Following the field assessments, the MBSS FIBI and PHI scores and metrics, as well as the RBP total habitat score, are calculated and all other data were entered electronically and submitted to the County.


Anne Arundel County, MD


Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works Bureau of Watershed Protection and Restoration (BWPR)

Key Services:

  • Benthic Macroinvertebrate Monitoring
  • Benthic Macroinvertebrate Taxonomic Laboratory Services
  • Habitat and Geomorphic Assessments
  • Electrofishing and Herpetofauna Surveys
  • Data Analysis and Reporting