Title Page
 Half Title
 Setting up the monitoring...
 Water quality monitoring
 Refuge plans, workshop list, MACH...
 United States government memor...

Group Title: Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Technical report no. 34
Title: Monitoring water quality and habitat
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00073896/00001
 Material Information
Title: Monitoring water quality and habitat guidelines for National Wildlife Refuges in Region IV,
Series Title: Technical report
Physical Description: 78 p. : maps ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Sullivan, Rick
University of Florida -- School of Forest Resources and Conservation
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service -- Region IV
Publisher: School of Forest Resources and Conservation, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: <1989>
Subject: Wildlife refuges -- Southern States   ( lcsh )
Habitat conservation -- Southern States   ( lcsh )
Water quality -- Monitoring -- Southern States   ( lcsh )
Conservation of natural resources -- Southern States   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by Rick Sullivan ... <et al.>
Funding: This collection includes items related to Florida’s environments, ecosystems, and species. It includes the subcollections of Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit project documents, the Sea Grant technical series, the Florida Geological Survey series, the Coastal Engineering Department series, the Howard T. Odum Center for Wetland technical reports, and other entities devoted to the study and preservation of Florida's natural resources.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00073896
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001135499
oclc - 38142452
notis - AFN4690

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Title page
    Half Title
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Setting up the monitoring progress
        Page 9
        Page 10
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        Page 19
        Page 20
    Water quality monitoring
        Page 21
        Page 22
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        Page 25
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    Refuge plans, workshop list, MACH kit tests
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    United States government memorandum
        Page 64
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Full Text

Cooperative Fish &
Wildlife Research Unit

Guidelines for National Wildlife Refuges
in Region IV
Rick Sullivan, John Richardson,
Wiley Kitchens and Thomas J. Smith, III

School of Forest Resources and Conservation
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida

For additional copies contact:

Coopertive Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
117 Newins- Ziegler Hall
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida 32611


University of Florida
Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commision
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


National Wildlife Refuges in Region IU

by Rick Sullivan, John Richardson, Wiley Kitchens and Thomas

J. Smith, III (Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife

Research Unit)




This manual has been generated in response to the needs

of the National Wildlife Refuge System in USFWS Region q to

protect habitat of overwintering waterfowl. Its purpose is

to aid in developing a basic program to monitor water

quality and vegetational changes on refuges. The objective

of the monitoring program might be thought of as the

establishment of a safety net, catching trends in water

quality in time for managers to take action and prevent

habitat damage.

Since conditions differ widely on various refuges, this

manual is designed to be flexible enough to provide guidance

in a variety of situations, yet still give managers the

information they need to make decisions. For that reason,

this is not a detailed instruction manual on how to conduct

a program. Rather, it is a guide on two levels: 1) it

serves as a guide to the decision-making process involved in

designing a monitoring program, and 2) it directs readers

to the proper resources for explicit directions on different

aspects of that program.

The concept of this manual was developed in a two-part

process. In the first part, the authors made site visits to

each of 8 refuges in Region 4 Csee attached list) and

conducted interviews and site inspections with the refuge

managers and selected staff. The second step was to conduct

a workshop with representatives of each of these refuges.

The workshop provided both the instructional training

and the opportunity for the participants to draw up

collectively the recommended plans for water quality and

vegetation monitoring on each of the refuges. These plans

(appended in the manual) were formulated using the same

conceptual process and guidelines contained in this manual.

The plans serve as examples spanning the range of refuge

habitat types Ccoastal, riverine, lacustrine) in the Region.

Refuge personnel often have very full work loads,

particularly during peak seasons. This has been kept in

mind in the preparation of this manual; hopefully much of

the field work, in particular, can be incorporated into the

framework of existing work schedules, minimizing the

addition of new work hours. At the same time, it should be

remembered that the resulting monitoring program is designed

to detect long-term trends in different facets of water

quality; it must rely on consistency for much of its

effectiveness. Gaps in the recording of data, like holes in

a net, will greatly reduce the effectiveness of the program.

The manual does not assume that refuge personnel have

previous expertise in water testing. It is a practical,

rather than a comprehensive, guide. It is designed to

provide the necessary information or references so that

anyone with a basic biological background can operate and

interpret the tests with confidence. Changes in personnel

or work schedules therefore should not affect the program.

At the same time, consistency in testing procedures is a

very important factor; as far as possible the work should be

carried out by the same person or people each testing


Importance of Water Qualitu

Water quality is intricately linked to the quality of

wildlife habitat in a refuge. Each set of water conditions

favors certain plants; as the conditions change, the habitat

also changes. Often the first indicator that a refuge

manager gets of changes in water quality on a refuge is a

shift in vegetation, affecting wildlife. By the time that

is noticed and the problem is pinpointed, it can be well


This is particularly important in coastal environments

where brackish and salt water encroachment into more

desirable fresh water marsh habitats and wholesale

vegetative losses to open water can result. When water

conditions are constantly monitored, it is easier to detect

early trends that might lead later to major habitat

alterations, providing lead time for management


Traditionally, at most refuges, management is geared to

waterfowl, and that creates another complication. Waterfowl

in large numbers can have great effects on local water

quality, both through the wastes they produce and their

physical disruption of the vegetation.

Early detection of changes in water quality--before

those changes are reflected in altered habitat-- enables

refuge managers to adapt their management practices to meet

anticipated problems. It can also provide insights to the

sources of the problems and enable corrective responses

before they go too far. But that detection relies on a

regular and conscientious testing program.

Other Testing

The USFWS is also developing and assessing a

comprehensive testing program for water contaminants in

national wildlife refuges. The program is being developed

through the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory. However,

there are some significant differences between that program

and the one recommended here. The two have different

purposes, and should be thought of as complementary rather

than interchangeable.

If adopted the Idaho program will be a comprehensive

contaminant monitoring program for each refuge, designed to

test water for outside pollutants, such as PCBs, heavy

metals, pesticides and herbicides. Tests will be less

frequent than those recommended here and will involve

trained specialists rather than refuge staff; analysis will

not be conducted on the spot. Probably the major USFWS

research centers will play a role.

The program discussed here will deal principally with

limnological water quality parameters, rather than just

contaminants. It is designed to allow refuge managers to be

constantly aware of the condition of waters in their


Organization of the manual

This manual is laid out in a series of steps

parallelling the decision-making process for designing a

monitoring program. Although this may occasionally give an

impression of redundancy, particularly in the use of

headings, we feel that it is the most useful division of

information for potential users of the manual. The steps


A. Setting Up the Monitoring Program

1. Planning a water testing program

a. inventorying critical habitats

b. considering factors that influence habitats

c. deciding on frequency of samples

4. choosing locations for samples

2. Planning a vegetative sampling program

B. Monitoring Water Quality

1. parameters to consider

2. equipment

3. taking samples

4. running tests

C. Uegetation and habitat monitoring

1. setting up transects

2. sampling vegetation

D. Recording, storing and using data


The following references are considered mandatory because

of their depth of coverage of topics that are only briefly

described in the guide.

Water Qualitu Criteria: An overview for park

natural resource specialists (Water Resources

Field Support Laboratory, National Park Service,

Colorado State University, Fort Collins).

This document provides a good breakdown of

individual water quality parameters with a short

discussion of the basic properties of the

parameter, the EPA drinking water standard for

it, what types of effects the material has on

aquatic life and other important information. It

provides a source to find what levels to expect in

tests of natural waters and further references to

get more information.

Methods to Estimate Aouatic Habitat Variables

CColorado State University, Colorado Cooperative

Fishery Research Unit).

A real "how-to" book for setting up certain

types of experimental measurements such as

determining area, depth, flows, and chemical

measures. A very good reference source for

finding further information.

Inventoru and Monitoring of Wildlife Habitat

CCooperrider, Boyd and Stuart, eds. U.S. Dept. of

the Interior, Bureau of Land Management).

A prime resource for determining habitat

variables and developing measurements for them.

Sections on planning, major habitats, species

groups, habitat measurements and analysis along

with many literature citations make this book a

must for any wildlife refuge. It also has a good

description of data management and statistical


HACH Water Analusis Handbook The manual that

comes with the HACH kit for chemical analysis. It

describes all of the needed tests and the "recipe"

instructions for carrying them out.

Ecoloou and Field Bioloou CSmith, R.L., Harper and

Row, New York, 1986, third ed.)

The basic manual for field biology, with

sections on different ecosystems and appendices on

statistical methods, environmental measurements

and other topics.

Water Qualitu Field Guide CUnited States Dept. of

Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service:


A general guide dealing with nonpoint sources

of pollution, especially from agricultural lands.

CHAPTER ONE: Setting Up the Monitoring Program


The aim of this program is to set up a sampling scheme

that monitors the temporal and spatial dynamics of water and

habitat conditions on a refuge. In order to do this, it

will be necessary to sample regularly at a sufficient number

of points to catch both the spatial and temporal variance of

the individual system. In order to give an overview of the

refuge's water quality, an intensive, yearly sample is also

recommended. Although a number of tests will be recommended

and described here, it will probably not be necessary for

each refuge to conduct all of them. Rather, the sampling

regime for each refuge will be individually tailored to the

particular problems and conditions of that refuge.

Planning a Water Testing Program

The first step in the planning process is to identify

and inventory critical habitats within the refuge. Those

habitats must be located, their extent determined and the

type of use they receive considered. For instance, at

Mattamuskeet NWR submerged aquatic beds in Lake Mattamuskeet

are critical to waterfowl usage. It is important that the

extent, type and specific locations of those habitats be

determined. In later sections we will provide guidance in

establishing transects, taking samples and mapping habitat,

as well as identifying factors that may affect the water

quality conditions and therefore the habitats themselves.

The next step is to consider the factors that may

affect the water quality conditions and therefore the

habitats themselves. These factors are:

1) water sources: One of the most important factors

in water quality is the source of the water. It is

important to know the major water sources for each refuge;

the origin of the water may have much to do with its

sensitivity to pollutants or their presence or absence.

Many refuges in this region have control structures that

provide flexibility for selecting and manipulating water

deliveries from various sources, ranging from fresh water to

estuarine. Sources may be located by physically

backtracking the incoming water or consulting state

geological or other agencies.

2) inflows, outflows and the relationships between

them: Inflows can be viewed as point sources and

should be monitored accordingly. Prior to opening intakes,

we recommend testing water on both sides of control

structures to assure consistent water quality conditions.

The balance of inflow and outflow determines how much

water is in the system at a given time. By calculating

volumes of water (flow rate times cross sectional area of

the intake) entering any segment of the refuge over a

particular period of time and multiplying by the

concentration level of a substance dissolved in the water, a

loading rate can be determined for that period of time. The

same calculation can be made for outflows, and the

difference between the two is the amount of storage or

retention of that substance remaining over the specified

time frame. This type of calculation provides an index of

buildup in the system. It can be used to calculate how much

water would be required to dilute that substance to some

desired level; it is particularly applicable to salt.

3) storage volumes and turnover rates: The amount of

water held on a refuge and the rate at which that water

replaces itself may affect the quality of the water in many

ways. Large storage and slow turnover can lead to a buildup

of nutrients and pollutants, especially when inflows are

strong. The same conditions can also affect the amount of

dissolved oxygen in the water.

The simplest method for calculating turnover in the

refuge is to calculate the volume of water and divide it by

the yearly inflow or outflow (assuming they are the same).

If the refuge has significantly high or low flow periods, it

may be useful to calculate for shorter intervals.

Turnover time must be taken into consideration when

figuring the rate of sampling. For instance, Lacassine NWR

is largely self-contained; water is supplied almost

completely by rainwater. In such a system, you would not

expect to see large variations in most parameters. But

Felsenthal NWR, with high flow rates right through its green

tree reservoir, has a high turnover rate and continual

replacement of water. That also means a high turnover rate

of substances carried by the water. While Lacassine's water

quality is primarily a factor of internal influences,

Felsenthal's is the result of external contributions. On

externally-influenced refuges water quality can change more

quickly than on those where the water system is more

self-contained; their sampling rates should generally be


Further information on flow-rates and other

calculations is contained in Methods to Estimate Aquatic

Habitat Uariables Csee References, Introduction).

4) water flow levels and hudroperiod: Water flow

typically varies seasonally and may vary considerably within

seasons, depending on rainfall. The amount of water within

the refuge--which is a function of storage capacity as well

as inflow and outflow--will change the areal boundaries

between wetlands and uplands. Those boundaries will also be

altered by channel networks, dikes and other control

structures, as well as islands and vegetation clumps.

Fluctuating boundaries may strongly influence vegetation and

wildlife. Circulation within certain basins can also be

altered by the vegetation itself; dense vegetation can

affect inflow and outflow.

Hydroperiod is particularly important. Hydroperiod is

a critical factor in determining vegetational composition of

habitat as well as overall quality of the habitat for

wildlife, especially waterfowl. Crude estimates of

hydroperiod can be made by determining the amount of time

the water level exceeds the surface elevation of the wetland

in a year; i.e., the amount of time that water covers the

habitat. Consideration of hydroperiod can be much more

complex; frequency as well as duration of inundation can be

determined using the same kind of methodology. To make this

possible, we recommend establishing staff gauges within

canals and other waterways associated with wetlands, as well

as in the wetlands themselves, and routinely monitoring them

throughout the year.

5) nutrients: Uegetative components of these habitats

are responsive to nutrient levels and availability.

Typically, species composition is maintained within given

ranges of nutrient levels. Changes in nutrient levels can

lead to degradation of habitat by encouraging excessive

algal blooms which tend to smother fish and invertebrates,

or result in invasion by less desirable species such as

cattails, which have little or no waterfowl or fish habitat

value. By measuring nutrients in habitats as part of a

water quality monitoring program, the baseline range of

nutrient conditions can be determined and possible

deleterious changes measured against it.

6) possible point sources of pollution: Waste dumps,

drill holes, industrial sites, and farms are all possible

point sources for pollutants. Any point source within a

refuge should be monitored for possible inflow into refuge


7) historical usage patterns of the refuse: Past

management or land use practices on the refuge may have

affected water flow, storage and pollutant buildups in the

water. Any available sources of information on past land

use within the refuge should be investigated. Refuge staff

should be familiar with past usage patterns and alert to

their influence on present water regimes on the refuge.

8) current usage patterns on the refuse: Management

practices that alter the water regime on a refuge can

obviously affect the overall water quality; dams, dikes,

canals, irrigation ditches, and other structures can change

the flow pattern. These factors should be taken into

account as they relate to those described above.

Freouencu of Samplino

The third step in planning a monitoring program is to

determine the frequency with which samples are to be taken.

There are two major considerations in determining how often

to sample water. The first of these is the need to get

sufficient data to make the program useful.

Sampling must at least be done seasonally, since water

conditions can change with seasonal changes in weather,

precipitation, wildlife and human activities. However,

sampling only once each season gives little indication of

trends within each period.

If samples are taken monthly, it is possible to

identify trends in water quality changes. Monthly sampling

gives two or three samples within each season, and yields a

much clearer picture of changing water quality.

Monthly sampling also occurs often enough for refuge

staff to keep their skills and maintain consistency in the

way they take the water samples and conduct the tests.

Consistency in procedures is an important factor in the

reliability of the monitoring program.

The second consideration in scheduling the monitoring

program is the optimal use of staff work hours. The final

schedule must be a balance of those two factors, reflecting

a compromise between data collection and scheduling

considerations. For most refuges a monthly sampling

schedule best meets both needs; however, on some refuges

special conditions may warrant more or less frequent


A monthly sampling regime at a minimum number of points

describes the water quality at selected points over a long

period of time. However, it is not very helpful in

obtaining an overall spatial picture of the water quality on

a refuge. To obtain a better sense of how water quality may

vary over the refuge we recommend a more comprehensive

spatial sampling effort--that is, a one-time sample of a

large number of points, conducted once a year.

The yearly sample is conducted by setting up a number

of grid points, evenly distributed over the refuge. By

using a Loran system or photo-based maps, each grid point

can be visited and water samples taken. Rather than run all

the tests on those samples, it is more efficient to run a

subset of them. A test for specific conductivity Cor

salinity) is a good general indicator of water quality, and

dissolved oxygen readings are useful if a d.o. meter is

already being used in the program. If nutrients are a

possible concern, a nitrate or phosphate test is also


This yearly spatial sample can be an indicator of the

overall health of the water system, as well as pointing out

potential problem spots. It may also be used to determine

locations for monthly sampling points.

It should be remembered that this is designed to be a

monitoring program, not a scientific research effort. Thus

we are not recommending such procedures as taking replicate

samples at each site. We recommend taking only one sample;

if necessary a test can be rerun from the same sample. If

the results still don't seem right, it may be necessary to

return to the site for a second sample.

The fact that only single samples will be taken,

though, places even more importance on the care that the

staff worker takes in collecting the samples and in

conducting the tests. It cannot be stressed too strongly

that the program's usefulness will depend on care and

consistency in both sampling and testing.

Locations for Samolina

The selection of sampling sites will in the end rely on

the knowledge of refuge personnel. They are the people who

best know the refuge on a day-in, day-out basis. In making

the selection they should consider several factors:

1) inflows and outflows: Sample sites should be

established at inflow and outflow points.

Keep in mind that the quality of water coming into the

refuge may vary seasonally, particularly if activities on

surrounding lands and waters are of a seasonal nature.

Agriculture is the most common example of this, with

fertilizers and pesticides applied at certain times of the

year and entering the local water regime, or slugs of

materials released after crop harvests. A testing program

that did not take this seasonality into account might give a

misleading view of the refuge's water situation.

2) concentrations of waterfowl: Heavy concentrations

of waterfowl can alter water quality to a significant

degree. Not only do they add great amounts of nutrients in

the form of waste, but they can alter the vegetation pattern

by feeding or nesting. Heavy-use areas should be

monitored, perhaps more frequently during peak

concentrations of waterfowl. Water flow will greatly affect

the buildup of nutrient wastes in waterfowl areas; outflow

can also transport those wastes to other parts of the

refuge. Such outflow points should be monitored


3) potential point sources: Industrial sites, waste

dumps, drilling sites and intensive agricultural areas are

all potential point sources for pollutants. Any inflow from

such areas should be monitored carefully for appropriate

additives; it is advisable to establish a transect of

sampling points across the grade of pollutants from a point

source, i.e. running back up the flow of water toward the

source, to determine the rate of spread.

4) circulation patterns within the system: Managers

should be aware of areas of poor or very good circulation,

as well as the general circulation patterns within a refuge.

Circulation can be a major factor in the buildup of

pollutants or nutrients in a refuge. Loops, dead ends,

areas that are enclosed or cut by levees, areas surrounded

by vegetation-- any of these may show poor water

circulation. If there are suspicions that an area has

unusually poor circulation, a sample site may be put in

there. Overall familiarity with the refuge will probably be

the best guide to such areas.

5) vegetative communities: It is important to know

what kinds of water quality are associated with particular

vegetative communities, particularly if those communities

are important habitat or are invasive to the refuge. Sample

sites should be established in major habitat areas; they

should also be set both within and near invasive communities

such as cattails.

Uegetation Sampling

The factors discussed so far deal with water quality

directly, but it is also desirable to track indirect effects

by monitoring vegetation and habitat changes. To do so, it

is necessary to set up sample plot transects and monitor

them regularly. Changes in the vegetative cover can be

indicators of underlying water quality changes.

A number of parameters are important in assessing

vegetative cover. They include:

1) species composition

2) species freouencu

3) percent cover

1) standing crop/biomass

5) orimaru production

On a scale of difficulty, testing those parameters

ranges from easy (composition) to hard (production). The

decision as to which parameters to use will be balanced

between the need to obtain as much data as possible and the

time and effort required to test some parameters. Important

questions to ask before starting a monitoring program are:

1) where to sample and 2) how frequently to sample. These

and other questions about vegetation monitoring will be

dealt with in Chapter 3.

It is also helpful to know something about the history

of testing on the refuge, or at least to have an idea if

major vegetative changes have taken place. The better the

vegetative patterns of the refuge are known, the more likely

it is that differences will be noticed when they first

occur. It is important to take notes of significant

observations--a new species of plant, a shift in the balance

between two plant groups, an invader moving into an

area--and keep them in a notebook. That notebook should be

part of the documentation of the monitoring program and thus

be available to whomever may take over testing in the


CHAPTER TWO: Water Quality Monitoring

Water Qualitu Parameters

A major step in designing a monitoring program is the

decision about which parameters to monitor. There are many

factors that can affect water quality, but not all of them

apply to all refuges. In fact, some of them may be

significant only in special cases. Management must

consider the conditions on their refuges when deciding

testing parameters, and balance the time and effort required

for some tests against their relevance to the local


A list of the most common and useful water quality

parameters is given below (descriptions and discussions are

drawn from a variety of sources, particularly those listed

in References). We recommend that a battery of these tests

be considered as a minimum sampling effort.


1) conductivitu and salinity: Small quantities of

mineral salts are usually contained in natural inland

waters, but these are generally insignificant. However, the

relatively small volumes of inland waters make them

sensitive to saline inputs. In waters polluted by brines,

agricultural runoff and various chemical wastes, salt

concentrations may rise to harmful levels.

Coastal refuges may experience raised salinity levels

as a result of storm surges, leaks in dikes or levees or

depleted ground water levels. Canals and local subsidence

tend to encourage the upstream encroachment of coastal salt


Salinity is often expressed as specific electrical

conductance; thus, conductivity readings can be used as

measurements of total salinity. Conductivity tests should

be made wherever saline intrusion is suspected; old drilling

sites, for instance, can become point sources for salt

pollution even after drilling has stopped.

In many refuges it is salinity more than any other

factor that determines the dominant vegetative community and

consequently the quality of wildlife habitat.

2) oH: pH is a measure of hydrogen ion activity or

concentration in water; below the neutral value of pH 7 a

solution is acidic, and above pH 7 it is alkaline. A change

of one number in the pH indicates a tenfold change in

hydrogen ion concentration.

Since it can directly or indirectly affect the

concentrations or activity of other chemicals in the water,

pH is an important description of the chemical and

biological systems of natural waters. Generally, the

ability of aquatic organisms to complete a life cycle

greatly diminishes as pH becomes greater than 9.0 or less

than 5.0 (although the EPA criterion for freshwater aquatic

llife is 6.5 to 9.0).

Photosynthesis by aquatic plants removes C02 from the

water, which can significantly increase pH. Therefore, in

waters with plant life (including planktonic algae),

especially low-velocity or still waters, an increase in pH

can be expected during the growing season. Eutrophic lakes

and isolated backwaters often exhibit marked pH increases

resulting from photosynthesis. Furthermore, in the depths

of a eutrophic lake, pH will drop because of decomposition

of settling debris and the consequent increase in CO2.

The turbulence of flowing water promotes gaseous

interchange between the atmosphere and water. The C02

content of water in rivers and streams is less likely to

change, but be aware of other events in the watershed that

may affect pH. Increased leaching of soils or mineral

outcrops during heavy precipitation affects pH downstream.

Human activities--e.g., accidental spills, agricultural

runoff (pesticides, fertilizers, soil leachates), sewer

overflow--may also change pH.

Acid rain, the product of fossil fuel combustion,

produces sulfur dioxide and other oxides which combine with

water to form acids. Water bodies with low buffering

capacity (i.e. low alkalinity) cannot counteract acid rain.

However, the pH of water does not indicate its buffering

capacity, which is controlled by the amounts of alkalinity

and acidity present.

3) alkalinitu: Alkalinity is the sum total of the

components in the water that tend to elevate the pH of water

above a value of about 4.5--that is, a measure of the

water's base capacity. It is measured by titration with

standardized acid to a pH value of about 4.5 and expressed

as mg/l of calcium carbonate. Alkalinity is therefore a

measure of the buffering capacity of water, and thus its

resistance to change in pH.

The buffering capacity of water is critical to aquatic

life. The stability of many compounds is affected by pH.

Aluminum, for instance, is dissolved at both high and low

pHs but not at middle levels; shifts in pH can also mobilize

metals such as lead or affect the activity of phosphorus.

The binding of certain anions to clay particles is also

affected by pH.

A refuge where buffering capacity is important is

Mattamuskeet NWR. With soft water and low alkalinity,

Mattamuskeet can get large shifts in pH from normal events.

These shifts could be instrumental in mobilizing lead from

spent shot that are imbedded in sediments.

1) dissolved oxunen: DO is one of the most important

indicators of the quality of water for aquatic life. Oxygen

dissolves feeely in water as a result of photosynthesis,

community respiration, diffusion at the air/water interface,

and wind-driven mixing. Temperature, pressure, and salinity

determine the amount of DO water can hold, or its saturation

level. Dissolved-oxygen concentrations below 3.0 mg/1 are

generally considered harmful to aquatic life, but

requirements vary according to species, temperature, life

stage, activity, and concentration of dissolved substances

in the water. Embryonic development demands the highest DO

concentrations of any life stage. (Methods to Estimate

Aquatic Habitat Uariables)

5) nutrients: The effects of adding nutrients

(particularly phosphates and nitrates) to aquatic systems

are well known. Additional nutrients can alter the

vegetative community significantly and excessive loading can

lead to artificial eutrophication. An excessive growth of

vegetation can lead to higher pH, lower amounts of oxygen

available in the water, and the other conditions mentioned

in the section on pH. Typical results are algal blooms or

an influx of cattails, pushing out other vegetation.

Particularly important are nitrates CNO3), ammonium CNHq),

and phosphate (POL). Sulfate (SO4) and sulfides (S ) are

important in coastal impoundments and should be considered

in the sampling process for coastal refuges.

6) heavu metals: The possibility of heavy metal

contamination should be kept in mind whenever there is a

chance of industrial wastes entering refuge waters, either

directly or indirectly, through waste dumps or landfills.

Lead from previous hunting activities should always be


7) contaminants: In general, contaminants will not be

considered directly in the program resulting from this

effort. Contaminant testing will be dealt with in the

report generated by the Idaho National Engineering Lab.

program. However, where specific contaminants pose a

potential problem tests can be included in the monthly

program Csee the appendix for a list of tests that can be

done with the HACH kit).

B) temperature: Care must be exercised that water

temperature records reflect the actual conditions in the

body of water. Temperature readings should be taken at the

same depth as the water samples; that is, just below the


9) depth: Water depth is a strong determinant of

plant communities and individual species. Changes in water

depth may be either seasonal or random; the latter will be

more disruptive to established plant communities. Water

levels can be manipulated to encourage or discourage

particular plants for wildlife management purposes, as by

maintaining natural hydroperiods in managed areas.

10) turbiditu: Turbidity is an "expression of the

optical property that causes light to be scattered and

absorbed rather than transmitted in straight lines through

the sample" CAPHA 19B0). Factors such as particle size

distribution, shape, refractive index, and absorptivity

affect light scattering, so it is impractical to consider

relating scattered light measurement to the concentration of

suspended solids. In clear, brightly lit streams, some

turbidity can enhance photosynthesis by lowering light to

less inhibiting levels. More often, photosynthesis is

reduced; and, if it is caused by inorganic particulates,

turbidity can interfere with the filter apparatus of

invertebrates, the gills of fish, and the foraging success

of sight feeders. Within a specific body of water,

turbidity is a seasonal phenomenon depending on stream

discharge, biotic activities, wind circulation, and chemical


Equipment Selected refuges in the region have acquired

DREL/5 Hach Kits for water testing. Obtaining this kit is

an absolute prerequisite for this program. The first step

should be to familiarize yourselves with the kit. It is

recommended that the instruction booklet that accompanies

the kit be photocopied and the original kept in the lab or

refuge library. The pages of the copy can be plasticized or

the copy can be kept in a plastic bag for field reference.

It is also advantageous to punch the copy for ring binders

and use cloth reinforcement rings around the holes. The

copy can be held together with split rings or put into a

binder for easy use. Personal notes on sampling procedures,

methods or local conditions can be added as needed.

Also recommended are Zip-Lock or other resealable

plastic bags for water samples (heavy-duty or freezer bags

are best), permanent-ink felt-tip pens for writing on the

bags, and a field notebook for making observations that

might be of later interest. If the Hach kit manual is in a

binder, the field notebook can be made simply by adding

extra loose leaf pages at the end. In that way, everything

can be kept together. Plastic pockets, punched for ring

binders, are available at most places that sell school

supplies; they are an excellent way to keep pens, pencils

and extra supplies from getting lost. Waterproof paper and

pencil or permanent ink should be used in notebooks.

Taking Water Samples

Tests should not be conducted in the field. It is far

better to take samples and carry them back to base for the

tests to be run. Each bag should be clearly marked and

identified before the sample is taken (while the bag is

still dry). The bag should be put in the water C a few

inches under the surface) while still closed, then opened

and resealed under water. Trash and floating debris should

be kept out if possible; avoid stirring up sediments,

especially with the boat.

Consistency is the single most important factor in

water testing. Each test should be taken in exactly the

same manner, at the same depth, and clearly marked for later


Running the Tests

Any of the recommended water tests can be run with the

Hach kit (see appendix -- for a list of tests that can be

done). Every effort should be made to run the tests within

24 hours of taking the samples. Great care should be taken

in conducting the tests and recording the results (see Ch.

L ).

Complete instructions for each test are given in the

Hach kit manual, along with background information. It

should never be forgotten that diligence, consistency and

repeatability are the most important factors in long-term

monitoring. Each test should be run in exactly the same way

(or as near as possible) each time. The directions should

be followed exactly. If it is found necessary to alter the

testing procedure in any way, such as diluting the water to

bring the sample within the testable limits, then a note of

that fact should be made in the instruction manual.

Supplies for the HACH Kit: It is important to keep a three

to six month stock of supplies on hand for the HACH kit.

Technicians should keep on top of the inventory and order

well ahead. However, keep in mind that some of the

chemicals have limited shelf lives; it is not advisable to

let supplies build up too much. It is probably best to

order two or three times a year, making sure that supplies

never drop too low. If no date appears on the container, it

is advisable to write the date purchased somewhere on the

label or container. Pay attention also to storage

instructions for the supplies.

Recording the Data See Chapter 4 for information on

recording and storing the testing data.

CHAPTER THREE: Uegetation and habitat monitoring

Uegetational communities are determined by a number of

parameters, such as nutrients, hydroperiod, water depth,

salinity, and others already discussed. For each of these

physical factors, an individual community has both a range

of tolerance and an optimal range. Within that optimal

range the community will do best, if all other needs are

met. If the values for any of those parameters are outside

the range of tolerance, the community may not be able to


In some cases, the level of certain parameters may be

deduced by the vegetation itself. For instance, different

communities of Spartina occur at different salinity levels.

A gradient can be traced from those occurring in salt water

to those in fresh. If the salinity level changes the

vegetation community will also change. Similar gradients

exist for other parameters.

Cypress trees are strongly affected by hydroperiod.

Although cypress can grow almost anywhere, they only have

the competitive advantage when the hydroperiod is extremely

long. Under almost permanently wet conditions most other

tree species drop out, but cypress can flourish. Thus the

optimal level of a certain parameter may be determined not

only by the individual species' tolerance, but by the lack

of tolerance in other species.

Sometimes a combination of factors can alter the

vegetative makeup of a wetland. Cattails react aggressively

to the addition of nutrients in the water. If the increased

nutrients are accompanied by an altered hydroperiod, the

cattails may spread over a large area very quickly,

outcompeting the original vegetation community. Refuge

staff should be aware of what types of vegetation changes

signal changes in water quality and sample accordingly.


A number of other factors should be considered when

deciding where to set up vegetation monitoring transects.

It should be kept in mind that vegetation surveys need not

be done as frequently as water sampling.

Freouencu In general conducting vegetation survey

transects once a year should yield sufficient data for

monitoring purposes. Although it may be desirable in some

cases to space transect sampling out even further there is a

danger of losing continuity, either through simple lack of

practice or through loss or transfer of personnel.

Continuity in the sampling efforts is an important

consideration. Unless the system is exceptionally stable

and homogenous yearly sampling probably represents the best

compromise between information and effort.

Time of year is also an important factor in sampling.

It is important that sampling take place during the growing

season, perhaps in mid-summer to mid-fall. Fortunately,

this is often a slack time on refuges.

Number The number of transects should be kept low

enough so that the yearly sampling only takes two or three

weeks. However, the sampling should also be comprehensive

enough to detect significant vegetation shifts. The final

number of transects will depend on local conditions in each


Length Transect length will also depend on local

conditions. A quarter-mile transect, containing 15-20

sample points, might be a typical length. Some transects

might be longer in order to establish baseline relationships

or if they cut across a long grade.

Location If transects already exist on the refuge or

if they have existed in the past it would be wise to

continue or reinstate them. Past data offer an excellent

opportunity for detecting change in vegetation communities.

If the transects are still in use the data from them will be

contiguous with this monitoring program, effectively

enlarging the data base.

Other transects should be established across

significant grades. For instance, if there is a suspected

nutrient or pollution source feeding into the refuge, it

would be advisable to run a transect across the grade of the

affected area--i.e., the transect would run back up the flow

and through the affected vegetation. Changes in the

vegetation along the course of the flow might indicate that

it is affecting the water quality.

Transects can also be run across the boundaries of

different vegetation communities, allowing the detection of

change in the relationships between two communities.

High-use waterfowl areas, such as feeding, roosting or

sleeping pools, should be monitored for vegetation changes.

Transects in these areas may be shorter or longer depending

on whether the vegetation is fairly homogenous.

Maintenance Transacts should be well marked with

permanent markers to insure consistency. Steel posts are

best; information codes can be stamped onto the posts. PUC

pipes can also be used, although they are not as

satisfactory. Although the transect itself needs to be

well-marked, it is not necessary to mark each sample site

along the transect. Sample sites can be determined by a

number of methods that measure distance along the transect.

Alterations In some cases transects may have to be

lengthened if conditions change drastically. However,

transects should be shortened only if time becomes a major

problem. In such a case, it may be better to consider

dropping a transect entirely, if it is in an area where

little of interest is happening, rather than shortening

several others. Any time transects are shortened or

dropped, however, the markers should be left in place for

future reference. Should conditions change the original

lines could then be reestablished and the ensuing data would

be directly comparable to the earlier records. Again,

consistency is the key to a monitoring program.


The purpose of vegetation sampling is to give some

measure of dominance or importance. Sampling also indicates

the appearance or disappearance of species. The important

thing to concentrate on is repeatabilitu. Establish a

well-described routine and stick to it. It is important to

have the sampling routine described in detail so that

consistency can be maintained in the event of personnel


As mentioned in Chapter 1 there are several

parameters that can be used in assessing vegetative cover.

They are:

1) species composition: basically a list of the species

occurring at a sample point. This is the easiest type of

vegetation sample to conduct--it is Just a list of species

occurring along a transect. Typically species are

sight-checked within a series of plots; 5m x5m is a good

size, although smaller plots may be appropriate. Often the

sample plot is designated as the area next to an airboat and

equalling it in size. In some cases, it may prove more

manageable to use plots as small as im x 1m, particularly if

the vegetation is fairly homogenous. At other times, when

the vegetation is diverse, it is better to use larger plots,

or combine several smaller ones.

2) Species freouencu: one of the most useful

measurements of vegetation, since it tells what proportions

of the vegetation are in each species. Species frequency

can be determined with a five-point sample, using a Sincock

Sampler, a device with 5 prongs. The Sampler is tossed out

of the boat and each plant touching one of the prongs is

recorded. Typically, three or four samples are taken,

perhaps one in each direction from a boat.

3) Percent cover: the other most useful parameter,

percent cover, is a visual estimation of the % of a plot

that is covered by each species. It gives a good idea of

relative abundance and dominance. Since consistency is

important the person or persons conducting the tests should

practice estimating areas within plots. If more than one

person is taking samples, they should practice together to

insure corresponding values.

4 & 5) Standing croo/biomass and primaru production:

basically more useful for research than for monitoring,

since both methods are more difficult and time consuming

than the others listed here. For the purposes of this

monitoring program, these are not efficient in terms of time

and labor.

Although species composition can tell something about

the vegetation on a refuge, it is limited in the amount of

information it can provide. Of more use to a monitoring

program are samples for species frequency and percent cover.

These samples can give information about changes in the

relative abundance of different plants and the habitat's

response to changes in water quality.

It is recommended that refuge staff use either or both

of those sampling techniques in the monitoring program.

However, it should also be remembered that the point of the

entire program is to serve as a net to detect changes in

water quality. Refuge staff should be aware of the native

species on the refuge and also any invading species that

might be present due to alterations in nutrient levels,

hydroperiod, salinity or other factors. In other words,

staff should not rely solely on transects for information on

vegetational changes; they should remain alert for signs of

alteration in the refuge's vegetation community. Any

unusual or rare plants, or the sudden occurrence of a

species in a new area should be noted either on the data

sheets or in a field notebook, so that the information is

available. Such instances may signal an underlying change

in water conditions.

Sources for Maps, Aerial Photos and Satellite Images

Many refuges have vegetation maps that have been

prepared at some time in the past. These maps are

invaluable for comparison to present vegetation patterns.

If they exist, they may be found in refuge files, records or

publications from university research projects or the files

of state or federal agencies. They may be difficult to

locate, but they are worth it.

Aerial photographs provide a similar advantage. They

give an overall look at the refuge's vegetation, and may

reflect an earlier time. Currently, the National High

Altitude Photo Program CNHAP) does aerial surveys on a

continuous basis. The pictures are available through the

EROS Data Center in Sioux Falls. Aerial photos are also

often available in files of local, state or Federal

agencies. If no photos are available it is possible to have

them done if the money is available or the need is

particularly acute. Training in photo interpretation of

wetlands is available through the EROS data center and is

highly recommended for this program.

A large step up from aerial photos are satellite

images. Unlike aerial photos, they can cover a large area,

including an entire refuge and surrounding watershed in one

image, or close in on a smaller area. Satellite images can

also be manipulated by techniques like false-color imagery

to give considerably more information than photographs.

There are two satellite imagery programs: the American

LANDSAT and the French SPOT programs. The prices for data

from the two are about the same, but there are differences

in the material: the SPOT images have slightly higher

spatial resolution, while LANDSAT gives higher spectral


Some sources for satellite imagery and habit maps

include the National Wetlands Inventory, the National

Coastal Ecosystem Team, university research projects,

government agencies, and planning boards. A further list of

sources is found in the appendix of "Methods to Estimate

Habitat Uariables" and in "Inventory and Monitoring of


Wildlife Habitats" (see references).The processing of

satellite imagery must be done with specialized equipment

and is best handled by a contract, for instance with a



APPENDIX: Refuge Plans, Workshop List, HACK Kit tests

CHAPTER FOUR: Data Handling

The results of the water quality analysis and vegetative

field studies will remain as baseline information for the

refuge. The dataset has a value for the present in helping to

understand some of the relationships in the system and the

influence of outside forces on the water quality inside a

refuge. In the long term, the dataset provides both a base-

line and a time series of water quality information that is

invaluable. This is particularly true if inflows or

conditions change.

The handling of the data and the respective data sheets,

floppy disks, and charts or graphs should be as legal docu-

ments or money, since their value in the future may be


Field measurements and lab measurements

In some cases it may be easier to have two separate data

sheets. A field sheet would contain data gathered in the

field such as depth, temperature, dissolved oxygen, secchi

disk depth or conductivity. These measurements can all be

entered as they are taken in the field. A data sheet that

contains columns for the analysis done in the lab can be keyed

to the field data sheet by site or sample number. The ad-

vantage of using two sheets is that the field sheet can con-

tain space large enough to enter the field data easily instead

of smaller columns that can be used in the lab. A dis-

advantage is that the sheets must be correctly keyed together

in order to prevent errors. If the same sample stations are


always used, then the station numbers can be printed on the

data sheets and xeroxed.

Data Sheets

The following example could be used as a model for gen-

erating data sheets. A generalized data sheet may not have

enough pertinent information. Some thought should go into

developing the format depending on the quantity of information

to be recorded. The sheets can be made up and xeroxed making

it simple to fill in the blanks. Space for comments should

also be included.

Date: T

Weather conditions:

Sample No. pH Co
Site 1
Site 2
Site 3
Site 4
Site 5
Site 6
Site 7
Site 8
Site 9
Site 10
Site 11
Site 12
Site 13
Site 14
Site 15
Site 16




:_ Analyst:

nduc- Dissolved Alkalinity N03 P04 SO4 Temp
vity Oxygen


Computer databases

As microcomputers become available on refuges, strong

consideration should be given to entering the data into some

type of computerized database. This enables the user to do

much more with the data in the long run.

Data entry is the most important and most boring of the

tasks associated with utilizing the data on a computer. It

cannot be overstated that adequate entering, checking and re-

checking of the data must be done. In many cases, after the

data have been entered, a second person can read out the data

and check it against the original data sheets, finding most

typographical errors. Once the dataset has been entered, the

data sheets should be archived for future reference. They are

the real data and may need to be checked at some future time

if there is some doubt about any of the analysis.

The big question is "What program should I use to store

the data with?" Any database manager program or spreadsheet

program should be sufficient. There are some advatanges to

each of them, but generally data can be transferred from one

to the other if necessary. Spreadsheet programs such as LOTUS

123, MULTIPLAN or EXCEL are easy to use and enter data. They

provide the capability to graph the data and provide some

mathematical and statistical analysis techniques. Database

manager programs such as DBASE or Rbase can sort and organize

the data a little more easily than the spreadsheet programs

and can generally handle larger databases. They do not offer

as many capabilities for graphing or analysing the data.

Analysis of the Data

Some caution should be used when analysing data gathered

in a survey or screening program such as this. Since repli-

cates are not generally taken, the statistical analysis of the

data must be limited. Graphical interpretation of the data to

look for time series trends or cycles can be most informative.

If data on inflows and outflows are taken then the correlation

between flows and values of parameters may be of interest.

It should be noted that the information is being gathered to

provide a baseline to see if changes are occurring.

Generally, the data will be provided to the regional office or

persons with more knowledge than individual refuge staff to

help with the interpretation of any changes that may be


REFUGE: Alligator River NWR

GENERAL COMMENTS: The initial water quality monitoring plan

developed at the Loxahatchee workshop covers three main


1. Farm Fields The farm fields area has about 4500 acres

of cleared cropland surrounded by a dike system. the area

has a complex internal drainage canal system and is drained

through two pump stations. One station has three 50,000 gpm

pumps while the other has 2 such pumps. The water is

discharged outside the dike and allowed to sheetflow through

forested wetlands to Milltail Creek.

Management for waterfowl is just beginning on these

areas. About 800 acres of moist soil units will be in

operation in fall of 1988. Water is being brought in from

outside the diked farmlands to "water" the moist soil units.

One intake will use water from Milltail Creek, an acid

blackwater stream, and another intake will use water from

"South Lake," actually a bay off the Alligator River and

Albemarle Sound. This area could have higher salinity

levels in the water during dry times of the year.

2. Grassu Patch Unit This will be the first area where

the ditches and canals will be plugged to restore the

natural hydrology of the wetlands on the refuge. The

restoration of these areas, among other beneficial effects,

will improve the value of the area as brood habitat for wood

ducks, since shallow water will remain on the area for at

least a month longer then at present.

3. Long Shoal River/Stumou Point Area This area receives

a great deal of drainage from the Air Force Bombing Range.


These areas of Pamlico Sound are brackish waters and large

quick inflows of fresh water have been shown to disrupt food

chains in the shallow, brackish-water "nursery" areas. We

are hoping that the Air Force may implement some restoration

of natural hydrological regimes on their forested wetlands.

Information on the impact of their drainage on salinity

balance in the Long Shoal River and Stumpy Point Bay may

help persuade them to block off or control their drainage

canals. This would benefit the receiving waters and improve

water retention in wetland wildlife habitat on the bombing



sampling stations (indicated on the attached map as Fl, F2,

F3, Fq) will be used in the Farm Fields area. Fl and F2 are

located at the Laurel Bay Pump Station (which contains 3

pumps) and Creef Pump Station (which contains 2 pumps).

Samples will be taken on a monthly basis at the pump intakes

and at three points along a transect past the "spreader

ditches" where the ditches flow through surrounding wooded


The tentative parameters to be sampled are:

conductivity, NHq, N03, total phosphorous, SO', pH,

alkalinity, and salinity. We will soon have data collected

at these points by N.C. State University Agricultural Dept.

since the farm's initial operation in 1983. The list of

parameters to be collected may be altered once we have

looked at the existing data.

F3 and Fq are at the two water intake points. These

will be tested weekly and after significant events (e.g.,

wind tide changes, storms) for the following parameters: PH,

Salinity, Alkalinity.

Vegetation in the moist soil units will be monitored by

a combination of permanent transects using the five point

sampler and visually-estimated percent cover along transects

in selected fields.

Vegetation in the discharge areas will be monitored

along permanent transects using the line intersect method.

Grassy Patch unit will be monitored to see what changes

in pH, dissolved oxygen and temperature may occur in the

area with increased surface water for longer periods. These

may affect invertebrate production, which is crucial for

laying hens and young broods.

Four sampling stations will be used (61, 62, G3, GB on

the map). 61 and 62 are on the area to be restored. 61

will be in a large canal to be plugged. 62 will be on a

smaller feeder ditch. 63 and GB are in a control area which

will not be restored intil a later date. 63 is in a large

canal and G6 is on a feeder ditch. Samples will be taken

twice a month from March through August and monthly from

September through February. The following parameters will

be measured: pH, alkalinity, dissolved oxygen.

Permanent transects will be set up and monitored

yearly. The line intercept method will be used to measure

the canopy, shrub and herbaceous layers.

In the Long Shoal River/ Stumpy Point area salinities

would be measured at sites SP-1 and LS-1 monthly and

whenever practical after significant rainfalls. A permanent

transect monitoring the marshes and/or submerged aquatics in

this area will be established and monitored yearly using the

line intercept method.



BENERAL COMMENTS: Upon completion of the drawdown project,

various water collecting stations will be set up on Big

Lake. Data collected will be the same as those on Wapanocca

NWR. No plans are submitted for vegetation analysis.

Various stations will be set up to monitor sediment

deposited by flood waters.


REFUSE: Cache River NWR

GENERAL COMMENTS: A vegetation transact will be conducted

Sb the area forester upon completion of land acquisition.

No water quality sample stations will be set up at Cache

River NWR.

REFUSE: Felsenthal NWR

GENERAL COMMENTS: Felsenthal NWR has recently experienced

raised water levels as a result of the recently completed

Felsenthal Lock and Dam. When the Ouachita-Black Rivers

navigation project was completed and the dam closed in

November 1985 the permanent water level in the refuge was

raised 3.4 feet, from 61.6 feet msl to 65.0 feet msl,

flooding an additional 10,000 acres. This has meant that

there is 10,000 acres of water less than 3.5 feet deep. The

5000 acres of old lakes, sloughs, and creeks thus increased

their depth by the same amount. Up to now the shallow

flooded area beneath the canopy has been shaded. But going

into the third year of being permanently flooded the trees

are dying, thus allowing sunlight to penetrate to the water


Maps are enclosed that locate water quality sampling

points and transect lines of the lakes.

WATER QUALITY TESTING: Seven water quality sampling points

are to be established on the refuge. They are as follows:

1) Saline River, 0.5 miles above the confluence of Eagle


2) Eagle Creek, 0.5 miles above its confluence with the

Saline River;

3) Ouachita River, 0.5 miles above the Saline River;

L) Ouachita River at U.S. Highway 82 bridge;

5) Junction of Wildcat and Redeye Lakes;

6) Ouachita River, 0.5 miles above the Felsenthal Lock

and Dam;

7) Grand Marais Lake near the junction of Spring Bayou

and Yoncopin.

These sampling points will be representative of the

water quality of the streams and main flooded areas of the

refuge. Also, especially during low water periods, samples

will periodically be taken in other lakes and other

backwater areas of the refuge to determine if a water

quality problem exists.

Samples will be taken once a month, the same day of the

month and the same time of day. Each location will be

permanently marked. Samples will be taken just below the

surface of the water. The temperature and depth of the

water will be measured and the turbidity determined. Each

sample will then be analyzed for pH, dissolved solids

(conductivity), nutrients Cnitrogen and phosphorus),

sulfates, dissolved oxygen and chloride.

A labeling scheme will be worked out. Samples will be

placed in a cooler and analyzed as soon as possible. Some

of the remote lakes on the refuge, such as Hoop Lake and

Pereogeethe, may be sampled periodically or as a need

arises. The logistics of sampling them on a regular basis

would be overwhelming.


be established in the shallow, flooded areas to determine

what aquatic growth will appear. The transects will cover

the new water depth from 0 to 3.4 feet. Also transects will

be established in areas already open where aquatics are now

established. A five-point sampler will be used and emergent

submergent aquatic plants will be identified and per cent

cover obtained. Also woody species such as Buttonbush

CCephalanthus occidentalis ) will be recorded.

On the older lakes a different sampling system will be

used. The lakes are basically open except for scattered

cypress and buttonbush along the edges. The water is

deeper, averaging six to eight feet. Species composition

and per cent cover of submergent and emergent aquatics will

be determined. Again, because of the logistics, only those

lakes on the south end of the refuge that contain some

aquatic growth will be sampled at this time.

Transacts will be established running either east-west

or north-south. The number of transects will vary according

to size and configuration of the lake Csee enclosed maps).

The distance of each transect line will be measured. Every

30 feet the water depth will be measured and all aquatic

vegetation in a meter square will be determined. Some of

the transects will correspond with water quality sampling



Transacts in the new water regime will be done later

and maps prepared; these will have to be done in the field

as areas of dead timber vs live timber and open areas are

located. Attempts will be made to identify and monitor

aquatic vegetation at the beginning, end and during the

growing season.

REFUGE: Lacassine NWR, LA

GENERAL COMMENTS: Heavy concentration of waterfowl in
winter months.

WATER QUALITY TESTING: During fall and winter months,

sampling should be carried out every two weeks. When the

majority of waterfowl have vacated these areas, sampling

should be only once a month.

Two samples need to be taken in two locations of the

Pool C16,0O0 acre impoundment) that represents a majority of

the waterfowl use. One location is just west of Jim Ridge

and the other is north and eastr of the duck trap

observation tower. We also need to establish two control

areas within the Pool with little or no waterfowl use. Two

samples will be taken from each control area.

Two other areas where sampling needs to be carried out

are the Lacassine Bayou along the north refuge boundary and

in the bayou near the Streeters Canal system. Each location

will require two samples, due to potential inflows from

agricultural runoff and oil/gas production.

All samples will be tested for conductivity, nitrogen,

ammonia, pH, dissolved oxygen, alkalinity, sulfate, and



the reestablishment of old vegetative transects, originally

set up by Jacob Ualentine in the hunting area south of the

Intracoastal Waterway, and the establishment of two more

transacts inside the Pool. Uegetative monitoring should be


conducted twice during the First year, one in mid-spring and

one late summer or earlU fall.

REFUGE: Matamuskeet NWR

GENERAL COMMENTS: Sampling already taking place at
Matamuskeet at selected points.


1. Continue biweekly salinity monitoring at four major

water control structures (sound side and lake side)

and at all Route 94 culverts (only one of five cur-

rently being sampled.

E. Biweekly test for the following constituents at the

locations mentioned above: specific conductance,

turbidity, temperature, pH, reactive phosphorous,

nitrates, ammonia, sulfates, and alkalinity. Take

all samples on the same day.

3. Conduct quarterly tests for the same constituents at:

an off-refuge site northwest of the lake (data base

in case of peat mining), four major agricultural

ditches draining into the lake (one site per lake

quadrant), and at three points on each side of the

lake (choose sites in high and low waterfowl use

areas; use Loran and stake each site).

4. Biannuallu sample sites according to wet and dry sea-

sons in #3 For aluminum, mercury, lead and selenium.

Collect data for three years. Refuge staff can do

aluminum test; send samples to state or universitW

lab for other metal analyses (samples can be acid-

ified with nitric acid and shipped in polUethylene



1. Continue biannual vegetation transects in marsh im-

poundments and Lake Matamuskeet. Use aerial photos

to document vegetation gradients in MI-11.

2. Add two transact lines on each side of lake running

north/south and sample biannually to document change

vegetated and non-vegetated zones. Use quadrat

method to measure composition and per cent cover.

3. Type grid entire lake. Using Loran and quadrat method,

take several point samples every half minute; measure

composition and per cent cover. Sample every 3 hours.

REFUGE: Merritt Island NWR

GENERAL COMMENTS: Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

encompasses approximately 140,000 acres of upland, marsh,

and water habitat. Aquatic habitats account for

approximately 70,200 acres of the total acreage. There are

approximately 50,900 acres of marine and estuarine habitats

and 19,200 acres of mosquito control impoundments. A total

of 76 mosquito control impoundments are found along the

Indian River, Mosquito Lagoon and Banana River.

WATER QUALITY TESTING: Fifty-three of the 76 impoundments

on the refuge have water quality stations. The remaining 23

stations are in estuarine or watershed areas. The refuge

sampling program covers all the large marine communities,

all significant impoundments, and several watersheds.

Dissolved oxygen, salinity, temperature, and water levels

are recorded at each of the 76 stations. In addition,

dissolved oxygen, pH, and secchi disk readings are collected

in freshwater borrow pits under direction of the refuge

Fishery Management Plan.

Of the 76 impoundments (totalling 19,200 acres) on the

refuge, 52 (totalling 18,328 acres) have water control

structures where water levels and salinities can be

partially managed. Twenty-eight impoundments (totalling

13,310 acres) have water control structures with riser board

capabilities where water levels can be set at specific

levels. Twenty-one impoundments (totalling 2,660 acres)

have no connection with the estuarine community.

levels within the impoundments will increase to,

or remain at, moderate levels. Elevated portions

of impoundment bottoms will dry and consolidate.

3. Water levels within the impoundments will be

opened at the end of the wintering waterfowl

season and allowed to fluctuate with the water

levels of the marine communities until the

beginning of the mosquito breeding season. This

strategy will achieve the objective of providing

significant aquatic resources for wintering

waterfowl utilization. Salinity amounts will be

maintained at brackish levels to prevent cattail

invasion. There will be some marine organism and

detrital movement. Some drying and consolidation

through oxidation of bottom material will take


i. Water levels within the impoundments will

remain elevated above those of the marine

communities throughout the mosquito non-breeding

season. Salinities within the impoundments will

depend on the water source used to flood the

impoundment. This strategy will achieve the

objective of providing significant aquatic

resources for wintering waterfowl. Freshwater

fish will benefit where salinities are less than

four ppt and resident salt marsh fish species will

be most productive in greater salinities. Where

There are four water level strategies in operation

within the impoundments. All four strategies are in the

context of maintaining optimum salt marsh mosquito

production control. However, any impoundment strategy is

subject to change to control unexpected nuisance mosquito

populations. The four water level strategies are:

1. Water levels within the impoundments will be

allowed to fluctuate with the water levels of the

marine communities throughout the year (mosquito

breeding constraints permitting). This strategy

will achieve the objective of maximizing the

restoration of the salt marsh community, marine

organism and detrital movement. Wintering

waterfowl utilization will adjust to

pre-impoundment water levels. Salinity levels

within the impoundments throughout the year will

be maintained at 0 to 10 ppt less than the marine

community due to rainfall input.

2. Water levels within the impoundments will be

allowed to Fluctuate with the water levels of the

marine communities from the end of the mosquito

breeding season to the beginning of the nest

season. This strategy will achieve the objective

of maximizing marine organism and detrital

movement in and out of the impoundments throughout

the season of greatest marine organism migration

into the historic salt marsh community. Salinity

salinity levels can be kept at low brackish

levels, Chara sp. and Nalas maritime will be

maintained throughout the year in preparation For

good summer production. Where salinity levels

range from brackish to saline levels, Chara sp.

and Ruppia maritime will be most productive.

HABITAT MONITORING: Habitat monitoring within

aquatic habitats at MINWR has been extensive over

the past 10 years. Habitat monitoring can be

roughly divided into three categories. Initial

monitoring concentrated on Dusky Seaside Sparrow

recovery efforts in impoundments T-10-H, T-10-J,

T-10-K and T-10-L. In 1981, a major study, "Salt

Marsh Habitat Monitoring on the Merritt Island

National Wildlife Refuge" was initiated in

impoundments T-10-H, T-10-J, T-10-K and T-24-C.

In 1986 another major management study, "Aquatic

Habitat Monitoring on the Merritt Island National

Wildlife Refuge" was initiated. This study

involves an annual survey of vegetation transects

in 23 impoundments.


1. Change sampling frequency from bimonthly to monthly

2. In addition to present sampling for salinity,

dissolved oxygen, water temperature, and water

depth, initiate sampling for the following water

quality parameters at all 76 stations:



Nitrogen Nitrate

Nitrogen Nitrite



3. Continue present habitat monitoring programs.


Date: February 24, 1989

To: Unit Leader, Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife
Research Unit, Gainesville, FL

From: Refuge Manager, Merritt Island National Wildlife
Refuge, Titusville, FL

Guidelines for National Wildlife Refuges in Region IV

We have reviewed the draft Guidelines as requested and offer the
following comments.

Page 7. References

It would be helpful if a full citation for these references were
given. Also, information on where these references might be
obtained would be helpful.

Page 29. Running the Tests

There are 76 permanently-established water quality stations at
Merritt Island NWR. Data collection efforts for the four
parameters that we presently perform (dissolved oxygen, salinity,
temperature, and water depth) takes approximately 2.5 person-days
per sample effort. Given the intensity of sampling effort, it
would not be possible to perform the additional recommended tests
within 24 hours of sample collection. The only possible scenario
where we could meet the time recommendation would consist of
sampling on one day and running the tests the next day for the
previous days sampling. Under that scenario, it could
conceivably take us six days to complete the recommended
sampling effort. Taking into consideration the additional
recommendation of sampling on a monthly basis as opposed to our
present sampling scheme of bimonthly sampling, sampling effort
could be quadrupled over present sampling effort. An effort of
this type would initially strain refuge resources and it would be
difficult, if not impossible, to maintain this program without
seriously impacting other refuge programs.

In addition to sampling considerations, we presently have no wet
facilities available where we can effectively conduct the HACH
tests as recommended. This would limit our testing efficiency
considerably and could result in additional time necessary to
complete our sampling effort as recommended.

General Comments

There is no doubt that the recommendations contained in these
draft guidelines represent a positive attempt to document water
quality and vegetation baseline conditions and perturbations.
However, we feel that the recommended increase in the number of
water quality parameters tested and the increase in sampling
frequency could create considerable refuge time and manpower
constraints. While some of the operational constraints we have
identified do not fall under the review process for this draft
document, there are alternatives that could ameliorate or
alleviate our concerns. Those alternatives we have identified to
date follow below and we invite your comments.

Alternative 1 No Action.

This alternative represents sampling conditions as they presently
exist. We would maintain the present level and frequency of
water quality and vegetation sampling. Obviously, this
alternative would not meet the conditions set forth in the draft

Alternative 2 Increase the number water quality parameters
sampled and sampling frequency as recommended in

This alternative could be accomplished under two scenarios. The
first scenario would involve the use of existing refuge personnel
at the present funding levels. Because of the significant
increase in sampling as recommended and the time necessary to
accomplish that sampling, this scenario would place considerable
constraints on existing refuge resources.

The second scenario would involve an increase in refuge funding
levels and personnel to accomplish Guideline recommendations.
This scenario would alleviate refuge time and manpower
constraints, not tax present programs, and provide for the
collection of water quality and vegetation data in support of
waterfowl management programs.

Alternative 3 Increase the number of water quality parameters
sampled and sampling frequency while
consolidating and, thereby, reducing the number
of sampling stations.

This alternative could alleviate refuge time and manpower
constraints associated with the implementation of Guideline
recommendations while maintaining the integrity of the water
quality sampling program at the refuge. Under this alternative,
an analysis of past water quality data would be conducted and in
areas where data variance was insignificant, water quality

stations would be consolidated. This could result in a reduction
of the number of stations where monthly water quality sampling
would be conducted. While the number of stations where data
would be collected on a monthly basis would be reduced, the
present framework of water quality stations would remain intact
and water quality data would be collected at all stations two
times a year; in July when water levels and waterfowl populations
are lowest, and in January when water conditions are generally
optimum and waterfowl populations are highest.

We appreciate the opportunity to comment on these draft
Guidelines and look forward to working with you on this project
in the future.

te hen R. Vehrs
Refuge Manager


GENERAL COMMENTS: The purpose of this plan is to establish
procedures for monitoring water quality and habitat
conditions. Data collected will identify potential problems
which affect water and habitat quality and provide a means
- of viewing changes in the Sabine marsh ecosystem in a
consistent and reliable manner. Hopefully these data will
be used as a feedback mechanism for land use activities and
provide direction for new research if justified.
One of the primary objectives of the Sabine NWR is to
provide suitable habitat for wintering waterfowl. In
support of the 1986 North American Waterfowl Management
Plan, this monitoring plan will provide baseline data useful
in detecting changes in the Sabine marsh system which could
impact the quality of wintering waterfowl habitat.
Many potential and realized problems confront the
maintenance of Sabine's marsh ecosystem. Louisiana coastal
marshes are being converted to open water at an average
annual loss rate of 40 square miles. The U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers predicts that by the year 2010 over two thirds of
the Sabine NWR will be lost. The causes for these severe
losses are complex and confounded by numerous manmade and
natural influences. Despite the complexity of mechanisms
causing these losses, coastal marshes require a basis of
water, plants and a stable soil matrix to prevent a
disparity between accretion and relative water level rise.
This plan is intended to monitor parameters that reflect the
condition of these three variables and thereby provide
usable information for taking actions in preserving Sabine's
wintering waterfowl habitats.


All data collected will be recorded on standard forms
for file and transfer to the office computer.

A. Grid Survey
A grid survey will be made of all refuge management units by
airboat. Points located approximately 1 lat/long minute
apart will be located using a Loran C navigational unit.
Loran units will have ASF corrected to the West Cove weir
national geodetic survey marker coordinates (designation
REFUGE 2 19B1) and set to the GRI 7980 chain using the X-Y
(26000-6000) stations. See the user's manual for
instructions on Loran setup and operation.

To establish grids, an approximate NE corner "anchor" point
will be selected within each of the 7 western management
areas which optimize grid coverage of marsh habitat. For
the East Cove management unit, the existing Grand Bayou
hydrolab station will serve as the anchor point. Minute
interval grid points will be calculated for each unit using
these points as base references. Each point will be

physically located when Loran readings are within 0.03
minutes from the calculated grid point. The actual lat/long
coordinates will be recorded and the location flagged for
future identification.

Sampling will be conducted twice annually. The first sample
Swill be taken beginning in the first week of March, a period
of low water and low salinity levels. The second will start
-. the third week of September, corresponding to high water and
high salinity levels. Data should be collected for each
management unit in an intensive effort of short duration to
reduce within-group variations. Sampling within a unit will
be completed before continuing to another. All sampling for
a biannual period should be concluded within 15 working

Salinity and specific conductance readings will be taken at
each site and recorded on standard forms. Water samples
will be collected at each point, iced down and transported
to the office for analysis. Each sample will be
refrigerated until analyzed. All analysis will be performed
within 24 hrs. from collection. Alkalinity, NHS, P, N03,
SO' and PH will be measured for each sample.

Water samples will also be collected from existing salinity
stations during normal monthly salinity data collection.
Specific conductance will be measured and recorded along
with salinity at each station. All samples will be iced
down and transported to the office for analysis. Each
sample will be refrigerated until analyzed. All analysis
will be performed within E2 hrs. from collection.
Alkalinity, NH4, P, N03, SO', and pH will be measured for
each sample.

cent cover within a 25m square will be ocularly estimated
following classes proposed by Daubimire C1959). Percentages
of dominant plant species, species of special concern or
those known to be important waterfowl foods, open water and
mud flats will be recorded. The flagging stake will serve
as the SW corner reference point for each square. If a
stake is missing, a new one will be placed in a method
consistent with the selection of the original site.

Line transects used by Jacob M. Valentine, Jr. for
vegetation surveys of management units 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6
will be reestablished. Each line will be surveyed annually
beginning in April, using an airboat. Stops will be made
every 0.5 lat/long minute and a 25m square ocular estimate
made of the vegetation in a manner described for Grid
Surveys. No attempt will be made to mark locations or
collect water samples.

U 69

REFUGE: Tennessee NWR

GENERAL COMMENTS: Tennessee NWR is a major wintering area

for waterfowl with over 300,000 waterfowl in 1987. The 5000

acre Duck River Bottom area of the refuge is the primary

'- waterfowl concentration area. There are 12 impoundments

that range from 61 acres to 1200 acres in size and contain

1500 acres of agricultural land and 3000 acres of moist

soil. The major water quality concerns are:

1. Agricultural herbicidal runoff

2. Livestock waste runoff

3. Water treatment plant effluent discharge

4. Waterfowl excrement contamination

5. Heavy metals contamination

E. Eutrophication and related weedy plant invasion

7. Drought conditions and related water quality degradation

8. Kentucky Lake Reservoir system--PCBs, chlordane, arsenic

A brief summary of our water quality concerns for each

topic follows.

1. Agricultural herbicide runoff The Duck River Bottom

area contains 1500 acres of agricultural lands in the

cooperative farming program. Corn, milo, and soybeans are

the only grain crops allowed. In addition, winter wheat and

buckwheat are grown as goose browse. The use of approved

herbicides is a major factor in the agricultural program and

will become more important in the future as no-till

practices are increased. There are also several

agricultural fields located adjacent to the refuge that

probably drain onto it.

2. Livestock Waste Runoff There are several livestock

farms that operate adjacent to the Duck River Bottoms. It

- is known that the ditches leading from some of the

operations drain directly into the impoundments.

3. Waste Treatment Plant Effluent Discharge The City of

Waverly draws its water supply from the Duck River and has a

pump station on the refuge. A water treatment plant is

located adjacent to the refuge and the effluent discharge is

drained into Impoundment No. 12.

4. Waterfowl Excrement Waterfowl concentrations within

the impoundments are significant. Tens of thousands of

waterfowl concentrate in the impoundments at one time. This

concentration occurs from November through February

annually. The excrement load released into the impoundments

may be a significant contaminant.

5. Heavu Metal Contamination A July 1985 contaminant

survey conducted by FWS identified significant levels of the

metal nickel in two specimens of drum fish taken from the

Duck River impoundments.

6. Eutrophication and Related Weedu Plant Invasion The

combination of agricultural runoff (fertilizers), livestock

waste, and waterfowl excrement provides excellent conditions

for eutrophication within the impoundments. Eutrophication

can lead to an invasion of weedy plants (cattails, willow,

etc.) which can outcompete the moist soil plants.

7. Drought Conditions and Related Water Qualitu Degradation

Middle Tennessee is in a fourth consecutive year of drought.

Drought conditions can influence primary productivity of the

impoundments, impact food chain effects, reduce dissolved

- oxygen levels, increase water temperatures, and result in

overall decreased water quality and degradation of the

aquatic environment.

8. Kentucku Lake Reservoir Sustem The refuge lies

entirely within the Kentucky Lake Reservoir. The KLR is a

multipurpose reservoir designed principally for flood

control, navigation, and power generation, with secondary

uses that include water supply, waste discharge, commercial

and recreational fishing, and other recreational activities.

Kentucky Lake supports a large commercial fishing and

musseling trade. Since 1986, there have been continuing

problems with mussels and fish--primarily from disoffs and

disease. Several studies are continuing to monitor water

quality and the aquatic environment. Studies have

identified the presence of PCBs, chlordane, arsenic, and

heavy metals. Commercial industries (paper mills, chemical

companies, etc.) are releasing waste effluent into the lake.

Housing development along the shoreline is progressing at a

fast pace with sewage discharge becoming a significant



Baseline data will be collected monthly to monitor

water quality. The following monitoring program will be


SSampling Locations There will be 16 water samples collected

and analyzed monthly. The samples will be collected from

the 12 impoundments, the duck trap area, Duck River,

Tennessee River, and drinking water (as a control). See Map

1 for water sample collection locations.

Water Analusis

The following tests will be conducted monthly by refuge

staff using the HACH DREL/5 kit:

1. Sulphate

2. Nitrate

3. Alkalinity

L. pH

5. Temperature

6. Phosphorus

7. Turbidity

B. Conductivity

These additional tests will be conducted semi-annually:

1. -Aluminum

2. Copper

3. Zinc

4. Nickel

S. Manganese


February 6, 1989
Refuge Manager, Tennessee NWR

Review of Draft af Water Quality and Habitat Monitoring Manual

Dr. Wiley Kitchens, Leader, FCFWRU, Gainesville, FL 32611

I have reviewed the draft of Water Quality and Habitat Monitoring
Manual. The following comments are provided.

1. The manual is very easy to understand and should be of
benefit to a refuge manager in determining the type of water
quality monitoring program that should be conducted.

2. We are using a convenient water collection procedure that
other refuges may find helpful. Zip-lock bags or other
resealable bags are not very sturdy for our water collection
and handling. We use 2-liter plastic cola containers for
field collection. You can obtain from any distributor, an
8-pack holders) for transportation and handling. The
plastic containers are durable, cheap (free), and readily
available. They probably would not be convenient for someone
who has more than 32 water samples to collect or does not
have enough space in a vehicle (boat) for the containers to

3. I will need to remove three (3) water tests from our initial
list because they cannot be conducted with the DREL/5 HACH
kit. These tests are for the elements: aluminum, nickel,
and zinc.

4. I recommend to add to our initial list the following tests:
chlorine (quarterly), and chromium (semi-annually).

5. I recommend to add quarterly water quality testing at the Big
Sandy and Busseltown Units of the Tennessee National Wildlife
Refuge. Elements to be tested for are the same as the tests
at Duck River Unit. There will be four (4) sampling stations
at Big Sandy: 1-Robbins Creek Impoundment, 2-Ross Creek
Impoundment, 3-Bennett's Creek Impoundment, 4-Kentucky Lake
area of Bennett's Creek embayment. There will be three
sampling stations at Busseltown: 1-Impoundment No. 2,
2-Impoundment No. 3, 3-Tennessee River. See attached map
for water sampling sites at these units.

6. I recently sent to you a recommendation that our monthly
testing be changed to quarterly.

(REV. 1-80)
GA PPMR (41 CFR) 101-1 .6
U.S. GPO: 1987 181-247


Thank ou for the opportunity to comment on this draft report.

Carrell Ryan





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REFUGE: Wapanocca NWR, Arkansas


WATER DUALITY TESTING: Plans call for 12 water-collecting

Stations to be set up at various locations on Wapanocca NWR

(see map). Each sample will be tested for pH, 0D content,

alkalinity, phosphorus content, turbidity, ammonia nitrogen,

and specific conductivity.


and/or impoundment will be monitored annually through

transects to determine vegetation (per cent and types).

Wapanocca Lake and Little Lake will be monitored to

determine per cent and type of submerged aquatics. A grid

type of transcript will be used.


Acidity, Methyl Orange
Aciditu, Phenolphthalein
Carbon Dioxide
Chloride mercuricc nitrate method)
Chlorine, total
Chromium, hexavalent
Color, apparent and true
Copper (Bicinchoninate method)
Hardness, total
Iron, total (using FerroUer Iron Reagent)
Manganese, High Range
Nitrogen, ammonia CNessler method)
Nitrogen, Nitrate (high range)
Nitrogen, Nitrate (low range)
Oxygen, Dissolved CAzide-Winkler method)
pH, wide range
Phosphorus, reactive, low range
Phosphorus, Acid HydrolUzable
Phosphorus, Organic and Acid
Residue, Nonfilterable
Silica, Medium Range
Sodium Chromate
Sulfide, Hydrogen
Turbidity CAbsorptometric Method)

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