Ohio State University

Project Profile and References


Under the guidance of Steven I. Gordon, graduate students and planners in The Ohio State University's City and Regional Planning Program (OSU CRP) have created a screening tool based on geographical information systems (GIS) and data provided by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) that can provide planners, environmental organizations, government agencies, and concerned citizens an interactive opportunity to examine potential changes and their effects within particular watersheds throughout Ohio. It can also provide information on the potential impacts of certain changes on the biological diversity in the inter-related rivers and streams.

A full length report detailing the research and methods supporting this interactive mapping and web-based watershed information sharing approach can be viewed by clicking here - See full report. This report is available in PDF format. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader already installed, then click Here.

As a result of work conducted by OEPA biologists, a comprehensive database has been established for watersheds in the Eastern Cornbelt Plains ecoregion (ECBP) in Ohio where biological sampling was conducted between 1989 and 1992 at 276 locations in 78 watersheds. This sampling was done with The Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) for fish species which accounts for species diversity, proportions of tolerant and intolerant species found at a given site, number of rare species, and the overall measure of species health. This method was modified by OEPA and represents an approximation of the cumulative impact of the multiple types of stressors incurred by fish populations in Ohio waterways.

A second type of sampling method that was employed in various locations throughout the state was The Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index (QHEI) which is comprised of metrics (variables that are measured as indicators of a habitat's quality) that the OEPA assembled to evaluate the physical conditions of sampled sites. An overall lower level of biological diversity and poorer quality physical conditions is typically expected at sites that have undergone major alterations.


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Project Partners

The Ohio State University
The United States Environmental Protection Agency
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency


References and further information

Karr, J. R. 1981. Assessment of biotic integrity using fish communities. Fisheries 6(6): 21-27.

Laws, E. A. 1993. Aquatic pollution, 2nd edition. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. 1987a. Biological criteria for the protection of aquatic life: Volume I. The role of biological data in water quality assessment. Division of Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment, Surface Water Section, Columbus, Ohio.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. 1987b. Biological criteria for the protection of aquatic life: Volume II. Users manual for biological field assessment of Ohio surface waters. Division of Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment, Surface Water Section, Columbus, Ohio.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. 1989. Biological criteria for the protection of aquatic life: Volume III. Standardized biological field sampling and laboratory methods for assessing fish and macroinvertebrate communities. Division of Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment, Surface Water Section, Columbus, Ohio.

Smith, D.G., C.D. Stevenson, J.B. Macaskill, and W.H.L. Edgerley (eds.). 1982. Physical and chemical methods for water quality analysis. Water and Soil Miscellaneous Publication No. 38. Wellington.

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