California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Aquatic Biological Assement

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The Clean Water Act (CWA) is the primary Federal statute regulating the protection of the nation's waters. Federal facilities may have regulatory responsibilities under the Clean Water Act, including obtaining discharge permits, developing risk management plans, and maintaining records. Part of OSPR's mission is to ensure that Federal facilities comply with these requirements.

History of CDFG’s Code 5650:
The Clean Water Act (CWA) is the primary Federal statute regulating the protection of the nation's waters. Federal facilities may have regulatory responsibilities under the Clean Water Act, including obtaining discharge permits, developing risk management plans, and maintaining records. Part of OSPR's mission is to ensure that Federal facilities comply with these requirements.


Sec. 1251. - Congressional declaration of goals and policy. (g)
Authority of States over water
It is the policy of Congress that the authority of each State to allocate quantities of water within its jurisdiction shall not be superseded, abrogated or otherwise impaired by this chapter. It is the further policy of Congress that nothing in this chapter shall be construed to supersede or abrogate rights to quantities of water that have been established by any State. Federal agencies shall co-operate with State and local agencies to develop comprehensive solutions to prevent, reduce and eliminate pollution in concert with programs for managing water resources.


05/25/00 Approved Revisions to Regulations Governing the State's Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Control Boards  
California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) Enforcement & Pollution Rsponse Program: DFG Code 5650
CDFG investigates situations where reports of activities or pollution events in the surrounding watershed may have adversely impacted stream integrity and/or stability. The California Stream Bioassessment Procedure (CSBP) is used to measure deleterious effects to the biological community resulting from the pollution event.
Contact Person:   Angie Montalvo: CDFG-OSPR, Aquatic Bioassessment Laboratory (ABL), 2005 Nimbus Road, Gold River, CA 95670; 916.358.4398.
Sampling Method:  California Stream Bioassessment Procedure (CSBP)


Purpose of Bioassessment:
Investigation of pollution spills can be enhanced by measuring the biological and physical habitat condition of the receiving waters. Bioassessment can contribute to an enforcement case by documenting injury resulting from a spill of a known pollutant or can stand alone as evidence of a pollution event when chemical analysis is unavailable. Bioassessments are particularly helpful when a pollution event is reported some time after it occurs (thus preventing the collection of timely chemical samples) and when dealing with chemical spills where the substance rapidly dissipates, become diluted or flows as a pulse downstream. Bioassessments may be the only enforcement tool available for physical/habitat destruction, and for spills of substances with low or no toxicity values (sediment, nutrients and elemental metals), but which cause eutrophication or smother benthic communities in the water body.

Description:
Under the CDFG 5650 Code Enforcement Case Program, each case is treated as an individual project that addresses a specific problem of concern. Each project or case is categorized into a classification system based on pollution type: sediment, petroleum, chemical, and other. Benthic macroinvertebrate (BMI) sampling (as well as standard physical habitat, flow, gradient, and ambient chemistry) is conducted in a similar manner for each case (one or more control sites, one site at or near the spill/impacted area, and one or more sites downstream from the spill/impacted area). Often, additional follow-up/ recovery sampling will occur 3 to 5 years following a pollution event. The results of the bioassessments are used in a court of law to prosecute responsible parties for damages and to recovery departmental costs associated to the case.