California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Aquatic Biological Assement

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California Aquatic Bioassessment Workshop

Mission Statement:

Preservation and restoration of the biological integrity of our nation's waters are goals expressed in the Clean Water Act and shared by California's natural resource agencies. The mission of the California Aquatic Bioassessment Workgroup is to promote the use of biological information in the evaluation of the integrity of aquatic systems.

A major component of the evaluation of biological integrity is the use of Rapid Bioassessment Protocols (RBPs). Rapid Bioassessment Protocols (as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) provide a useful, cost-effective method for identifying impacts and sensitive aquatic habitats, and for monitoring the effectiveness of watershed restoration programs.

The California Aquatic Bioassessment Workgroup (CABW) was formed in 1994 to coordinate scientific and policy-making efforts towards implementating aquatic bioassessment in California. Members of the CABW consist of biologists from university, consulting firms and industry and representatives of state and federal agencies responsible for assessing, monitoring and protecting the biological integrity of surface waters. Through its Steering Committee and annual meetings, CABW participants develop objectives and strategies for implementing aquatic bioassessment in California.


Specific objectives of the CABW include:


  1. Apply consistent, sound methodological approaches to aquatic bioassessment by:
    • defining and testing sets of procedures for sampling aquatic communities;
    • establishing reference conditions;
    • developing quality assurance and quality control procedures;
    • advancing analytical procedures, such as effective use of appropriate metrics and indices; and coordinating and cooperating with each other and other monitoring partners to reduce duplication of effort and expand bioassessment opportunities.
  2. Provide a mentor and support network concerning technical and professional issues for workgroup participants.
  3. Facilitate communication by:
    • enhancing interagency cooperation;
    • providing an electronics communication platform;
    • disseminating pertinent technical literature; and
    • promoting discussion of findings and bioassessment issues.
  4. Promote the incorporation of usable quality-controlled data gathered by volunteer monitoring groups into agency bioassessment programs.