[CDHC] EPA Biological Criteria for Coral Reefs

Cheryl Woodley cheryl.woodley at noaa.gov
Thu Apr 20 16:25:15 EDT 2006

Hi CDHC Members,
I wanted to make you aware that EPA is developing Biological Criteria 
for Coral Reefs. Below is an announcment of a meeting they are holding 
in May and the web link to their document describing their proposed 
biological criteria for assessing coral reef ecosystems.



* *

Presented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

WHEN: Friday, May 5 from 8:15-10:30 AM

WHERE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

EPA East Building, Room 1102

1201 Constitution Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20460

WHY: Introduce biocriteria as a monitoring-based management tool for 
protecting coral reefs, summarize EPA’s activities to support 
development of coral reef biocriteria, and generate inter-agency 

WHO: All are welcome. Please RSVP to Valerie Chan by Friday, April 28, 
at chan.valerie at epa.gov or at (415) 972-3016 if interested.

This workshop will provide an overview of coral biocriteria as applied 
under the Clean Water Act. In addition to discussing the scientific and 
regulatory framework of biological criteria, the workshop will highlight 
efforts in several U.S. jurisdictions to develop biocriteria for corals 
and EPA’s emerging program for technical and regulatory guidance. The 
session will conclude with a discussion on the use of bio-indicators in 
other federal and state/territorial agencies to monitor coral reefs, 
potential opportunities to partner existing monitoring programs to 
contribute to biocriteria development, and mechanisms to communicate 
information on biocriteria development for corals.

Biological criteria (biocriteria) complement physical and chemical water 
quality criteria under the Clean Water Act. Biocriteria are narrative 
descriptions or numeric values representing the biological condition of 
aquatic communities. Aquatic communities are responsive to effects of 
low-level, chronic, and non-point source pollution, and to interactive 
stressors not captured by traditional water quality standards. Many 
states have biological criteria for locally important aquatic systems 
such as streams, lakes, or estuaries to supplement the chemical limits 
within their water quality standards. Such biological information is 
helpful in identifying impaired waters and stressors and in assessing 
biological condition for comparison across sites and time.

EPA recently piloted a bioassessment protocol for stony corals in the US 
Virgin Islands and will publish guidance in 2006 to assist states and 
territories in developing biocriteria. Efforts are also being led in the 
Pacific by the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands and American 
Samoa to conduct systematic coral bioassessments, develop metrics, and 
work toward adoption of coral reef biocriteria into their water quality 

Here is their updated website:

Cheryl Woodley, Ph.D.
Coral Health and Disease Program

Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research
Hollings Marine Laboratory
331 Fort Johnson Rd
Charleston, SC 29412
843.762.8862 Phone
843.762.8737 Fax
cheryl.woodley at noaa.gov

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