Virginia’s freshwater biological monitoring program began in the1970s. DEQ uses benthic macroinvertebrate communities to assess the ecological health of fresh water streams and rivers. DEQ’s biological monitoring program examines over 150 stations annually. Reasons for bioassessments include but are not limited to: targeted monitoring, probabilistic monitoring, tracking local pollution events, followup on waters of concern identified through volunteer citizen monitoring, and TMDL monitoring.
Data from the biological monitoring program are used in the periodic review and assessment of state waters as required by Section 305(b) of the Clean Water Act. Benthic macroinvertebrate monitoring is used in assessing the health of aquatic life in state waters established in 9 VAC 25-260-10 A. that states in part that “All state waters, including wetlands, are designated for the following uses: ...the propagation and growth of a balanced, indigenous population of aquatic life, including game fish, which might reasonably be expected to inhabit them ....”