GLEC Conducts NARS Rivers and Lakes Surveys for USEPA

August 8, 2008

GLEC is a prime contractor for USEPA’s multi-year National Aquatic Resource (NARS) survey designed to assess the condition of U.S. river, stream, lake, and reservoir freshwater resources. The various water body categories are being surveyed began with wadeable streams in 2004, lakes and reservoirs in 2007, and rivers and streams in 2008. Each survey is designed to generate statistically valid estimates of the ecological health of water bodies through sampling a randomly selected representative assemblage of aquatic community, water quality, human health and associated ecological data. Field sampling surveys include sampling and assessment of stream bed and riparian habitats, stream and lake morphology, water chemistry, macroinvertebrates, fish community, periphyton, sediment enzyme activity, fish tissue and fecal indicators.

During the 2008 sampling season, GLEC researchers led the nationwide effort to survey approximately 300 rivers and streams in the Central and Eastern U.S. and provide guidance to state and contractor crews surveying other state sites. In 2007 GLEC oversaw the survey of 909 target and 200 reference lakes while GLEC field crews visited 130 lakes in 10 states. Along with field survey support, GLEC provides US EPA with support in logistics, testing laboratory management, public outreach and field crew training. In 2009, GLEC crews sampled 265 non-wadeable rivers and streams in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Alabama, and Minnesota.

GLEC also developed desktop site evaluation techniques employing GIS and public databases to streamline the selection and qualification of survey sites. Seamless high resolution imaghery was employed by GLEC's GIS department to create detailed survey site planning maps. The overall NARS survey effort has also been supported by GLEC contract partners Tetra Tech, Inc. and Midwest Biodiversity Institute.

Surveys will continue through 2009 and results of the study will be incorporated into a report to the U.S. Congress scheduled for 2011.

For more information contact

Bill Arnold

Manager & Principal Research Scientist / Business Development & GIS




GLEC operates one of only a few U.S. laboratories accredited for whole sediment toxicity testing. GLEC also maintains NELAP accreditation for chlorophyll and nutrient chemistry testing.


GLEC's Columbus, OH laboratory is ADEQ accredited for Acute Toxicity and Chronic Toxicity testing.



Great Lakes Environmental Center

739 Hastings Street
Traverse City, MI   49686

Phone: (231) 941-2230
Fax: (231) 941-2240