Fish Community Links
Biological Assessment Branch
The Biological Assessment Branch is charged with evaluating the water quality of streams and rivers using the biological communities that live there. The group is divided into two areas of expertise: fisheries, and benthic macroinvertebrates or benthos. These biological communities can reflect both long and short term environmental conditions given the variety of life cycles these organisms exhibit (from less than one to several years in duration).
Biocriteria have been developed using the diversity, abundance, and pollution sensitivity of the organisms that inhabit lotic (flowing) waterbodies in NC. One of five bioclassifications are typically assigned to each water body sampled: Excellent, Good, Good-Fair, Fair and Poor. These bioclassifications, which have been developed for major ecoregions, are used to assess the various impacts of both point source discharges and nonpoint source runoff.The resulting information is used to document both spatial and temporal changes in water quality, and to complement water chemistry analyses, ambient toxicity data, and habitat evaluations. In addition to assessing the effects of water pollution, biological information is also used to define High Quality or Outstanding Resource Waters, support enforcement of stream standards, and measure improvements associated with management actions. The results of biological investigations have been an integral part in North Carolina's basinwide monitoring program.
Benthic macroinvertebrates are composed of aquatic insects but also
Fish occupy the upper levels of the aquatic food web and are both directly and indirectly affected by chemical and physical changes in the environment. The Biological Assessment Branch employs a standard method for assessing streams' biological integrity by examining the structure and health of fish communities. Available data
The mission of the Water Sciences Section is to provide the Division with accurate information pertaining to waters of the state. Excellent service along with water quality monitoring and certification programs and analytical laboratory analyses that provide scientifically defensible data are the section’s main avenues for accomplishing this mission. These activities support the management and protection of North Carolina’s water resources for the health and welfare of the citizens of North Carolina and the economic well-being of the state.
Water Sciences Section 1621 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699-1621
Chemistry 1623 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699-1623