Biomonitoring Data Help
For help understanding the Biomonitoring Reports available through our Google Earth project, see one of these guidance documents:
- Biomonitoring River and Stream Macroinvertebrate Aquatic Life Classification Attainment Report (pdf file)
- ME DEP Aquatic Life Decision Models and Sample Variables (pdf file)
- Biomonitoring Wetland Station Report (pdf file)
- Biomonitoring Wetland Macroinvertebrate Sampling Report (pdf file)
Some general things to know about Biomonitoring Data and Google Earth
All of our Sampling Sites are automatically displayed as different colored squares. New sites established over the summer sampling season will be added by October of each calendar year.
Green squares with a W' represent our Wetland monitoring sites. At all Wetland sites we collect macroinvertebrate samples, algae samples, surface water chemistry samples and record observations about the physical characteristics of the site.
Blue squares with an A' represent our river and stream Algae monitoring sites. At all Algae sites we collect algae samples, surface water chemistry samples and record observations about the physical characteristics of the site.
Pink squares with an M' represent our river and stream Macroinvertebrate monitoring sites. At all Macroinvertebrate sites, we collect macroinvertebrate samples and record observations about the physical characteristics of the site. At some Macroinvertebrate sites we also collect surface water chemistry samples.
Some river and stream sites are both Algae sites and Macroinvertebrate sites. They have the same site number (e.g. S-74), but each have their own symbol displayed one on top of the other. A single click will separate the points.
Use the items in the window on the left to see lists of sites organized by geographic or political boundaries (i.e. Major Drainage Divide or Town).
When Biomonitoring Stations' is expanded to show a complete list of sites in numerical order, note that sites that are both Algae and Macroinvertebrate will be listed twice, once with each applicable symbol.
The data is organized by Sample IDs'. Sample IDs are unique to a specific time and place, and sometimes specific to the type of data collected. A site that has been sampled over several years will have several Sample IDs and sometimes a single visit to a site will have multiple sample IDs, representing the different kinds of data collected during that one visit.
Pay attention to the sample date to make sure you are looking at all Sample IDs from one date.
Sample IDs are flagged with abbreviations to indicate what type of data is associated with that sample ID. AL = Algae, MI= Macroinvertebrate, SW= Surface Water Chemistry, PC= Physical Characteristics, SD= Sediment Samples, and SWS= Surface Water Sediment.
At some Wetland monitoring sites we have collected macroinvertebrate samples using two different collection methods, a stovepipe (SP) sampler and a dipnet (DN) measured sweep. The method is indicated in the Sample ID. For eaxmple, a Sample ID of "SP-2000-001" indicates that a stovepipe sampler was used in the year 2000 at station W-001.
Clicking on a Sample ID will open the available data in a spreadsheet file in another browser window. This file can be manipulated, saved and printed just like an excel spreadsheet. For explanations of the column heading in this file, see the Definitions section.
Double clicking on a site symbol will cause the map window to zoom into that site.
Statutory classes are listed for all sites, but only river and stream Macroinvertebrate sites have a class attainment (final) determination.
Class Attainment refers to whether a sample matches the biological community expected for the assigned statutory class, as determined by the DEP's statistical model. Currently, we only have a model to predict the class attainment for river and stream Macroinvertebrate samples.
On the river and stream Macroinvertebrate reports, "NA" is used to indicate the sample is in "Non-Attainment". This means that the sample does not match even the lowest (Class C) standards.
EGAD_SEQ: A unique number designating the site. This number is generated automatically by the EGAD application at the time the record is created.
Sample ID: For the purpose of EGAD data storage, a sample is defined as any medium (air, water, soil, organism, etc.) collected at a specific location for chemical analysis, both in the lab or the field, physical measurement (width, depth, water level elevation, weight, etc.), identification (fish, insects or crustaceans such as Rainbow Trout, mayflies or crayfish), or any observation (cloud cover, canopy cover, terrain, etc.) made at such a location. The Sample ID/number assigned by DEP staff or outside parties that is unique to a date and location and in some cases sample type.
Sample Date: Date of sample collection.
Sample Medium: Type of sample (surface water, descriptor of the site's physical characteristics, sediment).
Sampled by: Person or group who collected the sample, usually the Biological Monitoring Unit or an individual member of the Unit.
Test : The analytical method used to identify and/or quantitate a particular parameter. Tests designated as FIELD indicate measurements taken in the field such as pH, conductivity, temperature, and dissolved oxygen, and physical measurements such as terrain and canopy cover.
Parameter Category: Type of parameter
Parameter: An analyte or physical characteristic (such as temperature or pH) measured in the field or at the laboratory. A parameter is also any physical measurement such as habitat, terrain, or category of watershed disturbance.
Value (Concentration): The amount of analyte contained in a matrix and detected by a particular test.
Units: Indicates units of the reported analytical results or physical measurements. Parameters that do not have applicable units are listed as NA'. This cell cannot be empty in the database, so True' and False' are used in some instances; these can be interpreted as yes/no' or present/not present'. CT' equals count'.
For definitions of more general terms, see the Biological Monitoring Glossary.