Wetlands - Biomonitoring
| Introduction | Overview |
The Hualapai Tribe has identified 956 acres of wetlands on Hualapai Reservation Lands
In accordance and compliance with the Clean Water Act, the Hualapai Tribe has initiated a number of proactive measures purposed to preserve and conserve of our natural resources. A Wetlands Protection and Preservation ordinance is in place along with a Water Resource Ordinance.
Wetland size, vegetation, algal cover, benthic aquatic and wetland macroinvertebrate abundances are monitored using the Springs Ecological Assessment Protocols (SEAP). Our Biomonitoring Protocols will assist us in preserving and conserving wetlands supplementing the departments 106 Program in maintaining and assessing water quality standards throughout the year. The goal is to provide an efficient and predictable framework to assist in mitigating or offsetting wetland losses and values caused by permitted human activities, thus ensuring cooperation with a nationwide policy of “no net loss” of wetland habitats.
The Hualapai Tribe uses its biomonitoring protocols to measure and assess the water quality and health of our wetlands. Through the component activities of the protocols, the Hualapai Tribe can assess the overall health of our wetlands, reducing the necessary expense of water quality analysis from environmental laboratories; Ensuring springs and wetlands are not impaired by point and non-point source pollutants (primarily feral animals); Eradicate exotic vegetation (Tamarisk) in our wetlands that consume more water than native vegetation; Replace with native willows grown at the Tribe’s native tree nursery.
The ecological integrity and functionality of wetlands on the Hualapai Reservation are affected by climatic conditions, land use practices, and pollution over time. The wetland biomonitoring program assesses these conditions based on the springs inventory using the Stevens and Springer stream sampling techniques as recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (2007; Appendix B, including field data sheets). These protocols provide the Hualapai Tribe with comprehensive and integrated information for springs ecosystems and stream-riparian inventory on the Hualapai Reservation.
Wetland area is determined annually by traversing the perimeter of each wetland with a Trimble GPS unit. Areas which have overhang or poor GPS reception are field mapped using compass, tape, or range finder. Data collected is entered in a GIS system to calculate wetland area. Polygons are mapped for each monitored wetland and compared to aerial cover over time.
Aquatic macroinvertabrates are sampled qualitatively and quantitatively in spring and autumn seasons. Spot sampling with dip nets, D-nets, kicknet, Surber samplers, or dredges are used depending upon the sites flow and habitat conditions. Sites with sufficient flow have 3 or more 1ft2 benthic sampling points exploited for samples in 1 minute periods. Velocity and depth are measured at each sampling point and substrate particle sizes are described by percent cover of clay, silt, sand, pea gravel, coarse gravel, cobble, boulder, or bedrock.
Field staff continues sampling as many invertebrate species as possible in a 30 minute period. Adult and larvae species forms are sampled with aerial sweep nets and beating sheets. Soft-bodied specimens are preserved in 70% EtOH and hard-bodied forms are preserved dry for pinning. All samples and specimens are returned to the laboratory for sorting, enumeration, preparation, and identification. Specimens are stored at the Museum of Northern Arizona and a voucher collection is housed at Peach Springs.
For a review of the Hualapai Tribes Biomonitoring Protocols
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Current Wetland Monitoring Sites:
Spencer Canyon Watershed
Truxton Wash Watershed
Peach Springs Canyon Watershed
National Canyon Watershed
Maintain and improve wetland habitats on the Hualapai Reservation for the betterment of the environment. The practice to ensure the monitoring objectives include scheduled site visits each year to conduct field parameter water quality sampling, measuring pH, temperature, conductivity, salinity, total dissolved solids, dissolved oxygen and turbidity. These tests routinely assess that the water quality is within acceptable levels of the Hualapai Tribes Water Resource Ordinance, Narrative Water Quality Standards, Section 402.
For the Hualapai Tribes Numeric Water Quality Standards
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A quality assurance quality control measure of reading, repeating and checking test results is utilized in all field laboratory work performed by Water Resource Staff.
If water quality sampling of the wetland sites exceeds the acceptable water quality levels established. Re-sampling of the water will be conducted to eliminate sampler error. If, the water quality is determined to be in excess of acceptable standards. A thorough investigation of the site will be conducted to determine the point source or non-point source pollutant and mitigation measures will be discussed with science staff and EPA to determine a course of mitigation based on investigation findings. If the water quality change is determined to be the result of a natural occurrence and cannot be mitigated. Advisories will be disseminated regarding the water quality exceedance of the specific site and prohibitions may be placed on the site depending upon the severity of the condition(s).
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