Fish Collection Methods
Fishes are sampled quantitatively using electrofishing equipment in the form of backpacks, tote barge units, or boats (Smith-Root). Sampling proceeds in an upstream direction capturing all fish possible from all habitats. Backpack and tote barge sampling is performed throughout the entire reach (150 m minimum, 500 m maximum) in a single pass. Boat electrofishing will include additional sampling effort depending on stream width and habitat variability. Electrofishing effort (seconds) is then recorded and the fish are identified to species, enumerated and examined for anomalies prior to being released unharmed to the sampling reach. A small voucher collection of all species collected is maintained at the Virginia Commonwealth University Fish Museum.
Biological integrity is commonly defined as "the ability to support and maintain a balanced, integrated, and adaptive community of organisms having a species composition, diversity and functional organization comparable to those of natural habitats within a region"
Biological assessment is an evaluation of the condition of a waterbody using biological surveys and other direct measurements of the resident biota in surface waters.
Resources on using fish communities for Bioassessments:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agencies Biological Indicators of Watershed Health