Lake Index of Biological Integrity Assessments

2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount:
$1,300,000
2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount:
$1,150,000
2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount:
$1,150,000
2011 Fiscal Year Funding Amount:
$1,178,000
2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount:
$200,000
Source: 
Clean Water Fund
Status: 
In Progress
Start Date: 
July 2009
Activity Type: 
Monitoring, Research, Assessment/Evaluation
Counties Affected: 
Statewide
Project Details:
2014 Fiscal Year
Legal Citation / Subdivision: 
M.L. 2013, Ch. 137, Art. 2, Sec. 6(b)
Appropriation Language 
$1,300,000 the first year and $1,300,000 the second year are for lake Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) assessments.
Fiscal Year Funding Amount: 
$1,300,000
Number of full time equivalents funded: 
14.0
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s) 
In FY14, DNR biologists will complete approximately 135 fish IBI surveys, which include near-shore fish communities and game and nongame fish surveys in the shallow and deep water zones. IBI survey information will be used as part of MPCA’s watershed assessments. Using the data collected to date, DNR Biologists will work with MPCA to finalize a fish IBI tool for most lake types and develop a Biological Condition Gradient (BCG) Model for Minnesota lakes. We expect to finalize the IBI and BCG models by early 2015. Biologists will also begin work on developing IBI tools for aquatic plants in FY14.
Project Details:
2013 Fiscal Year
Legal Citation / Subdivision: 
M.L. 2011, First Special Session, Ch. 6, Art. 2, Sec. 6(b)
Appropriation Language 
$1,150,000 the first year and $1,150,000 the second year are for lake Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) assessments, including assessment of 400 additional lakes and technical analysis to develop an aquatic plant IBI analysis. The commissioner shall work with the commissioner of the Pollution Control Agency on the development of an assessment tool.
Fiscal Year Funding Amount: 
$1,150,000
Direct expenses: 
$786,648
Administration costs: 
$111,048
Number of full time equivalents funded: 
13.0
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s) 
In FY13, DNR biologists will complete approximately 180 fish IBI surveys on 160 lakes, including repeat surveys for quality control. Surveys target the entire fish community, including nongame and game fish living in the nearshore area and offshore. IBI survey information will be used as part of PCA’s watershed assessments. Biologists will begin work on developing plant IBI tools.
Measurable Outcome(s) 
In FY13, DNR biologists completed 146 fish IBI surveys, which include near-shore fish communities as well as game and nongame fish surveys in the shallow and deep water zones. Biologists also developed tools for incorporating fish IBI information into the watershed assessment process in coordination with MPCA. The number of surveys was smaller than originally proposed due to changes in study design to add different methods of fish collection (e.g., vertical gill nets, small mesh trap nets, electrofishing) and improve efficiency and data quality. An unseasonably cool spring caused water temperatures to be too cool to effectively sample near-shore fish communities.
Project Details:
2012 Fiscal Year
Legal Citation / Subdivision: 
M.L. 2011, First Special Session, Ch. 6, Art. 2, Sec. 6(b)
Appropriation Language 
$1,150,000 the first year and $1,150,000 the second year are for lake Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) assessments, including assessment of 400 additional lakes and technical analysis to develop an aquatic plant IBI analysis. The commissioner shall work with the commissioner of the Pollution Control Agency on the development of an assessment tool.
Fiscal Year Funding Amount: 
$1,150,000
Direct expenses: 
$972,395
Administration costs: 
$126,390
Number of full time equivalents funded: 
14.0
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s) 
In FY12, DNR biologists will complete 200 fish IBI surveys. Surveys target the entire fish community, including nongame and game fish living in the nearshore area and offshore. Twenty lakes will receive multiple nearshore surveys per field season for quality control purposes.
Measurable Outcome(s) 
In FY12, DNR biologists completed 180 fish IBI surveys on 162 lakes. Surveys target the entire fish community, including nongame and game fish living in the nearshore area and offshore Eighteen lakes received additional surveys for quality control purposes. Biologists also developed tools for incorporating fish IBI information into the watershed assessment process in coordination with MPCA.
Project Details:
2011 Fiscal Year
Legal Citation / Subdivision: 
M.L. 2009, Ch. 172, Art. 2, Sec. 5(a)
Appropriation Language 
$1,240,000 the first year and $2,460,000 the second year are for assisting in water quality assessments in supporting the identification of impaired waters.
Fiscal Year Funding Amount: 
$1,178,000
Direct expenses: 
$1,029,929
Administration costs: 
$64,573
Number of full time equivalents funded: 
18.0
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s) 
In FY11, DNR biologists will assess 200 lakes for nearshore fish communities, along with accompanying littoral zone and pelagic game and nongame fish surveys. Twenty lakes will receive multiple nearshore surveys per field seaon for quality control purposes.
Measurable Outcome(s) 
In FY11, DNR biologists completed 228 nearshore assessments on 204 lakes for nearshore fish communities. Littoral and pelagic game and nongame fish surveys were also completed.
Project Details:
2010 Fiscal Year
Legal Citation / Subdivision: 
M.L. 2009, Ch. 172, Art. 2, Sec. 5(a)
Appropriation Language 
$1,240,000 the first year and $2,460,000 the second year are for assisting in water quality assessments in supporting the identification of impaired waters.
Fiscal Year Funding Amount: 
$200,000
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s) 
In FY10, DNR biologists will assess 60 lakes for nearshore nongame fish populations.
Measurable Outcome(s) 
In FY10, DNR biologists assessed 22 lakes for nearshore nongame fish populations. DNR Fisheries management staff were trained to do nearshore nongame fish population assessments in preparation for transition of assessment program from the Division of Ecological and Water Resources to the Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Project Overview

The Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) is a tool that can identify water pollution problems based on how the type and abundance of certain species in a biological community vary from expected conditions. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency currently uses IBIs for fish and macroinvertebrates (stream-dwelling insects and other critters) to help determine whether streams and rivers are impacted by water pollution. DNR is developing similar tools, using fish and aquatic plants, to identify lakes that may be impacted to support Legacy Amendment assessment efforts. The development of an IBI involves sampling a wide range of lakes, from high-quality systems to those with significant water quality impacts, plus detailed statistical analysis. The DNR's current effort is focused on collecting information about the entire fish community including non-game fish that have not been traditionally sampled by fishery managers and are often more sensitive to watershed and shoreline disturbance. In addition, DNR is beginning work on development of a plant IBI, especially important for assessing shallower wildlife lakes.

About the Issue

Water pollution problems in lakes have traditionally been identified with water chemistry or water clarity samples, which give a brief snap-shot in time for a limited number of pollutants. An IBI tells more about the water's ability to support plant and animal species over the long term. For example, the absence of certain "indicator species," which are sensitive to pollution, points to stress factors that may require further study. Hopefully, the IBI approach can provide an alternative to expensive chemical sampling and can be established using data already being collected for fishery and aquatic plant management purposes.

Project Manager

Jacquelyn
Bacigalupi
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
1601 Minneosta Drive
Brainerd
56401
218-833-8613