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Bioassessment Training, Evaluation, and Quality Assurance

DEP Bioassessment Methods Course Registration


This training will cover stream bioassessment methods including the Stream Condition Index (SCI), Stream and River Habitat Assessment (HA), Rapid Periphyton Survey (RPS), and Linear Vegetation Survey (LVS). This class is intended for beginners.

When:       Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 8:30 AM EST

Where:      Bear Creek Educational Center (lat/longs 30.476562, -84.625686)

Course Information: Agenda and Information

Registration: Click here to register


Biological Assessment Training Requirements

Stream Condition Index


Stream and River Habitat Assessment

Lake Vegetation Index

Stream Floral Tools – Rapid Periphyton Survey, Linear Vegetation Survey

Bioassessment Testing Registry  - Searchable query for individuals who have completed a sampling audit to support either SCI or BioRecon sampling events.

DEP Field SOPs

Quality of Science e-newsletter – Register to for this e-newsletter to receive announcements from DEP about training or testing opportunities.

Field Sampling Forms

Stream Condition Index

FDEP recommends the training process described in the following links, and recommends that anyone wishing to submit SCI data to FDEP pass an initial demonstration of proficiency (SCI field audit) and pass a refresher audit every 5 years thereafter.  Contact Ashley O’Neal to schedule an initial or refresher SCI audit (including the online SCI test).

Samplers wishing to become proficient in SCI sampling should do the following:

  • Attend DEP SCI/HA class. This class is taught 1-2 times a year at the Bear Creek Education Center near Tallahassee. Training opportunities are announced through Quality of Science e-newsletter.
  • Complete SCI training as directed in the checklist with one or more trainers who passed the SCI audit. Keep a list of training sites and dates.
  • Complete 12 training sites, as directed in the checklist, in which the trainee is practicing the method. The trainer should observe and critique dipnet sweeps by the trainee.
  • Trainer should conduct a mock audit for the trainee, in which s/he ensures that the trainee understands and is proficient in the items in the checklist. Complete the Evaluator checklist.
  • Pass online test and field audit.


A field sampling audit (initial proficiency demonstration) is available for samplers wishing to submit BioRecon data to DEP. Samplers should undergo field taxonomic training with experienced BioRecon samplers, as well as dipnet sweep training as described above for the SCI.

Stream and River Habitat AssessmentPhoto of Mule Creek in Liberty County


FDEP requires that analysts wishing to submit data to FDEP pass 3 out of 5 benchmark tests every two years. It is optimal to test under similar water level conditions, and local hydrographs are provided for each site to aid in this determination. Analysts should not test at the same sites twice. New analysts can test at 2008, 2010, or 2012 sites if necessary, but should contact Joy Jackson if they plan to do so.

Contact Joy Jackson to submit your testing scores.

2016 Sites

FDEP has established sites in the Panhandle, Northeast/Central, and South Regions. Please be sure to use the revised list of sites for the South Region provided in the link below.

2016 Northeast/Central Sites (20 MB) | 2016 Northwest Sites (20 MB) | 2016 South Sites (9.1 MB)

Lake Vegetation Index

FDEP recommends that anyone who intends to submit LVI data to FDEP, pass the LVI team proficiency testing offered every two years.  In addition, at least one member of each LVI sampling team should pass the online test of common lake plants.   Please contact Ashley O’Neal to take the online plant test

Online Plant Test

Online Plant test is now available. At least one person on every LVI sampling team should pass the online test of common lake plants. Contact Ashley O’Neal (Ashley.ONeal@dep.state.fl.us) to take this test.

LVI Calculator

Team Testing

  2017 Team Proficiency Testing for the LVI will be conducted June 1-30, 2017 at the lakes specified below. For those organizations that wish to submit LVI data to DEP, each LVI sampling team must conduct the testing at one of the lakes below between June 1st and June 30th, 2017. Each team participating in testing must have at least one team member in pass status for the online plant ID test (must be taken each year).  Contact Ashley O’Neal (Ashley.ONeal@dep.state.fl.us) to take the plant ID test.

To determine proficiency, a sampling team must conduct the LVI per SOP LVI 1000, calculate the final LVI score per LVI 2200, and submit results by July 15, 2017, to Ashley O’Neal at Ashley.O'Neal@dep.state.fl.us 2600 Blair Stone Rd., MS 6511, Tallahassee, FL 32399.

Submit the following information: name of organization, name of samplers performing the exercise, sampling date, final LVI score (calculated per LVI 2200), and taxa lists for each sampling section. The consensus score for each lake will be determined as the median score from all teams in pass status from the testing in 2015. All teams that score within +/- 12 points of the median score will be in pass status for 2017.

Stream Floral Tools – Rapid Periphyton Survey, Linear Vegetation Survey

The Rapid Periphyton Survey (RPS) quantifies the thickness and abundance of attached algae in stream and river reaches.  Follow DEP SOP FS 7230 (effective 7/30/14, dated 3/1/14) to conduct the RPS.

The Linear Vegetation Survey (LVS) characterizes the vascular plant community within the wetted channel of stream and river reaches.  Follow DEP SOP FS 7320  (effective 7/30/14, dated 3/1/14) to conduct the LVS.

For more information please email Nia Wellendorf, or call 850/245-8190.


Last updated: July 26, 2017

  2600 Blair Stone Road M.S. 3500   Tallahassee, Florida 32399   850-245-8336 (phone) / 850-245-8356 (fax) 
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