The Role of Ecological Endpoints in Watershed Management

  • Brenda Rashleigh
Part of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Series book series (NAPSC)


Landscape change and pollution in watersheds affect ecological endpoints in receiving water bodies. Therefore, these endpoints are useful in watershed management. Fish and benthic macroinvertebrates are often used as endpoints, since they are easily measured in the field and integrate over time and Stressors. A range of approaches are used to incorporate ecological endpoints into watershed management. A common approach is the use of metrics, such as species diversity and the presence of rare or unique species; metrics are also combined into multimetric indices. Multivariate analyses are used to relate endpoints to landscape characteristics. Detailed ecological models can be used to represent effects of multiple Stressors and predict the response to ecological endpoints to future conditions and alternative management scenarios. Ecological endpoints are currently used to assess or classify sites or water bodies, to identify impaired sites and waters, support water quality permits or enforcement, identify areas for conservation, or to set restoration goals or monitor progress. In the future, it is likely that ecological endpoints will be incorporated with aspects of water quality and economic valuation to create sophisticated decision support tools for watersheds.


Mulitmetric multivariate ecological endpoints assessment 


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© Springer Science + Business Media B. V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brenda Rashleigh
    • 1
  1. 1.U.S. Environmental Protection AgencyUSA

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