Scientists Call on Nations to Make Greater Investment in Monitoring River, Stream Ecologies

Thirty-one scientists from 10 countries called upon the U.S. EPA, the European Union and other countries to make greater investments in environmental-monitoring programs. The goal is to improve the accuracy of information gathered in ecological assessments of watersheds and river systems.

To date, monitoring approaches mandated by national environmental regulations and international treaties have relied on inaccurate environmental models and inadequate biological monitoring, the scientists stated on April 2. In many cases, monitoring programs have failed to adequately identify degraded habitat and aquatic life most at risk.

According to research scientists convened by the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), it is clear that field monitoring technologies have rapidly advanced over the 10 years concurrent with advances in internet communications, digital technology and computational power. Monitoring tools reporting in real-time now are available that span a range of aquatic habitats (from marine to freshwater and from sediments to wetlands) that encompass an ever-widening range of species, and are sensitive to indicators of toxic or degraded conditions.

Scientists agreed that what has been largely lacking is a move toward the development of standardized approaches that are amenable to regulatory requirements, which increasingly demand that monitoring programs meet specific scientific standards and quality control procedures.

For more information, contact SETAC at http://www.setac.org.

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