Lake Index of Biological Integrity Assessments

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,250,000
2018 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,250,000
2017 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,300,000
2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,300,000
2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,300,000
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
Fund Source
Clean Water Fund
Status
In Progress
Start Date
July 2009
Activity Type
Assessment/Evaluation
Monitoring
Research
Counties Affected
Statewide
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2017 Regular Session Ch. 91 Art. 2 Sec. 6(b)
Appropriation Language

$1250000 the first year and $1250000 the second year are for lake Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) assessments.

2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,250,000
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Fish: In FY19 DNR biologists will complete approximately 135 fish Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) surveys in lakes. The surveys are designed to representatively sample fish communities including game and nongame fish in nearshore and deep water zones. We will also complete approximately 75 shoreline habitat surveys to evaluate the impact of shoreline activities on fish community metrics. Fish IBI survey information will be used in MN Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) watershed assessments for about 78 lakes in six major watersheds following MPCA’s watershed schedule. The information will be used to determine whether the lakes meet standards to identify and evaluate lakes vulnerable to future impairment and to identify lakes of exceptional biological quality as priorities for protection. We will produce stressor identification reports for approximately three watersheds for lakes designated as impaired or vulnerable to future impairment based on fish IBI results. We will continue to refine fish IBI tools and develop metrics suitable for lakes that support cold-water habitat.

Aquatic Plants: In FY19 DNR biologists will continue to analyze and deliver aquatic plant data to the MPCA for lakes the MPCA will assess in 2019 or 2020. Statewide we will survey various lake plant communities including unique and rare plant communities to help refine rapid assessment methods. We will continue providing training and technical support on plant identification and survey methods to other DNR programs that collect and contribute aquatic plant data.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2017 Regular Session Ch. 91 Art. 2 Sec. 6(b)
Appropriation Language

$1250000 the first year and $1250000 the second year are for lake Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) assessments.

2018 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,250,000
Direct expenses
$1,251,130
Administration costs
$93,268
Number of full time equivalents funded
16.6
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Fish: In FY18 DNR Fisheries staff will complete approximately 135 Fish Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) surveys including near-shore fish communities as well as game and nongame fish in shallow and deep water zones. We will also complete approximately 75 shoreline habitat surveys to evaluate the impact of shoreline activities on fish community metrics. Fish IBI survey information will be used in MN Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) watershed assessments for about 160 lakes in four major watersheds following MPCA’s watershed schedule. The information will be used to determine whether the lakes meet water quality standards identify and analyze lakes vulnerable to future impairment and identify lakes of exceptional biological quality as priorities for protection in Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies (WRAPS). We will produce stressor ID reports for three watersheds for lakes designated as impaired or vulnerable to future impairment based on Fish IBI scores. We will continue to refine Fish IBI tools and develop metrics suitable for lakes that support cold-water habitat.

Aquatic Plants: In FY18 DNR biologists will continue to analyze and deliver aquatic plant data to the MPCA. We will conduct field surveys on about 50 lakes in the North Fork Crow River Snake River and Sauk River watersheds which are scheduled to be assessed by the MPCA in 2019 or 2020. Statewide we will survey a variety of lake plant communities including unique and rare plant communities to help refine rapid assessment methods. Finally because accurate plant identification is essential for IBI surveys we will continue to provide training and technical support on plant identification and survey methods to other DNR programs that collect aquatic plant data.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2015 First Special Session Ch. 2 Art. 2 Sec. 6(b)
Appropriation Language

(b) $1300000 the first year and $1300000 the second year are for lake Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) assessments.

2017 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,300,000
Direct expenses
$1,174,294
Administration costs
$97,900
Number of full time equivalents funded
15.5
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Fish: In FY17 DNR biologists will complete approximately 135 Fish Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) surveys which include near-shore fish communities and game and nongame fish surveys in shallow and deep water zones. About 75 shoreline habitat surveys will be conducted for stressor ID purposes. Fish IBI survey information will be used as part of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA)’s watershed assessments for approximately 56 lakes in three major watersheds. Based on the Fish IBI lakes will be designated as impaired or meeting standards. In addition the list of lakes of exceptional biological quality will be updated to help identify which lakes are priorities for protection in the development of Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies. We will produce stressor ID reports for six watersheds; for about 25 lakes designated as impaired or vulnerable to future impairment based on their Fish IBI score.

Aquatic Plants: In FY17 EWR biologists will organize analyze and deliver aquatic plant data which the MPCA will use to determine whether lakes are meeting water quality standards. We will continue to provide training and technical support to staff in other DNR programs that collect aquatic plant data and survey shoreline habitat. We will focus plant surveys on lakes Mississippi River-Brainerd Mississippi River – Grand Rapids Ottertail River and Kettle River watersheds. We will conduct intensive detailed field surveys at 20 priority lakes where there are not enough data to do a quality IBI assessment and we will survey shoreline habitat and delineate emergent plant stands on about 50 lakes. This will help us develop additional IBI metrics for non-nutrient stressors.

Measurable Outcome(s)

Fish: In FY17 DNR staff completed 157 Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) surveys of fish. The surveys include near-shore fish communities as well as game and nongame fish in shallow and deep water zones. Staff also conducted 112 shoreline habitat surveys to evaluate the impact of shoreland activities on fish community metrics. The MN Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) used the resulting information in watershed assessments for 54 lakes in three major watersheds. The information was used to determine whether the lakes meet water quality standards identify and analyze lakes vulnerable to future impairment and identify lakes of exceptional biological quality as priorities for protection in Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies (WRAPS). DNR staff produced stressor identification reports for six watersheds in which 28 lakes were designated as impaired or vulnerable to future impairment based on Fish IBI score. Finally DNR staff continued refining Fish IBI tools and developing metrics suitable for lakes that support cold-water habitat.
Aquatic Plants: In FY17 DNR biologists organized analyzed and delivered aquatic plant data to help the MPCA determine – together with information from the Fish IBI surveys described above—whether the lakes meet water quality standards. To match the MPCA’s watershed assessment schedule DNR biologists focused on lakes in the Mississippi River-Brainerd Mississippi River-Sartell Otter Tail River and Kettle River watersheds conducting detailed field surveys at 50 priority lakes that lacked the data needed for IBI analysis. This included shoreline habitat surveys and delineation of emergent and floating-leaf plant stands—two types of data needed to develop IBI metrics for evaluating shoreland development as a lake water quality stressor. Finally because accurate plant identification is essential for IBI surveys we continued to provide training and technical support on plant identification and survey methods to other DNR

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2013 Ch. 137 Art. 2 Sec. 6(b)
Appropriation Language

$1300000 the first year and $1300000 the second year are for lake Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) assessments.

2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,300,000
Direct expenses
$1,165,962
Administration costs
$155,377
Number of full time equivalents funded
16.7
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Fish IBI: In FY16 DNR biologists will complete approximately 135 fish index of biological integrity (IBI) surveys which include near-shore fish communities and game and nongame fish surveys in shallow and deep water zones. IBI survey information will be used as part of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA)’s watershed assessments for approximately 65 lakes in six major watersheds. Lakes will be identified as impaired or as meeting standards based on the fish IBI. In addition the list of lakes of exceptional biological quality will be updated to help identify which lakes are priorities for protection in the development of Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies. We will continue to produce stressor ID reports; for lakes with poor fish IBI scores; approximately 30 – 40 lakes are likely to be designated as impaired.

Aquatic Plant IBI: In FY16 EWR biologists will organize analyze and deliver aquatic plant data which the MPCA will use to determine whether lakes are meeting water quality standards. We will continue to provide training and technical support to staff in other DNR programs that collect aquatic plant and data and do shoreline habitat surveys. We will target intensive detailed field surveys at 13 priority lakes in the Mississippi River-Brainerd watershed where there is not enough data to do a quality IBI assessment and we will survey shoreline habitat and delineate emergent plant stands on 47 lakes in the Mississippi River-Brainerd watershed. This will help us develop additional IBI metrics for non-nutrient stressors.

Measurable Outcome(s)

Fish: In FY16 DNR biologists will complete approximately 135 Fish Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) surveys which include near-shore fish communities and game and nongame fish surveys in shallow and deep water zones. About 75 shoreline habitat surveys will be conducted for stressor ID purposes. Fish IBI survey information will be used as part of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA)’s watershed assessments for approximately 56 lakes in three major watersheds. Based on the Fish IBI lakes will be designated as impaired or meeting standards. In addition the list of lakes of exceptional biological quality will be updated to help identify which lakes are priorities for protection in the development of Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies. We will produce stressor ID reports for six watersheds; for about 25 lakes designated as impaired or vulnerable to future impairment based on their Fish IBI score.

Aquatic Plants: In FY16 EWR biologists organized analyzed and delivered aquatic plant data which the MPCA used to determine whether lakes are meeting water quality standards. We provided training and technical support to staff in other DNR programs that collect aquatic plant and data and do shoreline habitat surveys. Specifically we trained 51 DNR Fisheries staff in shoreline habitat survey methods and 50 EWR and Fisheries staff in aquatic plant identification. We targeted intensive detailed field surveys at 13 priority lakes in the Mississippi River-Brainerd North Fork Crow River Crow Wing River and Sauk River watersheds where there were not enough data to do a quality IBI assessment. We surveyed shoreline habitat on 47 lakes in the Mississippi River-Brainerd Mississippi River-Grand Rapids and Ottertail River watersheds and delineated emergent plant stands on 47 lakes in the Mississippi River-Brainerd watershed. These data will help us develop additional IBI metrics for non-nutrient stressors.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2013 Ch. 137 Art. 2 Sec. 6(b)
Appropriation Language

$1300000 the first year and $1300000 the second year are for lake Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) assessments.

2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,300,000
Direct expenses
$956,280
Administration costs
$96,351
Number of full time equivalents funded
14.1
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Fish IBI: In FY15 DNR biologists will complete approximately 135 fish IBI surveys which include near-shore fish communities and game and nongame fish surveys in 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 fish-based IBI and BCG models for most lake types by early 2015.

Aquatic Plant IBI: In FY15 DNR biologists will analyze quantitative data collected by DNR Fisheries DNR Wildlife Shallow Lakes Program and DNR EWR's Lakes & Rivers Program as a next step in finalizing an aquatic plant IBI. We will organize analyze and deliver aquatic plant data collected in targeted watersheds for use in MPCA’s watershed assessment process for identifying impaired waters. A manual of standardized aquatic plant survey methods will be completed.

Measurable Outcome(s)

Fish IBI: In FY15 DNR biologists completed 136 fish index of biological integrity (IBI) surveys which included near-shore fish communities and game and nongame fish surveys in shallow and deep water zones. We also finalized four fish IBI tools and established biological impairment thresholds for the fish IBIs. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) used fish IBI survey information in their watershed assessments for 81 lakes in four major watersheds. Based on the fish IBI lakes were determined to be impaired or meeting standards. We also made a list of lakes of exceptional biological quality which is being used to identify protection priorities in MPCA’s Watershed Restorations and Protection Strategies. We took on a new task of determining which factors are contributing to fish IBI impairments on lakes; we drafted 9 stressor ID reports for the MPCA.

Aquatic Plant IBI: In FY15 EWR biologists organized analyzed and delivered aquatic plant data on 152 lakes in priority watersheds. A variety of DNR programs collect lake plant data; we used these data for the plant IBI assessments. To help maintain this important data source we finalized survey protocols for aquatic plant IBI assessments wrote a manual of these standardized survey methods and held training workshops for 150 DNR Fish and Wildlife staff involved in lake plant surveys. In addition we did more detailed in-lake surveys on eight priority lakes in the Rum River Watershed where there was not enough existing plant data to calculate an IBI. Biologists surveyed shoreline habitat and/or delineated emergent plant stands on 25 lakes in the Rum River and Mississippi River-Brainerd watersheds We also made progress enhancing software to gather and manage data which will make it easier for more biologists from other DNR programs to survey shoreline habitat and/or delineate emergent plant stands.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2013 Ch. 137 Art. 2 Sec. 6(b)
Appropriation Language

$1300000 the first year and $1300000 the second year are for lake Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) assessments.

2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,300,000
Direct expenses
$7,574,287
Administration costs
$142,024
Number of full time equivalents funded
11.08
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY14 DNR biologists will complete approximately 135 fish Index of Biological Integrity (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.

Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY14 DNR biologists completed 124 fish IBI surveys on 121 lakes 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.

FY14 (primarily summer of 2013) was the first year of transitioning from sampling for tool development to sampling primarily as part of a watershed assessment within the MNPCA schedule. Due to the logistics of working in selected watersheds vs. statewide fewer lakes were sampled. We also increased survey effort on many lakes targeted larger lakes which take more time to sample and added new gear targeting sensitive pelagic fish species on several lakes.

In FY14 DNR biologists developed and conducted special IBI vegetation surveys on approximately 20 lakes throughout the state. These surveys were targeted for data collection in the shoreline and near-shore zones where data are currently lacking. Surveys included rapid shoreline habitat assessments delineation of emergent and floating-leaf plant beds and quantitative assessments of in-lake plant communities. A centralized database for these data has been created.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011 First Special Session Ch. 6 Art. 2 Sec. 6(b)
Appropriation Language

$1150000 the first year and $1150000 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.

2013 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.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011 First Special Session Ch. 6 Art. 2 Sec. 6(b)
Appropriation Language

$1150000 the first year and $1150000 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.

2012 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.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2009 Ch. 172 Art. 2 Sec. 5(a)
Appropriation Language

$1240000 the first year and $2460000
the second year are for assisting in water
quality assessments in supporting the
identification of impaired waters.

2011 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.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2009 Ch. 172 Art. 2 Sec. 5(a)
Appropriation Language

$1240000 the first year and $2460000
the second year are for assisting in water
quality assessments in supporting the
identification of impaired waters.

2010 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 the type and abundance of selected plants or animals. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) uses IBIs for fish and macroinvertebrates (stream-dwelling insects and other critters) in streams to help determine whether these waterways are impacted by water pollution. The DNR has developed a similar tool for fish in lakes and is developing a tool for aquatic plants. Both are used to help the MPCA identify lakes that may be impacted by water pollution. When sampling fish, we collect information about the entire fish community, including non-game species which are often more sensitive to watershed and shoreline disturbance. The aquatic plant IBI is especially important for assessing pollution impacts in shallow lakes designated for wildlife management. The DNR participates in the MPCA watershed assessment process, using fish and plant IBI data and interpretation to identify lakes as impaired or meeting standards, and to identify lakes of exceptional biological quality. We also use the fish IBI data to provide an analysis of the stressors contributing to lake impairments.

About the Issue

Water pollution in lakes has traditionally been identified using water chemistry or water clarity samples, which give a brief snap-shot in time for a limited number of pollutants. An IBI tells us more about the water's capacity to support key plants and animals. For example, the absence of certain "indicator species," which are sensitive to pollution, points to stress factors that might need further study. The lake IBI approach complements expensive chemical sampling and leverages data collected for game-fish and aquatic plant management purposes.

Project Manager
First Name
Jacquelyn
Last Name
Bacigalupi
Organization Name
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Street Address
1601 Minneosta Drive
City
Brainerd
State
MN
Zip Code
56401
Phone
(218) 203-4315
Email
jacquelyn.bacigalupi@state.mn.us