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Until recently, attempts to monitor the condition of the nation's flowing waters focused on the physical and chemical characteristics of those waters while their biological communities were largely ignored. In addition, data were not collected in a statistically designed fashion. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with the cooperation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, conducted a statistical survey of the status of the nation's waters, their fish communities, and the limiting factors affecting these fish communities. This study, the National Fisheries Survey, is one tool with which the EPA will continue to monitor national water quality. Among the major findings of the survey are that the majority of the nation's streams (67%) are currently suitable as sport fish habitat, water quality factors adversely affect the fish community in 56% of the nation's waters, and the ability of the nation's waters to support sport fish did not change appreciably during the 5 years which preceded 1982—overall, 91% of the nation's waters maintained a constant ability to support sport fish species during that period.
biological surveys, water quality, statistical analysis, fisheries, surveys
Aquatic biologist, Field Studies Branch, Exposure Evaluation Division, Office of Toxic Substances, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC,