Biological Assessments Sampling Database  ZIP 4 MB (Last Modified: 11/27/2018)

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources initiated the process of biological criteria development in 1992. Narrative portions of biological criteria were then established in the 1994 revision of the Missouri Water Quality Standards. The department researched and developed a biological criteria framework for the wadeable, perennial streams of Missouri using general guidance from EPA, the Department of Natural Resources, University of Missouri – Columbia, and Missouri Resource Assessment Partnership.

Biological criteria development consists of:

  • Delineating aquatic ecoregions of Missouri - Missouri has 19 aquatic ecoregions, termed ecological drainage units.
  • Designating reference streams - There are 62 wadeable, perennial reference streams designated as:
    • cold water or warm water
    • riffle/pool or glide/pool stream types
  • Surveying the habitat and macroinvertebrate communities
  • Selecting and calibrating biological metrics
  • Developing a framework for numeric biological criteria
  • Establishing numeric criteria for wadeable, perennial streams of Missouri.

Numeric biological criteria for benthic macroinvertebrates were researched from 1992 through 2002.  Ecological drainage units, in combination with stream type and season, provide a framework for which numeric criteria are generated for 50 categories of streams.

Criteria were first calculated in 2002. Numeric criteria continue to be refined as reference stream data is collected. Current numeric criteria can be found in the searchable Biological Criteria Search Lists at the bottom of the page.

Information regarding the criteria development process and initial numeric criteria are documented in the 1997 University of Missouri document: Biological Criteria for Streams of Missouri and the 2002 Department of Natural Resources document: Biological Criteria for Wadeable/Perennial Streams of Missouri.

Standard Operating Procedures and Project Procedures:

Searchable Databases:

Macroinvertebrate samples are collected by the department and other qualified groups using standard operating procedures. A set of four metrics are calculated and translated into a multi-metric index. The multi-metric index scores are grouped into three categories:

    1. 20 -16 = fully biological supporting
    2. 14 - 10 = partially biological supporting
    3. 8 - 4 = non-biological supporting.

These categories apply to the support of the designated use of protection of aquatic life.

Macroinvertebrate Samples Search Lists

List by Year - list of sampled years
List by Waterbody - alphabetical list of all sampled waterbodies
List by County - Sampled waterbodies by county

Biological criteria are narrative descriptions or numerical values that describe the reference aquatic communities inhabiting waters that have been given a designated aquatic life use.  The Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ primary intended uses of biological criteria are:

    1. To establish regional attainment goals that are relevant to aquatic life use and resource protection;
    2. To serve as a scientifically valid benchmark and;
    3. To provide a sound scientific basis for biological assessment of the status of aquatic communities.

Biological Criteria Search Lists

Ecological Drainage Unit
Sampling Regime
Temperature Regime