Joint Chesapeake-Potomac Regional Chapter and 
Hudson-Delaware Chapter SETAC 2022 Spring Meeting


Short Courses

We offer Short Courses or Workshops during the meeting to allow a more in depth discussion of a topic or allow time for outdoor courses.

Short Course #1 Hazardous Waste & Superfund: A primer and a trainee’s research experiences in Texas

Speaker: Krisa Camargo, Ph.D. (AHPC)

Abstract: The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, or Superfund, was created in response to Love Canal in New York state. The purpose of CERCLA is to hold responsible parties accountable regarding the clean-up of abandoned hazardous waste or uncontrolled emergency releases of hazardous waste. To extend CERCLA, the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) of 1986 was passed and this law also authorized the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know ACT (EPCRA). This continuing education course will therefore first highlight the key concepts and definitions associated with Superfund and its related laws. Following this overview, the speaker will share her research and trainee experiences with the Texas A&M University Superfund Research Center (TAMU SRC). Given the unique and interdisciplinary nature of the TAMU SRC and other Centers around the United States, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Superfund Research Program’s funding and training opportunities will also be discussed. To close, the speaker will highlight current SRP research and resources available for attendees to explore. Disclaimer: This talk does not reflect nor represent the views of the US Army and will solely focus on the speaker’s previous research and trainee experiences prior to starting at the US Army Public Health Center.

Biosketch: Dr. Krisa Camargo is a biologist with the US Army Public Health Center (APHC) where she works on multidisciplinary projects and provides consultative services regarding biological and toxicological topics. Dr. Camargo completed her PhD from Texas A&M University (TAMU) and also earned her Certificate in Homeland Security from the Texas A&M Bush School of Government & Public Service. Her doctoral work characterized contamination exposures and risk in soils and sediments within Galveston Bay (GB), the Houston Ship Channel (HSC), and Houston, TX by developing effective analytical tools and methods for disaster research. Her 2018 KC Donnelly Externship Supplemental Award afforded Dr. Camargo the opportunity to expand her research of rapid technologies for preliminary characterization of soil and sediment samples. As TAMU Superfund Research Program trainee, Dr. Camargo was afforded the opportunity to work on interdisciplinary research teams as well as cultivate an interest in science communication and science policy. A combination of these experiences led Dr. Camargo to pursue her Homeland Security certification while also becoming involved in the Aggies in Science Technology Engineering Policy. Dr. Camargo is the primary author on 3 publications and co-author on 6 publications, one of which is a white paper with the Texas A&M Bush School of Government & Public Service. In addition to her research, Dr. Camargo has extensive volunteer experience in SOT and while still new to SETAC, she is actively exploring volunteer opportunities. As an Aggie, Dr. Camargo loves all things Texas A&M and is excited to participate in her local A&M Club while exploring the DC/Maryland region with her dogs.


Short Course #2 Designing a robust and spatially representative long-term monitoring program

Speaker: Kenneth Takagi (WSP, Vahalla, NY), Yin Wang (WSP, Morristown, NJ) and John Kern (Kern Statistical Services, Houghton, MI)

Abstract: Designing a successful long-term monitoring program requires determining the minimum number of samples required and distributing the sampling locations in a spatially representative manner. In the first part of this learning session, we will discuss how statistical power analyses can be used to determine the minimum number of samples required per event to achieve two different project design goals: (1) detecting an anticipated long-term rate of decline in concentrations, and (2) estimating site-wide average concentration within a required accuracy. The procedure is easily adapted to address various design goals, to efficiently evaluate sampling frequencies (e.g., annual, biannual, or triannual), to address various media (e.g., decline in surface sediment concentrations after active remediation, or temporal changes in water quality across a large lake system), or to accommodate a stratified sampling design where certain known conditions vary spatially. In this manner, these procedures allow costs to be considered in the design, facilitating the balance between cost savings and the desired precision in the result. In the second part, we will illustrate how to apply the GRTS algorithm in R® to distribute samples in a spatially representative manner for a stratified random sampling design. This illustration will use surface sediment but can be applied to other media. An advantage of GRTS is that it yields better spatial balance in sample placement than simple random sampling design, especially for small sample populations. The GRTS program produces a spatially representative sampling design based on the number of required samples and user-supplied GIS shapefiles. A particularly favorable feature of GRTS is the ability to dynamically add new sample locations as some become inaccessible or fail to yield samples, while still maintaining a spatially representative sampling design. Thus, a GRTS sample design can be readily modified in response to changes in site conditions that affect the ability to collect samples, such as long-term water level decline, sediment erosion patterns, or loss of individual property access. This course will provide you with the statistical and sampling design tools to develop a robust and spatially representative long-term monitoring program, balancing cost and accuracy. Study objectives, spatial representativeness, accessibility, and safety can all be factored into a stable monitoring program for long-term evaluation. The design facilitates the collection of repeated measurements that avoids the need for re-configuration in the event of changes to the system beyond the designer’s control.



Short Course #3 Monitoring stream ecology: Field methods for assessing stream health and why we use them (outdoors)  This is an outdoor course and will take place at the White Clay State Park.  Please follow the link to get directions to the parking spot.  Our sampling will be in the creek which is a short walk from the parking lot.

Speaker: Don Nazario (Normandaeu Associates) and Dr. Dan Millemann (NJDEP)

State and federal agencies develop surface water quality standards that establish the policies, classifications, and surface water quality criteria necessary to protect surface waters based on their established designated uses. The federal Clean Water Act section 106 (e) (1) requires states receiving water grants to monitor the quality of their surface water, and many environmental remediation, construction, or discharge permits require certain stream conditions to be met or maintained throughout and/or after completion of the project or activity. Assessing stream health is a key component of regulatory standards as well as project specific requirements to protect designated uses and a number of tools have been developed to standardize stream health monitoring.

Freshwater Macroinvertebrate Sampling

Determining the health of a stream involves many factors which include including learning what is living inside the stream and identifying the types of organisms.  A benthic macroinvertebrate sampling or BMI is a great indicator of stream health.  Macroinvertebrate sampling is typically performed with a D-net and then using a 500µm sieve to sort out the organisms from the sediment and other debris.  This sampling is a quick, inexpensive way to capture a snapshot of a stream’s health.  If done over time you can develop a trend of improving or degrading stream health and help to indicate the presence (or absence) of pollutants in the stream.

A sampling location or reach should provide a representative picture of the stream’s macroinvertebrate community.  Looking for and sampling at riffles in the stream allow for the best diversity. Uncovering rocks and scrubbing the bottom help to produce a good sample. Depending on where you are sampling it is best to refer to the protocol for that State or region of the State to ensure reach length and number of sampling sites in each stream.

Sediment Sampling – Vibracoring (mini)

Sediment transport is common with winding streams that run through agricultural areas.  Also, a concern might be stormwater runoff from industrial areas upstream.  Determining the health of a stream should also take in consideration the sediment at the bottom and the sediment that may pass through a stream.  To sample sediment, typically a grab sampler can be used to obtain the top six inches or benthic region of the sediment.  A ponar or box sampler works fine with silty or sandy bottoms without too many rocks and debris.  For areas that have substantial sediment buildup, a core sample may be required to get a vertical characterization of the sediment.  Typically used for pre-dredged sediment assessments, vibracoring offers a quick and easy way to collect sediment cores.  Sediment vibracoring may require large generators and powered winches and cables to lower and raise the core into the water and sediment.  For small hard-to-reach areas a mini-vibracore was developed to sample cores form lakes, ponds, and streams.  Using a 3-inch core tube this unit is capable of sampling in soft unconsolidated silt, sediment, and mixed sands.  Rocks and woody debris will interfere with the core so site selection is important.

Many other metrics including habitat assessments, fish indices of biotic integrity, fish tissue monitoring, and chemical sampling for nutrients or pollutants are incorporated into programs that evaluate compliance for Clean Water Act requirements or state standards. In this short course attendees will be exposed to some of these metrics and get hands-on experience with macroinvertebrate collection, sediment sampling, and habitat assessments. The methods discussed here are key components to evaluating stream health and can be applied at by all those interested in biomonitoring or general stream ecology.




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