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Bioassessment and Biocriteria Program Status for Massachusetts: Streams and Wadeable Rivers

State Program Contact

Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Water Resources Reports, Plans, and Data Exit

Water Quality Standards

WQS Information
The link to Massachusetts' WQS that are in effect for Clean Water Act purposes is provided. These are the WQS approved by EPA.
The state of Massachusetts provided information and links to sections of their administrative code on designated aquatic life use, biological criteria, antidegradation as well as technical support documents and information on its bioassessment and biocriteria programs. These are included for your convenience and may or may not reflect the most recently EPA approved WQS. The following links exit the site Exit

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Designated Aquatic Life Uses
Cold water/warm water in progress

Biological Criteria
__X__ Narrative statement
_____ Numeric
_____ No criteria

Antidegradation Policy
Use of Biocriteria or bioassessments not included in antidegradation policy.

Biological Assessment

What biological assemblages are used in the bioassessment program?
Benthic macroinvertebrates, fish, and periphyton; eel grass for estuarine/coastal

Are bioassessments used to support 303(d) listings?
Yes. Listing Methodology: Massachusetts Consolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology (CALM) Guidance (PDF) (108 pp, 4 MB) July 2016

How are assemblages used to make impairment decisions?
Described in the CALM (PDF) (108 pp, 4 MB)

Other uses of biocriteria or bioassessments within the water quality program:
Refining ALU, TMDL development and assessment, antidegradation, non-point source assessments, and 305(b) surface water condition assessments

Technical Support Information and Documents:

Reference condition:
A human disturbance index (HDI) was developed based on USGS landscape analyses done for Massachusetts watersheds.

Not available.

Stressor identification/causal analysis approach:
Causal analysis

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