Bioassessment and Biocriteria Program Status for Mississippi: Streams and Wadeable Rivers
State Program Contact
Water Quality Standards
The link to Mississippi's WQS that are in effect for Clean Water Act purposes is provided. These are the WQS approved by EPA.
You may need a PDF reader to view some of the files on this page. Refer to EPA’s about PDF page to learn more.
Designated Aquatic Life Uses
The state of Mississippi has 5 Waterbody Classification categories including: Fish and Wildlife Support, Recreation, Public Water Supply, Shellfish Harvesting, and Ephemeral Stream. All State Waters are classified as Fish and Wildlife Support. Waters classified as Fish and Wildlife Support should support the designated uses of aquatic life use, fish consumption, and secondary contact recreation.
The classifications of Recreation, Public Water Supply, or Shellfish Harvesting may be assigned to waters in addition to the Fish and Wildlife Classification. Ephemeral Waters are waters that do not support a fisheries resource and are not usable for human consumption or aquatic life. Ephemeral streams normally are natural watercourses, including natural watercourses that have been modified by channelization or a manmade drainage ditch, that without the contribution of point source discharges, flow only in direct response to precipitation or irrigation return-water discharge in the immediate vicinity and whose channels are normally above the groundwater table.
__X__ Narrative statement
_____ No criteria
What biological assemblages are used in the bioassessment program?
Are bioassessments used to support 303(d) listings?
Yes. Listing Methodology: Mississippi Consolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology 2020 Assessment and Listing Cycle (PDF)(19 pp, 492 K)
How are assemblages used to make impairment decisions?
If an MBISQ sample score is below the 25th percentile of reference for the bioregion in which the station is located, the waterbody is considered impaired. The waterbody is added to the 303(d) List for biological impairment. The Stressor ID/Causal Analysis process is then used to identify the primary probable stressors to be used for subsequent TMDL development.
Other uses of biocriteria or bioassessment within the water quality program:
Non-point source assessments, 305(b) surface water condition assessments, and BMP evaluation
Technical Support Information and Documents:
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) uses a benthic macroinvertebrate multimetric index to assess stream degradation relative to least-disturbed streams throughout the state.
Technical reference material:
Surface Water Quality Assessments
Stressor identification/causal analysis approach:
Data from co-occurring biological and water quality samples are used for the stressor identification and causal analysis efforts. Also, additional recon sampling is done after an impairment call is made to further evaluate the decision(s).