Department of Environmental Sciences,
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 4000123, Clark Hall, Charlottesville, VA 22903
Rick Webb, VTSSS Project Coordinator; 540-468-2881 or 540-290-0913 (c); firstname.lastname@example.org
Frank Deviney, VTSSS Data Manager; 434-924-7817 or 434-409-4686 (c); email@example.com
Suzanne Maben, VTSSS Laboratory Manager; 434-924-0589 or 434-989-0142 (c); firstname.lastname@example.org
Marcia Woolman, Trout Unlimited VTSSS Collection Coordinator
540-253-5545 or 540-270-8081; email@example.com
Steve Ferris: 304-325-2196; firstname.lastname@example.org
Chubby Damron: 434-882-3477; email@example.com
Graham Simmerman: 540-574-7865; firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Daniels: 703-594-3026; email@example.com
Sample Collection Coordinators (see Volunteer Sign-Up Table for site assignments)
The Virginia Trout Stream Sensitivity Study (VTSSS) is designed to track the effects of acidic deposition and other factors that determine water quality and related ecological conditions in Virginia’s native trout streams.
The VTSSS 2010 survey will be the third regional survey conducted with the assistance of Trout Unlimited and other volunteer organizations. Previous surveys were conducted in 1987 and 2000. Following the first survey, a geographically distributed subset of streams was selected for long-term monitoring. This component of VTSSS now includes 67 streams that have been sampled on a seasonal (quarterly) basis for 24 years.
Stream water samples collected through the VTSSS program are analyzed for pH, acid neutralizing capacity, and the major dissolved ions.
The current plan for VTSSS is to:
(1) maintain quarterly data collection at representative long-term monitoring sites to support research and trend analysis, and
(2) periodically conduct regional sampling surveys of the larger population of streams to provide context and assessment capability.
The 2010 survey will establish a decadal time-frame for VTSSS regional sampling. About 458 stream sites will be sampled in 34 counties, representing most of the mountain headwater streams in Virginia that support reproducing brook trout.
Over the years since program inception, VTSSS data and findings have proven important to both local resource management and to the development, evaluation, and implementation of national air pollution control policies.
The 2010 survey will be conducted during the last seven days of April 2010. Volunteer sample collectors are needed. If you would like to help, please go to the Sign-Up Table by following the link at top of this page. The stream sites to be sampled are listed by county. Contact the identified Sample Collection Coordinators to sign-up for sites that have not been assigned.
Additional links provide instructions for sample collectors, county maps showing the distribution of sampling sites, an example of detailed site location information, project contacts, and a list of publications related to the VTSSS program and the co-managed Shenandoah Watershed Study.
Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
VTSSS-2010 Survey Results close
VTSSS-2010 Survey Results
Rick Webb, Results Presentation
PDF - 3 mb
Chemical Changes in Virginia's
Brook Trout Streams: An Analysis
of Statewide Surveys 1987-2010
Janet Miller, MS Thesis
PDF - 5.6 mb
A PDF based on a PowerPoint presented to the Sample Collection Coordinators. It provides background information on the VTSSS 2010 project and sample collection, including a set of slides depicting the sample collection procedure.
North Creek, Botetourt County
An example of the Site Location Reports, which proivde site descriptions, travel directions, maps, and photographs. These reports will be included with the Site Information and Record Folders provided to sample collectors for each site.
Collection Record Form
A copy of the record form provided for each site.
Following the decade of acidic deposition study leading to passage of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments it was recognized that the central Appalachian region was one of the areas most affected by acidic deposition and the one area most likely to experience further surface water acidification. Subsequent research and monitoring conducted through the VTSSS and other programs has shown this to be the case. - -
Important findings for Virginia mountain streams include the following:
Stream water acidification is a continuing problem in Virginia’s forested mountain watersheds. Despite recent decreases in acidic deposition, and evidence for recovery in other regions, chronic stream acidification continues on a regional basis in western Virginia.
Model forecasts indicate that current air pollution reduction programs will be insufficient to achieve recovery and prevent further stream acidification. Reductions in acidic deposition anticipated for implementation of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 will not achieve recovery from stream acidification in the western Virginia region.
Sulfur deposition drives the acidification process in Virginia mountain streams. Western Virginia consistently receives among the highest levels of sulfur deposition in the U.S., and atmospherically derived sulfate has become the major dissolved ion in many of the region’s streams. The impact of acidic deposition has been partly delayed by retention of sulfate in watershed soils. The impact will increase as soil retention capacity is exhausted.
Geology accounts for much of the variation in stream response to acidic deposition. Stream acidification effects are greatest in watersheds associated with base-poor sandstone and quartzite bedrock, which include one-third to one-half of the watersheds in Virginia that support native brook trout. Stream acidification effects are less in watersheds associated with other bedrock types, such as basalt and limestone.
The depletion of base material (e.g., calcium and magnesium) in watershed soils is a long-term effect of acidic deposition. The low base supply in soils associated with base-poor bedrock has been further reduced by acidic deposition and past land use, including farming and timber harvest. The loss of soil bases, which provide acid neutralization capacity in streams and serve as forest nutrients, is essentially irreversible.
The distribution of aquatic life in Virginia's mountain streams is closely related to the acid-base chemistry of stream water. Streams with lower ph and acid neutralizing capacity have fewer species of fish and aquatic insects than less-acidic streams Species loss has been observed in streams that have been studied over time.
Sign-Up Table list of stream sites by county
ALL SITES ARE NOW ASSIGNED - Thanks to all who have volunteered.
The Sign-Up Table lists all of the VTSSS 2010 survey stream sites by county. The Collection Coordinator for each site is identified, as well as the collector status of each site. Sites for which collectors have already been identified are indicated as "ASSIGNED."
If you are interested and able to serve as a volunteer collector during the survey window, April 24-30, 2010, check the table to see if stream sites you may be interested in sampling are still unassigned. Then contact the Sample Collection Coordinator for the sites. The Sample Collection Coordinators' contact information is on page 12 at the end of the table.
Information about the sampling materials and procedures can be accessed by clicking on the Sample Collection link above. The general location of the stream sampling sites can be determined by clicking on the Site Maps link above. Detailed site location information, including site descriptions, travel directions, maps, and photographs will be provided to sample collectors by the Sample Collection Coordinators.
Current and Projected Status of Fish Communities in the Southeastern U.S. in the context of Continued Acidic Deposition: Report for Trout Unlimited, 1998
Acidic Deposition and the Status of Virginia's Wild Trout Resource, Revisited: VTSSS report presented at Wild Trout VII, 2003
Response of Surface Water Chemistry to the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990: EPA report on changes in the chemistry of stream waters in the eastern U.S., 2003
Are Brook Trout Streams in Western Virginia and Shenandoah National Park Recovering from Acidification: Environmental Science and Technology, 2004
Effects of Acidic Deposition on Aquatic Resources in the Central Appalachian Mountains: Shenandoah Watershed Study report, 2004
Acidic Deposition Impacts on Natural Resources in Shenandoah National Park: Report for National Park Service, 2006
Spatial Distribution of Acid-sensitive and Acid-impacted Streams in Relation to Watershed Features in the Southern Appalachian Mountains: Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 2007
Acid Rain and Related Programs, 2008 Environmental Results: EPA Acid Rain Program report, 2009