Aquatic Health Program


The AHP focuses on research activities that measure the adverse impacts of chemical and physical stressors on aquatic organisms, and that identify dominant stressors. Many chemical and physical stressors affect the health of aquatic ecosystems. The sources of chemical contamination in California surface waters come from a variety of land use practices including industrial effluents, mining, dairy production, agriculture, and NPDES point source discharges. Physical stressors include habitat degradation, including high salinity, high temperature, oxygen depletion and excess sedimentation. In many instances, multiple stressors are present simultaneously.

No individual research method can simultaneously determine the effects of chemical and physical stressors on the aquatic communities. Therefore, the AHP utilizes several water quality assessment tools that complement one another to address specific research objectives. In addition, biomarker tools are now available to detect the sublethal effects of toxic contaminants. These tools, when combined, provide more “weight of evidence” to evaluate the health of aquatic ecosystems.

Our Commitment: For each project, the AHP is committed to producing quality results including strategic sampling plans, carefully executed research procedures, thorough statistical analyses and interpretive reports.