Maryland Biological Stream Survey
Training and Certification
Maryland Biological Stream Survey (MBSS) stream sampling protocols are currently required by some counties and state agencies. To accommodate these requirements, Maryland DNR offers five certifications and two training opportunities in MBSS protocols. The certifications include benthic macroinvertebrate sampling, benthic macroinvertebrate laboratory processing and subsampling, fish sampling, fish crew leader, and fish taxonomy. To be certified by DNR for benthic macroinvertebrate taxonomy, a Society for Freshwater Science (formerly known as the North American Benthological Society) certification, not offered by DNR, is required (http://www.nabstcp.com/).
Trainings are usually offered in late February (spring sampling) for benthic macroinvertebrate sampling and late May (summer sampling) for fish sampling, fish crew leader and fish taxonomy certifications.
Attendance at these trainings is a partial requirement for the three certifications. Passing field audits and written tests will be required, as well as passing additional tests and quality assurance procedures. Passing a laboratory audit and a written test will be required for benthic macroinvertebrate laboratory processing and subsampling certification.
- To be considered consistent with MBSS protocols, benthic macroinvertebrate data must be collected by a person certified in benthic macroinvertebrate sampling, the sample must be processed by an individual who is certified in laboratory processing and subsampling, and a person who is a certified Society for Freshwater Science certified taxonomist must perform the benthic macroinvertebrate taxonomy.
- To be considered consistent with MBSS protocols, the fish data must be collected by a crew led by a certified crew leader. Additionally, a certified fish taxonomist must identify the fish species collected by the crew.
- To maintain an active certification in benthic macroinvertebrate sampling, persons certified in 2013 must attend spring training in 2014.
After successful completion of a particular certification process, the certified person's name will be listed as being certified for that aspect of MBSS data collection in a registry on the MBSS website and provided upon request. An overview of certification requirements can be found HERE, and a Frequently Asked Questions for benthic macroinvertebrate and fish certifications can be found HERE and HERE, respectively.
While attending MBSS training is a requirement for certain certifications as described above, the training sessions will also cover additional aspects of MBSS field sampling beyond those included in each certification. Examples include crayfish, freshwater mussel, reptile, amphibian, and invasive plant taxonomy, physical habitat assessment, and frog calls. Although proficiency tests may be administered for these taxonomic groups, test performance in no way constitutes certification in survey methods at this time. However, DNR may consider adding certification for these other aspects of MBSS sampling at a later date.
Certification field audits must be conducted during the appropriate index period. Fish crew leader and fish taxonomy field audits must be completed June - September. Scheduling of field audits must be determined by the end of July.
The training and certification activities will be more effective if all crew members have an advanced understanding of protocols before the training actually occurs. We highly recommend that you review the MBSS Sampling Manual with your crew prior to training. A link to a downloadable version can be found HERE.
If you have any questions about registration, please feel free to contact Joanne Alewine (410) 260-8613; firstname.lastname@example.org. Receipts will be available at the training site.
If you have questions about MBSS training and certification or MBSS protocols, please contact either Scott Stranko (410-260-8603; email@example.com) or Dan Boward (410-260-8605; firstname.lastname@example.org).
Notes (UPDATED 12/28/2012):
- DNR will not accept checks for certification fees from individuals who register for benthic macroinvertebrate sampling, fish crew leader, or fish taxonomy certification until after the written tests administered at training have been passed. If the written test is passed, DNR will accept the check and the certification process will continue. If the written test is not passed, no payment is required.
- The FIRST actual site where data will be reported can potentially be used as an audit site by someone seeking benthic macroinvertebrate sampling, fish crew leader, or fish taxonomy certification, as long as the location and scheduling for the site is also agreeable to the DNR Quality Control Officer conducting the audit, and the audit takes place during the index period. Audits may be conducted either at a "regular" site (i.e., a site on the crew's sampling schedule) or at a muturally-agreed upon site convenient for both parties. It is important to note that, if the audit is not passed, the person will not be certified and DNR will be unable to document the quality of the data compared to data collected by a DNR crew. DNR will allow no more than one “resample” of a site audit if the person does not pass the first field audit.
NEW!! Detailed Physical and Nutrient Monitoring:
DNR provides training (not certification) on geomorphology, nutrient, and stream discharge sampling protocols. These protocols are being used to document changes to streams associated with restoration projects funded by the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund and could also be used with other restoration projects. This training provides an opportunity to begin using comparable protocols to document improvements in nutrient, sediment, and geomorphic properties of streams in Maryland. This training will be held at the Oregon Ridge Lodge (see above) on February 28th, 2013. There is no charge for this training but space is limited and registration will be held on a first come/first served basis. Detailed physical and nutrient monitoring protocols are available here. Questions regarding this special training session should be referred to Luke Roberson at (410) 260-8618; email@example.com.
PowerPoint Presentations for 2013 MBSS Training
Links refer to a .pdf version of the powerpoint file.
- MBSS Home
- Training Information
- List of MBSS Certifications
- MBSS Round 3 Report
- What is the MBSS?
- Meet the Biologists
- When does MBSS Sample Streams?
- Products and Applications
- Online Publications
- Statewide Fish Distribution
- MBSS Data Request
- The 2011 MD Stream Symposium and Mid-Atlantic Volunteer Monitoring Conference
- Check back soon!