Introduction to the Aquatic Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring Framework

In this video, we will be discussing the
aquatic component of the Bureau of Land Management’s Assessment, Inventory, and
Monitoring or AIM Strategy. For to successfully manage public land in
accordance with their mission and other policy, it is essential to monitor and
assess the condition of landscapes it is managing. For much of the BLM’s history,
different techniques, tools, methods, and data sources were used inefficiently for
monitoring and assessment and were not standardized across the entire agency. In
a government directive to increase the effectiveness and standardization of
data, the BLM created the Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring Strategy or AIM for terrestrial and aquatic systems. The AIM
Strategy relies on four key principles: standardized quantitative core
indicators and field sampling methods, the use of appropriate designs to
monitor resources, integration of remote sensing technologies, and electronic data
capture and data management plans. For the rest of this video we will go
through applications of each of the four principles to Aquatic AIM. Aquatic AIM indicators were selected to be applicable across a wide range of ecosystems and uses. Indicators assess components of water quality, watershed function, and in-stream habitat quality, and biodiversity and riparian habitat
quality. Additionally, indicators were selected to
maximize compatibility with already existing monitoring data and programs
across agencies. This is a table detailing the protocols compatibility to
other loaded sampling protocols such as MIM, AREMP, and PIBO. More information on
indicator selection can be found in Technical Reference 1735-1. The Aquatic
AIM indicators consist of 11 core indicators that are representative of a
consistent quantitative approach for determining the success of BLM land
health standards for streams and rivers. There are six
covariates to assist in interpreting the core indicator data, seven contingent
indicators are suggested but should only be collected in areas where they relate
to management questions, the collection of supplemental indicators is highly
encouraged for specific and localized management questions. Technical Reference
1735-2: The AIM National Aquatic Monitoring Framework Field Protocol for
Wadeable Lotic Systems as a detailed protocol to collect all data associated
with Aquatic AIM core, covariate, and contingent indicators. If you are
collecting data, make sure you have this protocol with you at all times during
field sampling. Aquatic AIM methods have been implemented widely across the BLM. Pilot projects for Aquatic AIM started in 2011 and 2012 in Utah and Northern
California. This was followed in 2013 by the Western Rivers and Stream Assessment
which sought to determine the baseline condition of BLM streams throughout the
West. In 2016, States, Districts, and Field Offices started collecting more AIM
data for local scale uses. Additionally, the Western Rivers and Stream Assessment
will be repeated starting in 2019 to assess trends at a national scale. Each
of these projects has used an appropriate sample design which can
include randomly selected points as well as targeted monitoring locations. For
more information on appropriate design selection and use, see the AIM website and
the Aquatic Site Scouting and Design Management Protocol. The integration of
remote sensing technologies with Aquatic AIM is currently being developed to help
understand flow permanence and streams and to better understand specific site
potential. Field crews collect data on iPads using SARAH, the Stream and River
Assessment Hub App, and data is subsequently ingested into AquADat, the
public and BLM Aquatic AIM database. AIM data can be found at this web address. Electronic data capture allows real-time
QA/QC checks to be implemented in the field, prevents transcription errors, and
allows easy standardized permanent storage of all kinds of aim data
including photos and GPS coordinates. Additionally, standard QA/QC and data
management practices are detailed in the Aquatic Data Management and SARAH
Protocol. Structured implementation is the backbone of the AIM Strategy and
each of the core principles addresses pieces of this. The AIM Strategy has led to
high-quality, consistent data across the BLM, and data has been used to address a
range of applications including grazing permit renewals, treatment effectiveness,
and baseline condition assessments. For more information and to consult
documents and protocols visit the AIM website at For additional assistance you can contact The National AIM Team. The National AIM Team provides assistance to individuals implementing Aquatic AIM or using
Aquatic AIM data, and is composed of a team of aquatic ecologist at the BLM’s
National Operations Center in Denver, Colorado, and at the National Aquatic
Monitoring Center at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. This is the end of the AIM Introduction. Please contact the National AIM Team for additional AIM

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