Central Plains Center for Bioassessment

EMAP-Great Rivers Reference Condition Research on the Missouri River in Kansas

Don Huggins boldly takes his 100th macroinvertebrate kick sample as Geoff Warlick cheers him on, near Atchison, KS.
Date January 2006 - December 2008
Contact Debbie Baker
Location Missouri River along the Kansas border


The Great Rivers of North America, including the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio Rivers, account for a large proportion of the available water resources within the United States and are disproportionately impaired. Nonpoint source pollution from agriculture, alterations of hydrological patterns, reductions in floodplain quality and quantity, and invasive species are some of the many disturbances that threaten the integrity of Great River Ecosystems (GRE) (Benke, 1990; Karr and Chu, 2000; Justic et al., 2003). Relative to other aquatic habitats such as wadeable steams and lakes, limited effort has been directed towards the development of bioassessment tools for great rivers. Consequently, effective bioassessment tools must first be developed and demonstrated for these important ecosystems before local, regional, or national assessment programs can be designed and implemented (McDonald et al., 2004).

To assist with this effort, the Central Plains Center for BioAssessment (CPCB) sampled 8 Lower Missouri River reference sites using Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program – Great River Ecosystems (EMAP-GRE) protocols (Angradi et al. 2006). From a 500-m reach at each site we measured habitat parameters and collected water chemistry, sediment, periphyton, and macroinvertebrates, and fish, and continued to collect fish at an additional 500-m reach.

Don Huggins boldly takes his 100th macroinvertebrate kick sample as Geoff Warlick cheers him on, near Atchison, KS.

Alex Bartlett joyfully drives the boat down the Mighty Mo.

Additional Macroinvertebrate Collections
We are in the process of identifying the macroinvertebrate collected for a special study within this project. The current EMAP-GRE protocols include sampling macroinvertebrates in two habitats using two methodologies: 1) near-shore littoral areas with a kick net and 2) main channel snags by boat with a modified kick net (Angradi et al., 2006). In order to compare variability in samples collected using these two methodologies the CPCB collected additional samples at each site after the completion of all littoral GRE-EMAP sampling procedures.


Available through EPA.

Analysis, Results, or Reports

Baker, D.S. and D.G. Huggins. 2010. Comparison of snag and shoreline macroinvertebrate samples - A bioassessment of the Missouri River. Open-file Report No. 161. Kansas Biological Survey, Lawrence, KS. 16 pp. --DRAFT--

Also visit the EPA website.

Maps, Images, or Photos

Map of the reaches from Blair, NE to the Kansas border (pdf).


Donald Huggins

Andy Dzialowski

Debbie Baker

James H. Thorp