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Water Quality Resource Assessment (NRCS-NEDC-000042)


This course provides intermediate training in water quality assessment tools and technology in order to understand the impacts of pollutants on water quality.  The course includes an introduction to stream dynamics and discusses the ecology of streams, lakes and ponds. The course introduces participants to water quality assessment tools from the National Water and Climate Center:  Stream Visual Assessment Protocol and A Procedure to Estimate the Response of Aquatic Systems To Changes in Phosphorus and Nitrogen Inputs.  It also instructs participants on how to use the NRCS Water Quality Indicator’s Guide to assess water quality and then to identify upland sources of agricultural pollutants.  An integral part of the course is the identification of benthic macro invertebrates as water quality indicators.  Finally, the course demonstrates using the assessment tools and knowledge gained through the class to discuss the NRCS Conservation Planning Process to develop water quality plans.



Upon completion of this training, participants will be able to:

  • Explain  the impact of common pollutants on water quality and habitats;
  • Use  water quality assessment tools to evaluate water quality and stream corridor habitat;
  • Use macro-invertebrate identification as indicators of stream water quality;
  • Analyze the effects of pollutants on benthic macro-invertebrates;
  • Evaluate water quality concerns in resource management planning process; and
  • Recommend appropriate water quality Best Management Practices for agricultural pollutants.


A basic knowledge of resource planning

The NEDC course, Introduction to Water Quality


3½ days

Target Audience

This course is targeted to watershed coordinators, employees who work with riparian landowners, and NRCS employees who need to understand water assessment tools.

The NRCS welcomes our conservation partners that desire to participate in this course.  However, enrollment will depend on the availability of space.

NEDC Contact

Jacquelyn Drake

Technical Specialist

Dean Krehbiel


Go to AgLearn to request enrollment in Water Quality Resource Assessment (NRCS-NEDC-000042).