Physical and chemical stressor guidance
[The fact sheets and guideline packages from Volume 2 of the ANZECC & ARMCANZ (2000) guidelines are being updated for currency and should be available soon]
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A number of naturally occurring physical and chemical (PC) stressors can cause serious degradation of aquatic ecosystems when ambient values are too high or too low. Fact sheets on key physical and chemical measurements provided in the ANZECC & ARMCANZ (2000) guidelines contained information on the indicator (aspect of water quality measured), stressor and effect of the stressor (issue). For each issue, guideline packages were provided rather than simplistic threshold numbers for single indicators.
Facts sheets are available for:
- dissolved oxygen
- turbidity and suspended particulate matter
- optical properties
- environmental flows
Guideline packages consist of key performance indicators, guideline values and, where appropriate, a protocol for considering the effect of ecosystem-specific modifiers in reducing the biological effects. The packages help managers estimate whether low, possible or high risk exists at their sites, as well as providing them with a means of refining default guideline values.
Guideline packages address these issues:
- nuisance growth of aquatic plants (eutrophication)
- lack of dissolved oxygen (asphyxiation of respiring organisms)
- excess suspended particulate matter (smothering of benthic organisms, inhibition of primary production)
- unnatural change in salinity (change in biological diversity)
- unnatural change in temperature (change in biological diversity)
- unnatural change in pH (change in biological diversity)
- poor optical properties of waterbodies (reduction in photosynthesis; change in predator–prey relationships)
- unnatural flow (inhibition of migration; associated temperature modification of spawning; changes in estuarine productivity).