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Title: Response of fish and macroinvertebrate bioassessment indices to water chemistry in a mined Appalachian watershed

Abstract

Multimetric indices based on fish and benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages are commonly used to assess the biological integrity of aquatic ecosystems. However, their response to specific stressors is rarely known. We quantified the response of a fish-based index (Mid-Atlantic Highlands Index of Biotic Integrity, MAH-IBI) and a benthic invertebrate-based index (West Virginia Stream Condition Index, WV-SCI) to acid mine drainage (AMD)-related stressors in 46 stream sites within the Cheat River watershed, West Virginia. We also identified specific stressor concentrations at which biological impairment was always or never observed. Water chemistry was extremely variable among tributaries of the Cheat River, and the WV-SCI was highly responsive across a range of AMD stressor levels. Furthermore, impairment to macroinvertebrate communities was observed at relatively low stressor concentrations, especially when compared to state water quality standards. In contrast to the WV-SCI, we found that the MAH-IBI was significantly less responsive to local water quality conditions. Low fish diversity was observed in several streams that possessed relatively good water quality. This pattern was especially pronounced in highly degraded subwatersheds, suggesting that regional conditions may have a strong influence on fish assemblages in this system. Our results indicate that biomonitoring programs in mined watersheds should include bothmore » benthic invertebrates, which are consistent indicators of local conditions, and fishes, which may be indicators of regional conditions. In addition, remediation programs must address the full suite of chemical constituents in AMD and focus on improving linkages among streams within drainage networks to ensure recovery of invertebrate and fish assemblages.« less

Authors:
;  [1]
  1. West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV (United States). Division of Forestry and Natural Resources
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
20969856
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Management; Journal Volume: 39; Journal Issue: 5
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
01 COAL, LIGNITE, AND PEAT; ACID MINE DRAINAGE; USA; WEST VIRGINIA; RIVERS; WATER CHEMISTRY; WATERSHEDS; ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS; COAL MINING; MINING; WATER QUALITY; FISHES; BIOLOGICAL STRESS; SPECIES DIVERSITY; INVERTEBRATES; BIOLOGICAL EFFECTS; APPALACHIAN BASIN; STREAMS

Citation Formats

Freund, Jason, and Petty, J. Response of fish and macroinvertebrate bioassessment indices to water chemistry in a mined Appalachian watershed. United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.1007/s00267-005-0116-3.
Freund, Jason, & Petty, J. Response of fish and macroinvertebrate bioassessment indices to water chemistry in a mined Appalachian watershed. United States. doi:10.1007/s00267-005-0116-3.
Freund, Jason, and Petty, J. Tue . "Response of fish and macroinvertebrate bioassessment indices to water chemistry in a mined Appalachian watershed". United States. doi:10.1007/s00267-005-0116-3.
@article{osti_20969856,
title = {Response of fish and macroinvertebrate bioassessment indices to water chemistry in a mined Appalachian watershed},
author = {Freund, Jason and Petty, J.},
abstractNote = {Multimetric indices based on fish and benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages are commonly used to assess the biological integrity of aquatic ecosystems. However, their response to specific stressors is rarely known. We quantified the response of a fish-based index (Mid-Atlantic Highlands Index of Biotic Integrity, MAH-IBI) and a benthic invertebrate-based index (West Virginia Stream Condition Index, WV-SCI) to acid mine drainage (AMD)-related stressors in 46 stream sites within the Cheat River watershed, West Virginia. We also identified specific stressor concentrations at which biological impairment was always or never observed. Water chemistry was extremely variable among tributaries of the Cheat River, and the WV-SCI was highly responsive across a range of AMD stressor levels. Furthermore, impairment to macroinvertebrate communities was observed at relatively low stressor concentrations, especially when compared to state water quality standards. In contrast to the WV-SCI, we found that the MAH-IBI was significantly less responsive to local water quality conditions. Low fish diversity was observed in several streams that possessed relatively good water quality. This pattern was especially pronounced in highly degraded subwatersheds, suggesting that regional conditions may have a strong influence on fish assemblages in this system. Our results indicate that biomonitoring programs in mined watersheds should include both benthic invertebrates, which are consistent indicators of local conditions, and fishes, which may be indicators of regional conditions. In addition, remediation programs must address the full suite of chemical constituents in AMD and focus on improving linkages among streams within drainage networks to ensure recovery of invertebrate and fish assemblages.},
doi = {10.1007/s00267-005-0116-3},
journal = {Environmental Management},
number = 5,
volume = 39,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue May 15 00:00:00 EDT 2007},
month = {Tue May 15 00:00:00 EDT 2007}
}