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Influences of watershed, riparian-corridor, and reach-scale characteristics on aquatic biota in agricultural watersheds

Journal of the American Water Resources Association

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Abstract

Multivariate analyses and correlations revealed strong relations between watershed and riparian-corridor land cover, and reach-scale habitat versus fish and macroinvertebrate assemblages in 38 warmwater streams in eastern Wisconsin. Watersheds were dominated by agricultural use, and ranged in size from 9 to 71 km2. Watershed land cover was summarized from satellite-derived data for the area outside a 30-m buffer. Riparian land cover was interpreted from digital orthophotos within 10-, 10- to 20-, and 20- to 30-m buffers. Reach-scale habitat, fish, and macroinvertebrates were collected in 1998 and biotic indices calculated. Correlations between land cover, habitat, and stream-quality indicators revealed significant relations at the watershed, riparian-corridor, and reach scales. At the watershed scale, fish diversity, intolerant fish and EPT species increased, and Hilsenhoff biotic index (HBI) decreased as percent forest increased. At the riparian-corridor scale, EPT species decreased and HBI increased as riparian vegetation became more fragmented. For the reach, EPT species decreased with embeddedness. Multivariate analyses further indicated that riparian (percent agriculture, grassland, urban and forest, and fragmentation of vegetation), watershed (percent forest) and reach-scale characteristics (embeddedness) were the most important variables influencing fish (IBI, density, diversity, number, and percent tolerant and insectivorous species) and macroinvertebrate (HBI and EPT) communities.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Influences of watershed, riparian-corridor, and reach-scale characteristics on aquatic biota in agricultural watersheds
Series title:
Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Volume
37
Issue:
6
Year Published:
2001
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of the American Water Resources Association
First page:
1475
Last page:
1487