Twenty-eight sites along the Wasatch Front, north central Utah, representing the range ot urban land use intensity for wadeable streams of the area, were sampled in September 2000. Fish communities were assessed by single-pass electrofishing, and physical habitat and water-quality characteristics were measured. On average, nonnative species comprised 54% of species richness and 53% of relative abundance, although only Salmo trutta and Pimephales promelas were very abundant at any 1 site. Salmo trutta and Catostomus platyrhynchus, a native species, were the most widely distributed and abundant species captured. Analysis of fish communities using nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) revealed a community gradient from sites dominated by Salmo trutta and Cottus species (C. bairdi, C. beldingi) to sites dominated by Catostomus platyrhynchus. Sites dominated by C. platyrhynchus were smaller in size and had less habitat cover, smaller average substrate size, higher concentrations of dissolved constituents, and higher water temperature than sites dominated by S. trutta. Sites dominated by C. platyrhynchus were located in more intensely urbanized watersheds at lower elevations. Stream size and associated instream habitat availability appear to limit S. trutta distribution and abundance, while native species appear more tolerant of decreased water quality and increased water temperatures in more urbanized streams. Most of the study sites are affected by development of water infrastructure for human water use (e.g., dams and diversions), and this infrastructure may play a role in dispersal of species.
Additional publication details
Relation of fish communities to environmental conditions in urban streams of the Wasatch Front, Utah