Historic, current, and future oil and natural gas development can affect water quality in streams flowing through developed areas. We compared small stream drainages in a semi-arid landscape with varying amounts of disturbance from oil and natural gas development to examine potential effects of this development on surface water quality. We used physical, chemical, and biological approaches to assess water quality and found several potential avenues of degradation. Surface disturbance likely contributed to elevated suspended sediment concentrations and spill history likely led to elevated stream polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon concentrations. In combination, these environmental stressors could explain the loss of sensitive aquatic macroinvertebrate groups at sites highly affected by oil and natural gas development. Our results provide insight into advantages and disadvantages of approaches for assessing surface water quality in areas affected by oil and natural gas development.