Data were gathered from May through October 2003 at 38 randomly selected sites in the Upper Wabash River Basin, Indiana, for algal biomass, habitat, nutrients, and biological communities (fish and invertebrates). Basin characteristics (drainage area and land use) and biological-community attributes and metric scores were determined for each sampling site's basin. Yearly Principal Components Analysis site scores were calculated for algal biomass (periphyton and seston). The yearly Principal Components Analysis site scores for the first axis (PC1) were related, using Spearman's rho, to the seasonal algal-biomass, basin-characteristics, habitat, seasonal nutrient, biological-community attribute and metric score data.
The periphyton PC1 site score, which was most influenced by September chlorophyll a, was not related to the five basin-characteristics, nine habitat, or 12 nutrient variables examined. Of the 43 fish-community attributes and metric scores examined, the periphyton PC1 was negatively related to one attribute (tolerant percent) and positively related to one metric score (insectivore percent metric score). Of the 43 invertebrate-community attributes and metric scores examined, the periphyton PC1 was negatively related to three attributes (Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera (EPT) count, EPT-to-total ratio, and number of taxa) and four metric scores (EPT count metric score, EPT to total ratio metric score, macroinvertebrate Index of Biotic Integrity metric score, and number of taxa metric score). The seston PC1 was not related to the five basin-characteristics, nine habitat, or 12 nutrient variables or to the 43 fish- and 21 invertebrate-community attributes or metric scores examined.
To understand how the choice of sampling sites might have affected the results, an analysis of the drainage area and land use was done. The random site selection in 2003 in the Upper Wabash River Basin was skewed to small streams. The lack of large streams in the Upper Wabash River Basin could account for the few relations among the seston and the biological-community data.
The values for nutrients (nitrate, total Kjeldahl nitrogen, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus) and chlorophyll a (periphyton and seston) were compared to published U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) values for Aggregate Nutrient Ecoregions VI and VII and USEPA Level III Ecoregions 55 and 56. Several nutrient values were greater than the 25th percentile of the published USEPA values. Chlorophyll a (periphyton and seston) values either were greater than the 25th percentile of published USEPA values or extended data ranges in the Aggregate Nutrient and Level III Ecoregions. If the proposed values for the 25th percentile were adopted as nutrient water-quality criteria, many samples in the Upper Wabash River Basin would have exceeded the criteria.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Relations of Principal Components Analysis Site Scores to Algal-Biomass, Habitat, Basin-Characteristics, Nutrient, and Biological-Community Data in the Upper Wabash River Basin, Indiana, 2003