Changes in biological communities of the Fountain Creek Basin, Colorado, 2003–2016, in relation to antecedent streamflow, water quality, and habitat

Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5162
Prepared in cooperation with the City of Colorado Springs, Water Resources Engineering Division, Public Works Department and Colorado Springs Utilities
By: , and 

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Abstract

The analysis described in this report is part of a longterm project monitoring the biological communities, habitat, and water quality of the Fountain Creek Basin. Biology, habitat, and water-quality data have been collected at 10 sites since 2003. These data include annual samples of aquatic invertebrate communities, fish communities, water quality, and quantitative riverine habitat. This report examines trends in biological communities from 2003 to 2016 and explores relationships between biological communities and abiotic variables (antecedent streamflow, physical habitat, and water quality). Six biological metrics (three invertebrate and three fish) and four individual fish species were used to examine trends in these data and how streamflow, habitat, and (or) water quality may explain these trends. The analysis of 79 trends shows that the majority of significant trends decreased over the trend period. Overall, 19 trends before adjustments for streamflow in the fish (12) and invertebrate (7) metrics were all decreasing except for the metric Invertebrate Species Richness at the most upstream site in Monument Creek. Seven of these trends were explained by streamflow and four trends were revealed that were originally masked by variability in antecedent streamflow. Only two sites (Jimmy Camp Creek at Fountain, CO and Fountain Creek near Pinon, CO) had no trends in the fish or invertebrate metrics. Ten of the streamflow-adjusted trends were explained by habitat, one was explained by water quality, and five were not explained by any of the variables that were tested. Overall, from 2003 to 2016, all the fish metric trends were decreasing with an average decline of 40 percent, and invertebrate metrics decreased on average by 9.5 percent. A potential peak streamflow threshold was identified above which there is severely limited production of age-0 flathead chub (Platygobio gracilis).

Suggested Citation

Roberts, J.J., Bruce, J.F., and Zuellig, R.E., 2018, Changes in biological communities of the Fountain Creek Basin, Colorado, 2003–2016, in relation to antecedent streamflow, water quality, and habitat: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5162, 20 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175162.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Study Methods
  • Data Processing
  • Data Analysis
  • Changes in Biological Communities of Fountain Creek Basin
  • Major Findings
  • Future Directions
  • Summary
  • References Cited

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Changes in biological communities of the Fountain Creek Basin, Colorado, 2003–2016, in relation to antecedent streamflow, water quality, and habitat
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2017-5162
DOI 10.3133/sir20175162
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Colorado Water Science Center
Description Report: vi, 20 p.; Data Release
Country United States
State Colorado
Other Geospatial Fountain Creek Basin
Online Only (Y/N) Y