During and after construction of Appalachian Corridor G, a divided, four-lane highway, five benthic invertebrate samples were collected at each of four sites on Turtle Creek, and, for comparative purposes, three samples were collected at each of two sites on Lick Creek, an adjacent undisturbed stream. Diversity index, generic count, and total count initially indicated severe depletion or destruction of the benthos of Turtle Creek, but, within 1 year after highway construction was completed, the benthic community of Turtle Creek was similar to that of Lick Creek. The greatest degradation occurred near the headwaters of Turtle Creek because of erratic movement of sediment resulting from high streamflow velocity. Diversity indices ranged from 0 to 3.41 near the headwaters in the original channel, but only from 0.94 to 2.42 farther downstream in a freshly cut channel. The final samples from Turtle Creek, which were similar to those taken from Lick Creek at the same time, had generic counts of 10 at the most upstream site and 16 near the mouth. A total of 147 organisms was found near the headwaters, whereas a total of 668 was found near the mouth of the stream. The total number of organisms collected at each site was proportional to the drainage area upstream from the site. As a result of tributary inflow from unaltered drainage areas and organism drift, rapid repopulation and stabilization of the benthic community occurred. Channel relocation, bank recontouring, and reseeding also accelerated the recovery of the benthic community.
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USGS Numbered Series
Stress and recovery of aquatic organisms as related to highway construction along Turtle Creek, Boone County, West Virginia