Scuds (Gammaridae) and Darters (Percidae) Dominate Aquatic Communities in a Stream Exhibiting Levels of Specific Conductance Exceeding 4,000 µS/cm
International Journal of Environmental Monitoring and Analysis
Volume 6, Issue 2, April 2018, Pages: 47-52
Received: Apr. 23, 2018;
Accepted: May 8, 2018;
Published: May 28, 2018
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William Griffiths Kimmel, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, California University of Pennsylvania, California, USA
David Gordon Argent, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, California University of Pennsylvania, California, USA
Surface and underground extraction of coal has degraded many landscapes throughout the Appalachian region of the United States. The deleterious effects on steam biota of untreated acidic drainages high in heavy metals from active and abandoned sites have been well-documented. Mitigation strategies frequently include the addition of strong neutralizing agents in order to elevate pH and precipitate toxic metals. The resulting effluents exhibit high concentrations of sulfates, chlorides, carbonates, and other ions which can markedly raise the specific conductance of receiving streams. However, the impacts of such inputs on stream ecosystems are not well-studied. This study documents one such case, Whiteley Creek, a Monongahela River tributary in southwestern Pennsylvania, which receives treated effluents producing in-stream conductivity values in excess of 4,000 µS/cm. Fish and macroinvertebrate communities were sampled at ten sites from its headwaters to its Monongahela River confluence exhibiting conductivity values ranging from 2,400 – 5,400 µS/cm. Specific conductance showed no relationship to taxonomic richness of either community; however fish abundance declined with increasing conductivity, while macroinvertebrates increased. Extant communities dominated by tolerant taxa resulted in low macroinvertebrate and fish Indices of Biotic Integrity scores indicative of community stress. This study underscores the importance of biomonitoring and bioassessment of streams receiving effluents of chemically-treated acid mine drainages.
William Griffiths Kimmel,
David Gordon Argent,
Scuds (Gammaridae) and Darters (Percidae) Dominate Aquatic Communities in a Stream Exhibiting Levels of Specific Conductance Exceeding 4,000 µS/cm, International Journal of Environmental Monitoring and Analysis.
Vol. 6, No. 2,
2018, pp. 47-52.
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