Evaluation of deposited sediment and macroinvertebrate metrics used to quantify biological response to excessive sedimentation in agricultural streams

  • Sutherland A
  • Culp J
  • Benoy G
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Abstract

The objective of this study was to evaluate which macroinvertebrate and deposited sediment metrics are best for determining effects of excessive sedimentation on stream integrity. Fifteen instream sediment metrics, with the strongest relationship to land cover, were compared to riffle macroinvertebrate metrics in streams ranging across a gradient of land disturbance. Six deposited sediment metrics were strongly related to the relative abundance of Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera and six were strongly related to the modified family biotic index (MFBI). Few functional feeding groups and habit groups were significantly related to deposited sediment, and this may be related to the focus on riffle, rather than reach-wide macroinvertebrates, as reach-wide sediment metrics were more closely related to human land use. Our results suggest that the coarse-level deposited sediment metric, visual estimate of fines, and the coarse-level biological index, MFBI, may be useful in biomonitoring efforts aimed at determining the impact of anthropogenic sedimentation on stream biotic integrity.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Agricultural streams
  • Bioindicators
  • Deposited sediment
  • Macroinvertebrates
  • Sedimentation

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Authors

  • Andrew B. Sutherland

  • Joseph M. Culp

  • Glenn A. Benoy

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