Macroinvertebrate Responses to Constructed Riffles in the Cache River, Illinois, USA
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- Walther, D.A. & Whiles, M.R. Environmental Management (2008) 41: 516. doi:10.1007/s00267-007-9058-2
Stream restoration practices are becoming increasingly common, but biological assessments of these improvements are still limited. Rock weirs, a type of constructed riffle, were implemented in the upper Cache River in southern Illinois, USA, in 2001 and 2003–2004 to control channel incision and protect high quality riparian wetlands as part of an extensive watershed-level restoration. Construction of the rock weirs provided an opportunity to examine biological responses to a common in-stream restoration technique. We compared macroinvertebrate assemblages on previously constructed rock weirs and newly constructed weirs to those on snags and scoured clay streambed, the two dominant substrates in the unrestored reaches of the river. We quantitatively sampled macroinvertebrates on these substrates on seven occasions during 2003 and 2004. Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera (EPT) biomass and aquatic insect biomass were significantly higher on rock weirs than the streambed for most sample periods. Snags supported intermediate EPT and aquatic insect biomass compared to rock weirs and the streambed. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) ordinations for 2003 and 2004 revealed distinct assemblage groups for rock weirs, snags, and the streambed. Analysis of similarity supported visual interpretation of NMDS plots. All pair-wise substrate comparisons differed significantly, except recently constructed weirs versus older weirs. Results indicate positive responses by macroinvertebrate assemblages to in-stream restoration in the Cache River. Moreover, these responses were not evident with more common measures of total density, biomass, and diversity.