Can an indicator of river health be related to assessments from a catchment-scale sediment model?
- Evan T. HarrisonAffiliated withInstitute for Applied Ecology and eWater Cooperative Research Centre, University of CanberraCSIRO Land and Water Email author
- , Richard H. NorrisAffiliated withInstitute for Applied Ecology and eWater Cooperative Research Centre, University of Canberra
- , Scott N. WilkinsonAffiliated withCSIRO Land and Water
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
The accumulation of sand and fine gravel (<5 mm diameter) on riverbeds can adversely affect benthic macroinvertebrates, which are good indicators of the ecological health of rivers. The possibility arises, therefore, that predictions of sedimentation could form a useful proxy for indicating the health of a river. The Sediment River Network Model (SedNet) constructs sediment budgets to predict the depth of bed material accumulation (BMA) in each link of a river network. This study tests whether the predicted BMA depth was associated with spatial differences in macroinvertebrate community structure, in the Upper Murrumbidgee River catchment of southeast Australia. There was a significant, albeit limited, correlation. Riffle sites with low BMA depth (0–0.01 m) had a significantly different macroinvertebrate community structure compared to sites with medium (0.01–0.3 m) or high (>0.3 m) BMA depth. At these sites, taxa sensitive to habitat were in greater abundance when BMA depth was low. Additionally, riffle sites with high predicted BMA depth had lower values for three macroinvertebrate community structure measures—AUSRIVAS observed-to-expected (OE) taxa ratio, Ephemeroptera abundance and Plecoptera abundance. There was no significant difference in macroinvertebrate community structure between sites with medium and high levels of BMA depth. Possible reasons for this result are: (1) there may have been few sites in the high and medium categories to provide sufficient statistical power to detect a significant difference; (2) spatial variation in BMA depth within SedNet river links; or (3) only a minimal amount of BMA is required to change community structure. To further define spatial variation in biological damage from BMA, data are required on the spatial scale of variations in BMA depth and damage to macroinvertebrate community structure.
KeywordsAUSRIVAS Bed material accumulation Macroinvertebrates SedNet Sedimentation
- Can an indicator of river health be related to assessments from a catchment-scale sediment model?
Volume 600, Issue 1 , pp 49-64
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Bed material accumulation
- Industry Sectors
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Institute for Applied Ecology and eWater Cooperative Research Centre, University of Canberra, Bruce, Canberra, ACT, 2601, Australia
- 2. CSIRO Land and Water, PO Box 1666, Canberra, ACT, 2601, Australia