Assessing changes in the Presque Isle Bay watershed fish community using a modified index of biotic integrity: before and after the elimination of combined sewer overflows
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- Rafferty, S.D., Lybrook, J., Kaczmarek, K.M. et al. Environ Monit Assess (2013) 185: 10459. doi:10.1007/s10661-013-3344-7
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An index of biotic integrity and species richness were used to assess changes in the Presque Isle Bay watershed fish community before and after the elimination of combined sewer overflows (CSOs). The fish community was sampled with a backpack electrofisher in 2011 at 12 stream locations on 4 tributaries of Presque Isle Bay, Erie County, Pennsylvania. All sites were previously sampled in 2001. Significant increases in species richness and index of biotic integrity (IBI) scores were observed in 2011 compared to 2001. The significant increases in species richness and IBI scores occurred following the elimination of 10 CSOs to Garrison Run, 7 CSOs to Cascade Creek, and 37 CSOs to Mill Creek. Despite the increased richness and IBI scores, the fish community remains in poor condition, which may be related to the highly urbanized land use of the watershed. Urban land uses comprise 77 % of the Presque Isle Bay watershed, and in both 2011 and 2001, the watershed as a whole did not meet warm-water habitat criteria. It is unlikely that the fish community will continue to recover without addressing urbanization throughout the watershed.