, Volume 429, Issue 1-3, pp 171-180

Long-term recovery from mine drainage disturbance of a macroinvertebrate community in the Ichi-kawa River, Japan

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Abstract

The effects of mine drainage on a benthic macroinvertebrate community and its recovery have been investigated for 25 years in the Ichi-kawa River in western Japan, focusing especially on change in community structure. Concentrations of arsenic, copper and zinc in the water were distinctly higher at sites just below the drainage than an upstream reference site before mine closure in 1973. Benthic communities there were severely damaged, as evidenced by reductions in the number of families and biomass. Chironomidae and a mayfly, Epeorus latifolium, predominated at the impacted sites, whereas stenopsychid caddisflies were dominant at the reference site. After mine closure, zinc concentrations significantly decreased downstream, although they remained higher than at the reference site. Following this, family richness and biomass of benthic communities clearly increased. In addition, the percentage of Trichoptera increased and, finally, Stenopsychidae became the dominant family in 1996 at all sites except just below the drainage. Therefore, the dominance of Stenopsychidae at the impacted sites is expected to be an indicator of complete recovery of the benthic community from the effect of mine drainage.