, Volume 518, Issue 1-3, pp 33-46

Changes in water quality and macroinvertebrate communities resulting from urban stormflows in the Provo River, Utah, U.S.A.

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Abstract

Short-term changes in water quality from 7 summer stormflows and long-term changes in substrates and macroinvertebrate communities resulting from urban runoff from the city of Provo, Utah, were examined from 1999–2002 in the lower Provo River. Stormflows resulted in increased total suspended solids and concentrations of dissolved copper, lead and zinc, and decreased conductivity and dissolved oxygen. The degree of change was generally in proportion to the magnitude of the storm. However, changes were temporary with water quality parameters returning to pre-storm levels within 12 hours. River substrates showed a trend of increased compaction and decreased debris dam area downstream through the urban corridor. Macroinvertebrate communities showed trends of decreased abundance and total species diversity with increasing urbanization. Compared to non-urban reaches, communities in urban reaches had few `sensitive' species and were dominated by tolerant species, particularly snails and leeches. Comparisons with previous studies show that changes in macroinvertebrate community composition in the urban reaches reflected shifts in land use during the past 15–25 years and corresponded to expected threshold levels of impact for amount of impervious surface cover.