Environmental Management

, Volume 35, Issue 6, pp 799–810

Assessing Ecological Integrity of Ozark Rivers to Determine Suitability for Protective Status

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

Abstract

Preservation of extraordinary natural resources, protection of water quality, and restoration of impaired waters require a strategy to identify and protect least-disturbed streams and rivers. We applied two objective, quantitative methods to determine stream ecological integrity of headwater reaches of 10 Ozark rivers, 5 with Wild and Scenic River federal protective status. Thirty-four variables representing macroinvertebrate and fish assemblage characteristics, in-stream habitat, riparian vegetation, water quality, and watershed attributes were quantified for each river and analyzed using two multivariate approaches. The first approach, cluster and discriminant analyses, identified two groups of river with only one variable (% forested watershed) reliably distinguishing groups. Our second approach employed ordinal scaling to compare variables for each river to conceptually ideal conditions that were developed as a composite of optimal attributes among the 10 rivers. The composite distance of each river from ideal was then calculated using a unidimensional ranking technique. Two rivers without Wild and Scenic River designation ranked highest relative to ideal (highest ecological integrity), and two others, also without designation, ranked most distant from ideal (lowest ecological integrity). Fish density, number of intolerant fish species, and invertebrate density were influential biotic variables for scaling. Contributing physical variables included riparian forest cover, water nitrate concentration, water turbidity, percentage of forested watershed, percentage of private land ownership, and road density. These methods provide a framework for refinement and application in other regions to facilitate the process of establishing least-disturbed reference conditions and identifying rivers for protection and restoration.

Keywords

Antidegradation Biotic integrity Ecological integrity Reference conditions River bioassessment Ozarks Wild and Scenic Rivers 

Literature Cited

  1. Allan, J. D., Flecker, A. S. 1993Biodiversity conservation in running watersBioScience433243Google Scholar
  2. Angermeier, P. L., Smogor, R. A., Stauffer, J. R. 2000Regional frameworks and candidate metrics for assessing biotic integrity in mid-Atlantic highland streamsTransactions of the American Fisheries Society129962981CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bain, M. B.Stevenson, N. J. eds. 1999Aquatic habitat assessment: common methodsAmerican Fisheries SocietyBethesda, MarylandGoogle Scholar
  4. Barbour, M. T., Gerritsen, J., Snyder, B. D., Stribling, J. B. 1999Rapid bioassessment protocols for use in streams and wadeable rivers: periphyton, benthic macroinvertebrates, and fish, 2nd ed. EPA 841-B-99-002US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of WaterWashington, DCGoogle Scholar
  5. Benke, A. C. 1990A perspective on America’s vanishing streamsJournal of the North American Benthological Society97788Google Scholar
  6. Bohlin, T., Hamrin, S., Heggberget, T. G., Rasmussen, G., Saltveit, S. J. 1989Electrofishing: Theory and practice with special emphasis on salmonidsHydrobiologia173943Google Scholar
  7. Bovee, K. D., Milhous, R. 1978Hydraulic simulation in instream flow studies: Theory and technique. FWS/OBD-7/63US Fish and Wildlife ServiceFort Collins, Colorado124Google Scholar
  8. Davis, J. V., and R. W. Bell. 1998. Water-quality assessment of the Ozark plateaus study unit, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma: Nutrients, bacteria, organic carbon, and suspended sediment in surface water, 1993–1995. Water-Resources Investigations Report 98-4164. National Water-Quality Assessment Program, US Department of the Interior, US Geological Survey, Little Rock, Arkansas, 56 ppGoogle Scholar
  9. Davis, W. S.Simon, T. P. eds. 1995Biological assessment and criteria: tools for water resource planning and decision makingCRC PressBoca Raton, FloridaGoogle Scholar
  10. EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency)1994Water quality standards handbook. EPA-823-B-94-005aUS Environmental Protection AgencyWashington, DCGoogle Scholar
  11. EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency)2002Summary of biological assessment programs and biocriteria development for states, tribes, territories, and interstate commissions: streams and wadeable rivers. EPA-822-R-02-048US Environmental Protection AgencyWashington, DCGoogle Scholar
  12. Guttman, L. 1946An approach for quantifying paired comparisons and rank orderAnnals of Mathematical Statistics17144163Google Scholar
  13. Hughes, R. M. 1995

    Defining acceptable biological status by comparing with reference conditions

    Davis, W. S.Simon, T. P. eds. Biological assessment and criteria: Tools for water resource planning and decision makingCRC PressBoca Raton, Florida3148
    Google Scholar
  14. Karr, J. R. 1991Biological integrity: a long neglected aspect of water resource managementEcological Applications16684Google Scholar
  15. Karr, J. R. 1995

    Protecting aquatic ecosystems: clean water is not enough

    Davis, W. S.Simon, T. P. eds. Biological assessment and criteria: tools for water resource planning and decision makingCRC PressBoca Raton, Florida714
    Google Scholar
  16. Karr, J. R., Dudley, D. R. 1981Ecological perspective on water quality goalsEnvironmental Management55568Google Scholar
  17. Karr, J. R., K. D. Fausch, P. L. Angermeier, P. R. Yant, and I. J. Schlosser. 1986. Assessing biological integrity in running water: a method and its rationale. Illinois Natural History Survey, Special Publication 5, Champaign, Illinois, 28 ppGoogle Scholar
  18. Kwak, T. J. 1992Modular microcomputer software to estimate fish population parameters, production rates and associated varianceEcology of Freshwater Fish17375Google Scholar
  19. Leonard, P. M., Orth, D. J. 1986Application and testing of an index of biotic integrity in small, coolwater streamsTransactions of the American Fisheries Society115401414CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Leopold, L. B., Wolman, M. G., Miller, J. P. 1964Fluvial processes in geomorphologyW. H. FreemanSan Francisco, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  21. Merritt, R. W., Cummins, K. W. 1996An introduction to the aquatic insects of North America3rdKendall/Hunt PublishingDubuque, IowaGoogle Scholar
  22. Naiman, R. J., Magnuson, J. J., Knight, D. M., Stanford, J. A., Karr, J. R. 1995Freshwater ecosystems and their management: a national initiativeScience270584585Google Scholar
  23. National Research Council1992Restoration of aquatic ecosystems: science, technology, and public policyNational Academy PressWashington, DCGoogle Scholar
  24. Novak, M. A., Bode, R. W. 1992Percent model affinity: a new measure of macroinvertebrate community compositionJournal of the North American Benthological Society118085Google Scholar
  25. Omernik, J. M. 1987Ecoregions of the conterminous United StatesAnnals of the Association of American Geographers77118125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Palmer, T. 1993The Wild and Scenic Rivers of AmericaIsland PressWashington, DCGoogle Scholar
  27. Petersen, J. C. 1998. Water-quality assessment of the Ozark plateaus study area, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma: Fish communities in streams in the Ozark plateaus and their relations to selected environmental factors. Water-Resources Investigations Report 98-4155. National Water-Quality Assessment Program, US Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Little Rock, Arkansas, 33 ppGoogle Scholar
  28. Poulton, B. C., Stewart, K. W. 1991The stoneflies of the Ozark and Ouachita mountains (Plecoptera)Memoirs of the American Entomological Society381116Google Scholar
  29. Radwell, A. 2000. Ecological integrity assessment of Ozark rivers to determine suitability for protective status. MS thesis, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, 107 ppGoogle Scholar
  30. Rambo, R. D. 1998. Ozark stream fish assemblages and black bass population dynamics associated with watersheds of varying land use. MS thesis, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, 98 ppGoogle Scholar
  31. Resh, V. H., Jackson, J. K. 1993

    Rapid assessment approaches to biomonitoring using benthic macroinvertebrates

    Rosenberg, D. M.Resh, V. H. eds. Freshwater biomonitoring and benthic macroinvertebratesChapman & HallNew York195233
    Google Scholar
  32. Reynoldson, T. B., Norris, R. H., Resh, V. H., Day, K. E., Rosenberg, D. M. 1997The reference condition: a comparison of multimetric and multivariate approaches to assess water-quality impairment using benthic macroinvertebratesJournal of the North American Benthological Society16833852Google Scholar
  33. Robison, H. W., Buchanan, T. M. 1988Fishes of ArkansasUniversity of Arkansas Press, FayettevilleArksansasGoogle Scholar
  34. Rohm, C., Giese, J. W., Bennett, C. C. 1987Evaluation of an aquatic ecoregion classification of streams in ArkansasJournal of Freshwater Ecology4127140Google Scholar
  35. Rosenberg, D. M.Resh, V. H. eds. 1993Freshwater biomonitoring and benthic macroinvertebratesChapman & HallNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  36. Roth, N. E., Allan, J. D., Erickson, D. L. 1996Landscape influences on stream biotic integrity assessed at multiple spatial scalesLandscape Ecology11141156Google Scholar
  37. SAS1990SAS/STAT user’s guide, version 6, 4th ed. Volumes 1 and 2SAS Institute Inc., CaryNorth CarolinaGoogle Scholar
  38. Seber, G. A. F. 1982The estimation of animal abundance and related parameters2ndCharles GriffinLondonGoogle Scholar
  39. Simon, T. P. eds. 1998Assessing the sustainability and biological integrity of water resources using fish communitiesCRC PressBoca Raton, FloridaGoogle Scholar
  40. Simon, T. P. eds. 2003Biological response signatures: indicator patterns using aquatic communitiesCRC PressBoca Raton, FloridaGoogle Scholar
  41. Stanford, J. A., Ward, J. V. 1979

    Stream regulation in North America

    Ward and J. A. Stanford, J. V. eds. The ecology of regulated streamsPlenumNew York215236
    Google Scholar
  42. Steedman, R. J. 1988Modification and assessment of an index of biotic integrity to quantify stream quality in southern OntarioCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences45492501Google Scholar
  43. USACERL (US Army Corps of Engineers Construction Engineering Research Laboratories)1993GRASS (Geographical Resources Analysis Support System) 4.1 user’s reference manualUS Army Corps of Engineers Construction Engineering Research LaboratoriesChampaign, IllinoisGoogle Scholar
  44. US Forest Service. 1991. Wild and Scenic River study report and final environmental impact statement on thirteen rivers in the Ozark National Forest. US Forest Service Southern Region, Ozark National Forest. Management Bulletin R8-MB55, Russellville, ArkansasGoogle Scholar
  45. US National Park Service1982Nationwide rivers inventoryUS Government Printing OfficeWashington, DCGoogle Scholar
  46. van de Velden, M. 2004Optimal scaling of paired comparison dataJournal of Classification2189109MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  47. Vannote, R. L., Minshall, G. W., Cummins, K. W., Sedell, J. R., Cushing, C. E. 1980The river continuum conceptCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences37130137Google Scholar
  48. Wang, L., Lyons, J., Kanehl, P., Gatti, R. 1997Influences of watershed land use on habitat quality and biotic integrity of Wisconsin streamsFisheries22612CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Williams, B. K., Nichols, J. D., Conroy, M. J. 2002Analysis and management of animal populationsAcademic PressSan Diego, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  50. Yoder, C. O., Smith, M. A. 1999

    Using fish assemblages in a state biological assessment and criteria program: essential concepts and considerations

    Simon, T. P. eds. Assessing the sustainability and biological integrity of water resources using fish communitiesCRC PressBoca Raton, Florida1756
    Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Arkansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research UnitDepartment of Biological SciencesUniversity of ArkansasFayettevilleUSA
  2. 2.US Geological SurveyNorth Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research UnitNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

Personalised recommendations