Environmental Management

, Volume 51, Issue 6, pp 1274–1283 | Cite as

Classifying the Health of Connecticut Streams Using Benthic Macroinvertebrates with Implications for Water Management

  • Christopher J. Bellucci
  • Mary E. Becker
  • Mike Beauchene
  • Lee Dunbar
Article

Abstract

Bioassessments have formed the foundation of many water quality monitoring programs throughout the United States. Like many state water quality programs, Connecticut has developed a relational database containing information about species richness, species composition, relative abundance, and feeding relationships among macroinvertebrates present in stream and river systems. Geographic Information Systems can provide estimates of landscape condition and watershed characteristics and when combined with measurements of stream biology, provide a useful visual display of information that is useful in a management context. The objective of our study was to estimate the stream health for all wadeable stream kilometers in Connecticut using a combination of macroinvertebrate metrics and landscape variables. We developed and evaluated models using an information theoretic approach to predict stream health as measured by macroinvertebrate multimetric index (MMI) and identified the best fitting model as a three variable model, including percent impervious land cover, a wetlands metric, and catchment slope that best fit the MMI scores (adj-R2 = 0.56, SE = 11.73). We then provide examples of how modeling can augment existing programs to support water management policies under the Federal Clean Water Act such as stream assessments and anti-degradation.

Keywords

Best fitting model Landscape variables Macroinvertebrate multimetric index Stream health Water management policy 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher J. Bellucci
    • 1
  • Mary E. Becker
    • 1
  • Mike Beauchene
    • 1
  • Lee Dunbar
    • 1
  1. 1.Connecticut Department of Environmental ProtectionHartfordUSA

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