Fish Communities


Fish communities include several trophic levels and species that are at or near the end of food chains. Consequently, they integrate the direct effects of water quality and habitat changes on primary producers (periphyton) and consumers (benthic invertebrates) that are utilized as food. Because of these trophic interrelationships, the well-being of fish populations has often been used as an index of water quality improvement resulting from remedial actions. Moreover, statements about the condition of the fish community are easily understood by the general public.


  • Characterize the fish communities in the stream
  • Identify areas affected by facility operations
  • Document recovery of the fish communities following remedial actions


Fish communities are sampled using electrofishers to capture fish in three passes within a specified reach blocked with nets. Captured fish are identified, weighed and measured (total length). These data are used to estimate population densities using a maximum-likelihood removal technique.


Fish community studies have been conducted at the following locations. Results are available for streams in:

For more information regarding Fish Community Monitoring, please contact Mike Ryon.

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Last Modified: April 17, 2001