Benthic Macroinvertebrate Community Analysis

The influence of urbanization in the Blue River watershed was reflected by the macroinvertebrate communities. All sites, including the sites not influenced by KCP discharges, had macroinvertebrate communities indicative of at least moderate impacts including the predominance of taxa such as the mayfly Baetis, the caddisfly Cheumatopsyche, and chironomids.

With few exceptions, both sites in the Blue River had similar taxonomic composition, and the relative abundances of several of the numerically dominant taxonomic groups were similar. However, the taxonomic richness and the richness of the ET taxa (i.e., Ephemeroptera and Trichoptera) were about one-third lower at BLK 32.1 than at BLK 33.9.

INK 18.5 which was located just downstream of a POTW, was quite different from the other three Indian Creek sites. In addition to the common taxa found at the other Indian Creek sites, leaches and pond snails also were very abundant at INK 18.5 and there were about 50% fewer ET taxa. This is a classic example of the taxonomic composition of a macroinvertebrate community in a highly enriched stream downstream of a sewage treatment facility.

Even though only qualitative samples were collected at Coffee Creek, the resulting data suggested that the macroinvertebrate community was in as good or better condition than the macroinvertebrate communities at the best Indian Creek and Blue River sites.

The benthic macroinvertebrate communities of Indian Creek and the Blue River were characterized by taxa typical of nutrient enriched conditions, siltation, and a less stable, habitat-deficient, environment typical of channelized streams. The study suggested that effluents from the KCP have no detectable negative effects on these biota, but these evaluation was not conclusive, because it is possible that the impacts associated with urbanization and channelization may be overriding any effects associated with these effluents.

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Last Modified: April 17, 2001