Habitat Analysis

A qualitative habitat evaluation index (QHEI) incorporates information on 20 metrics including gradient, substrate, instream cover, channel morphology, channel stability, riparian zone development, pool quality, and riffle quality, with a maximum score of 100. The QHEI was calculated for 4 sites in Montezuma Creek and at the reference site in Verdure Creek.

The QHEI ratings for the Montezuma Creek sites in 1995 indicate the presence of high quality habitat with scores ranging from a low of 70 close to mill site to 91.5 at the most downstream site; the QHEI was 83.5 for Verdure Creek In 1996, lower water levels reduced the overall ratings to the low 70s in both streams.

These QHEI ratings would be considered in the exceptional range with excellent habitat heterogeneity. The individual components indicate that most sites had a wide variety of microhabitats and abundant instream cover.

Based on USGS data from a gauging station located in Montezuma Creek, the number of zero flow days is highly variable, but generally less than 10% of the year during the last 5 years of data (1988-1992).

The 1996 survey of Montezuma Canyon indicated that the stream exhibited only subsurface flow for much of the canyon, and there were several steep sections that may prevent fish from reaching upper Montezuma Creek.

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Last Modified: April 17, 2001