www.esm.versar.com. 1. Identifying Reference and Degraded Sites Reference sites must meet all of the following criteria: - F-IBI or B-IBI ≥ 4 (scale of 1 to 5) - Forest land use ≥ 75% - Riparian buffer width ≥ 50 m - Stream shading ≥ 50% - Aesthetic rating ≥ 10 (scale of 0 to 20)
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Fish Index of Biotic Integrity (F-IBI) is Not Rated for the Smallest Streams
Mark Southerland1 Robin Jung2
David Baxter1 Isaac Chellman2
1Versar, Inc. 9200 Rumsey Road Columbia, MD 21045
2 USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
12100 Beech Forest Road
Laurel, MD 20708
Stream Salamanders as Indicators of Stream Quality in Maryland
Biological indicators are critical to the protection of small, headwater streams and the ecological values they provide. Maryland and other state monitoring programs have determined that fish indicators are ineffective in small streams, where stream salamanders may replace fish as top predators. Because of their life history, physiology, abundance, and ubiquity, stream salamanders are likely representative of biological integrity in these streams. The goal of this study was to determine whether stream salamanders are effective indicators of ecological conditions across biogeographic regions and gradients of human disturbance.
Stream Salamander Sampling Sites
Distribution of stream salamander sampling sites in the Non-Coastal Plain of Maryland. Each site was also sampled for water chemistry, physical habitat, and other biological variables using MBSS methods.
Salamanders are Sensitive to Human Disturbance
Stream Salamanders in Maryland
Northern Two-lined salamander Long-tailed salamander
Eurycea bislineata Eurycea l. longicauda
Allegheny Mountain dusky salamander Northern dusky salamander
Desmognathus ochrophaeus Desmognathus fuscus
Northern spring salamander
Gyrinophilus p. porphyriticus
Eastern mud salamander Red salamander
Pseudotriton montanus Pseudotriton ruber
Partial validation of these indices was obtained when a test of the number of salamander species metric produced an 82% correct classification of 618 MBSS sites surveyed in MBSS Round One. Salamander abundances were not recorded at these sites so the other metrics could not be calculated.
2. Partitioning Natural Variability
Stream salamander communities differ slightly among the four physiographic regions west of the Coastal Plain in Maryland. Distribution maps show that D. monticola and D. ochrophaeus are not found in the Blue Ridge or Piedmont of Maryland, while P. montanus is not found in the Appalachia Plateau, Valley & Ridge, or Blue Ridge regions. The other five stream salamander species occur in all four regions. Because of these species distribution differences, indicator development was conducted separately for the Highlands and Piedmont as well as for all sites combined (i.e., Non-Coastal Plain Maryland).
We would like to thank the stream salamander field crew that in addition to DPB and ICC included Jeff Tomlinson and Ed Schwartzman. We thank Ron Klauda and Paul Kazyak of the MBSS and Erica Shingara of the City of Gaithersburg for permission to use the non-salamander data collected at the sites, and J. Andrew Royle, Jodi Dew, and Allison Brindley for statistical and analytical support. We give special thanks to MBSS crew leaders, Tony Prochaska and Matt Kline, for welcoming our salamander crew during their sampling. The funding for this research was provided by the U.S. Geological Survey Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) in the Northeast region.