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Module 10/11 Stream Surveys. Stream Surveys – September 2004 Part 2 – Habitat Assessment. Objectives. Students will be able to: identify accepted sampling methods used in streams. explain the influence of velocity and current on organism distribution in a stream.

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module 10 11 stream surveys

Module 10/11Stream Surveys

Stream Surveys – September 2004Part 2 – Habitat Assessment

objectives
Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • identify accepted sampling methods used in streams.
  • explain the influence of velocity and current on organism distribution in a stream.
  • categorize stream bed substrates.
  • Describe physical, chemical and biological parameters used to assess the quality of stream habitats.
stream assessments
Stream assessments
  • Water quality
  • Habitat
  • Hydrologic
  • Biological
  • Watershed
habitat assessments1
Habitat Assessments
  • Determine and isolate impacts of pollution sources
  • Interpret biological data
  • Screen for impairments
where to sample
Where to sample
  • Reach Length
    • 30 times mean stream width
    • Minimum of 100 meters in length
  • Avoid bridges, dams, culverts etc.
    • Localized effects on the stream
    • Both upstream and downstream of the structure.
    • Locate reach nearby to specifically address changes from structures
transect measurements
Transect Measurements
  • Necessity of measuring habitat variables in both pool and riffles and why
  • Slide to be completed by 3/31/04
current velocity
Current velocity
  • Varies horizontally and vertically across the streambed
  • Current is the most important factor that determines where many organisms are found in streams and therefore govern differences in communities in various parts of a given stream.
  • Velocity of the current is determined by the steepness of the surface, roughness of the stream bed, and depth and width of the stream bed.
visual estimation of surface substrate
Visual estimation of surface substrate
  • % of silt/clay, sand, gravel, cobble, boulder and bedrock
  • Fast, simple
  • Prone to error
  • Slide to be completed by 3/31/04
substrate1
Substrate
  • Sieves
  • Especially for <2mm
  • Sample size = bucketful
  • ~ 3 samples
  • Slide to be completed by 3/31/04
substrate pebble counts
Substrate - Pebble counts
  • 100 individual pebbles randomly selected from stream bed
  • Measure intermediate axis
  • Plot results as a histogram

(Wolman 1954)

embeddedness
Embeddedness
  • Measure of fine sediment deposition in the interstitial spaces between rocks
  • High embeddedness values indicate habitat degradation
substrate2
Substrate
  • Embeddedness: General guidelines
      • 0% = no fine sediments even at base of top layer of gravel/cobble
      • 25% = rocks are half surrounded by sediment
      • 50% = rocks are completely surrounded by sediment but their tops are clean
      • 75% = rocks are completely surrounded by sediment and half covered
      • 100% = rocks are completely covered by sediment
woody debris
Woody debris
  • Extremely important for habitat
  • Difficult to quantify
epa rapid bioassessment protocols rbp
EPA Rapid Bioassessment Protocols (RBP)
  • The RBPs include a set of cost-effective, yet scientifically valid, stream quality indicators that include:
    • Physical habitat assessment
    • Water Quality assessment
    • Biological surveys
  • Easily and quickly obtained
  • Compares data with standards fromunaffected site
rbp parameters
RBP - parameters
  • Stream characterization
  • Watershed features
  • Riparian vegetation
  • In-stream features
  • Large woody debris
  • Aquatic vegetation
  • Water quality
  • Sediment/substrate
rbp stream characterization
RBP – stream characterization
  • Is stream flow perennial, intermittent? Are there any tidal influences?
  • Is the temperature regime considered warm water or coldwater?
  • Stream origin: glacial, montane, wetland, bog
rbp watershed features
RBP – watershed features
  • What is the predominant land use type within the watershed?
  • Are there any local nonpoint pollution sources?
  • Any signs of local watershed erosion ?
rbp riparian vegetation
RBP – riparian vegetation
  • Width of the vegetation zone on either side of the stream
rbp in stream features
reach length

stream width

reach area

velocity

% canopy

high water mark

# riffles, runs, pools

channelization

dams

RBP – in-stream features
rbp large woody debris and aquatic vegetation
RBP – large woody debris and aquatic vegetation
  • Large woody debris
  • Aquatic vegetation
    • periphyton
    • macrophytes
rbp water quality
RBP – water quality
  • Temperature, EC, DO, pH, and turbidity
  • Water odors
  • Water surface oils
  • Turbidity-visual assessment
rbp sediment and substrate
RBP – sediment and substrate
  • Odors
  • Oils
  • Deposits
  • Inorganic substrate components
  • Organic substrate components
visual based habitat assessment vha
Visual-Based Habitat Assessment (VHA)
  • This protocol rates habitat parameters for each sampling reach on a scale from 0 to 20 (highest).
  • The rankings are then totaled and compared to a reference condition to provide a final habitat ranking.
  • Habitat evaluations are made on:
    • In-stream habitat
    • Channel morphology
    • Bank structural features
    • Riparian vegetation
vha habitat for aquatic insects and other creatures
VHA - Habitat for aquatic insects and other creatures
  • Look for the amount and variety of structures in the stream, such as:
    • rocks
    • fallen trees
    • undercut banks
    • logs and branches
  • The more diverse the “structure” the better.

Poor

Very good

1b habitat for aquatic insects and other creatures
1b. Habitat for Aquatic Insects and Other Creatures
  • Look for:
    • The amount and variety of structures in the stream, such as:
      • Rocks
      • Fallen trees
      • Undercut banks
      • Logs and branches
    • A lot of diverse “structure” is good

Mary Kay Corazalla, U of MN

Very good

Poor

2a embeddedness

William Taft, MI DNR

William Taft, MI DNR

Very good

Poor

2a. Embeddedness
  • Look for:
    • How much silt, sand, or mud cover rocks and snags or is “embedded” among the rocks?
    • Lots of silt reduces insect habitat and fish shelter, spawning areas, and egg incubation areas

Poor

2b pool substrate condition

Very good

Poor

2b. Pool Substrate Condition
  • Look for:
    • Type and condition of bottom of stream in pool area
    • Healthy stream has:
      • Firm sediment types, such as sand, gravel, rather than soft clay or silt
      • Aquatic plants
      • Lots of variety

Mary Kay Corazalla, U of MN

3a velocity and depth regimes

Very good

Mary Kay Corazalla, U of MN

William Taft, MI DNR

Poor

3a. Velocity and Depth Regimes
  • Look for:
    • Lots of variety in depths and flow rates as you move downstream
    • Look for a combination of:
      • Slow-deep
      • Slow-shallow
      • Fast-deep
      • Fast-shallow
    • Provides more habitat for aquatic insects and fish

Poor

3b pool variability
3b. Pool Variability
  • Look for:
    • Mixture of types of pools
      • Large-shallow
      • Large-deep
      • Small-shallow
      • Small-deep
    • A variety of pool types means good habitat

Very good

Poor

Peggy Morgan, FL DEP

William Taft, MI DNR

4a sediment deposition

Deposited sediment

Very good

Poor

4a. Sediment Deposition
  • Look for:
    • How much sediment has been deposited in the stream channel as:
      • Islands
      • Points, bars
      • Shoals
      • Pools filling in
    • Lots of sediment means lots of human impacts on stream
4b sediment deposition
4b. Sediment Deposition
  • How much sediment has been deposited in the stream channel as:
    • Islands
    • Points, bars
    • Shoals
    • Pools filling in
  • Lots of sediment means lots of human impacts on stream

Poor

Very good

5a channel flow status

Water is not reaching both banks; leaving much of channel exposed.

Very good

Poor

5a. Channel Flow Status
  • Look for:
    • How full is the channel?
    • If too much of the streambed is exposed, habitat is limited and probably poor
5b channel flow status
5b. Channel Flow Status
  • How full is the channel?
  • If too much of the streambed is exposed, habitat is limited and probably poor

James Stahl, IN DEM

Very good

Water is not reaching both banks; leaving much of channel exposed.

Poor

6a channel alteration

Poor

Very good

6a. Channel Alteration
  • Look for:
    • Human-caused changes in the stream channel, such as:
      • Deepened
      • Straightened
      • Diversions
    • These alterations mean less habitat
6b channel alteration
6b. Channel Alteration
  • Human-caused changes in the stream channel, such as:
    • Deepened
    • Straightened
    • Diversions
  • These alterations mean less habitat

Very good

John Maxted, DE DNREC

Poor

7a frequency of riffles

Arrows showing frequency of riffles and bends

Poor

Very good

7a. Frequency of Riffles
  • Look for:
    • Frequency of riffles as you look up or downstream
    • Riffles are excellent habitat for aquatic insects and fish
    • Lots of riffles means good habitat
7b channel sinuosity
7b. Channel Sinuosity

Sinuosity refers to the curviness of the stream

  • Look for:
    • The number of twists and turns you see in the stream
    • A “curvy” stream
      • Has more habitat
      • Is more stable during storms, thus reducing erosion

Very good

Poor

8a bank stability

Very good

Poor

8a. Bank Stability

Stable streambank

  • Look for:
    • Condition of banks
      • No vegetation
      • Crumbling banks
      • Overly steep banks
      • Exposed tree roots
      • Exposed soil
    • Presence of eroded stream banks means poor conditions for aquatic life

Unstable streambank

MD Save Our Streams

8b bank stability
8b. Bank Stability
  • Look for:
    • Condition of banks
      • No vegetation
      • Crumbling banks
      • Overly steep banks
      • Exposed tree roots
      • Exposed soil
    • Presence of eroded stream banks means poor conditions for aquatic life

Peggy Morgan, FL DEP

Very good

Poor

9a bank vegetation

Very good

Poor

9a. Bank Vegetation
  • Look for:
    • Amount of vegetation on banks of stream
    • Lots of vegetation
      • Holds soils
      • Absorbs water, thus reducing bank erosion
      • Absorbs nutrients (through roots)
      • Provides shade for stream
    • Good to have >90% vegetative cover on banks and in riparian area
9b bank vegetative protection
9b. Bank Vegetative Protection
  • Look for:
    • Amount of vegetation on banks of stream
    • Lots of vegetation
      • Holds soils
      • Absorbs water, thus reducing bank erosion
      • Absorbs nutrients (through roots)
      • Provides shade for stream
    • Good to have >90% vegetative cover on banks and in riparian area

Peggy Morgan, FL DEP

Very good

MD Save Our Streams

Poor

10a riparian vegetative zone width
10a. Riparian Vegetative Zone Width
  • Look for:
    • Width of riparian zone (vegetated area adjacent to stream)
    • Wider riparian area helps
      • buffer pollutants
      • Control erosion
      • Provide habitat
      • Regulate nutrient inputs

Very good

Poor

10b riparian vegetative zone width
10b. Riparian Vegetative Zone Width
  • Look for:
    • Width of riparian zone (vegetated area adjacent to stream)
    • Wider riparian area helps
      • buffer pollutants
      • Control erosion
      • Provide habitat
      • Regulate nutrient inputs

MD Save Our Streams

Very good

Poor

2 low gradient streams
2. Low Gradient Streams
  • Less steep, slower moving

Low Gradient Streams

Low gradient streams are dominated by deep areas (pools) interspersed with shallower segments of river (glides). The stream bottom is typically made of up fine sediments and occasional coarser material (gravel or larger).

stream surveys references
Stream surveys - references
  • Techniques of Water-Resources Investigations Reports
    • http://water.usgs.gov/pubs/twri/
  • National Field Manual for the Collection of Water-Quality Data
    • http://water.usgs.gov/owq/FieldManual/
  • Rapid bioassessment protocols for wadeable streams
    • http://www.epa.gov/owow/monitoring/rbp/