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BENTHIC MACROINVERTEBRATES AS BIOINDICATORS OF LAND USE IMPACTS ON THE WESTERN FINGER LAKES

Conesus, Hemlock, Canadice and Honeoye lakes are among the smallest Finger Lakes, but they are important for drinking water, recreation and homes along their shorelines. Farms and forests are the major land uses in their watersheds. Hemlock and Canadice lakes are both within a state forest, which provides a buffer along the shoreline, and their water quality is high, while Conesus and Honeoye lakes are unregulated with lower water quality. My M.S. thesis project explored whether relationships exist between individual watershed land use and water quality and whether having a near-shore forest buffer improves water quality, as determined by biotic indices using benthic macroinvertebrates. While significant differences were found in the overall benthic community compositions between the lakes, biotic indices indicated no significant differences in water quality between the lakes and no correlation between land use in watersheds and water quality. This suggests that partial-watershed management in Hemlock and Canadice Lakes has no effect on water quality and only whole watershed management might positively influence water quality.

Mitchell Owens (Primary Presenter/Author), College at Brockport-SUNY, owensm42@gmail.com;