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AQUATIC INVERTEBRATE COMMUNITY STRUCTURE DOWNSTREAM OF HYDROPEAKING DAMS IN THE COLORADO RIVER BASIN

Dams are ubiquitous structures in river systems that dramatically alter the timing and intensity of flow events, which can have negative ecological impacts. Our objective is to determine if within dam tailwater reaches, benthic aquatic invertebrate communities vary with respect to species composition, abundances, and/or traits as a result of altered flow regimes. We collected benthic invertebrate samples at standardized distances downstream (0 to 15 river miles) of six large dams (Parker, Davis, Hoover, Fontenelle, Flaming Gorge, and Navajo) in the Colorado River Basin during spring 2015. Preliminary results reveal 45 families across five phyla, with species abundances ranging from 1 to >90,000 individuals per m^2. We used multivariate analysis to compare species, trait, and flow data (e.g. prevalence of hydropeaking, high flow events) within and among tailwater reaches. With the prevalence of dams, our research is critical for determining how human water demands, necessitating various flow regimes downstream of dams, impact the biodiversity and persistence of aquatic invertebrate communities.

Erin Abernethy (Primary Presenter/Author), Oregon State University, efabernethy@gmail.com;


Ted Kennedy ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), USGS Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center, tkennedy@usgs.gov;


Jeffrey Muehlbauer ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), USGS Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center, jmuehlbauer@usgs.gov;


Richard Van Driesche ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Oregon State University, vandrier@science.oregonstate.edu ;


David Lytle ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Oregon State University, lytleda@oregonstate.edu;