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EFFECTS OF ROAD SALT APPLICATION ON STREAM INVERTEBRATE TAXONOMY AND STOICHIOMETRIC PROPERTIES

Freshwater systems in temperate climates provide important resources for drinking water and recreational exploitation. However, seasonal water chemistry changes, due to deicers and rock salts have been shown to negatively affect aquatic organisms these areas. This study seeks to address the effect of increased salinity due to road salt application on aquatic macroinvertebrates and their habitats due to runoff from snowmelt in the Lake Erie Watershed in Buffalo, NY. Streams were sampled a base-flow conditions in February and March 2017, before and after large snowfall events. Stream water salinity ranged from 0.22 - 0.9 pSS over a wide geographic area. Analysis of Ephemeroptera, Trichoptera and Plecoptera (EPT) taxa collected from five streams as well as overall macroinvertebrate IBI varied significantly in response to salinity and other stream water chemistry measurements. Streams with the highest levels of salinity had lower overall macroinvertebrate diversity. Macroinvertebrate nitrogen and phosphorus stoichiometry was also analyzed to further determine the health of these aquatic systems. Initial results suggest road salt has a significant effect on macroinvertebrate diversity and chemical composition.

Abigail LaFlair (Primary Presenter/Author, Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Daemen College, abigail.laflair@daemen.edu;


Sarah Whorley ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Daemen College, swhorley@daemen.edu;