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SFS Annual Meeting

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DISTRIBUTION OF ANTHROPOGENIC LITTER: MONITORING METHODS AND CONNECTIONS TO BIOTIC INDICATORS OF STREAM HEALTH

Anthropogenic litter (i.e., trash; AL) is increasing in aquatic ecosystems worldwide. Rivers are both retention sites and conduits for AL. California was the first state to adopt regulations to categorize streams as 'impaired' for AL. Because AL contains a diversity of materials, with variable sources, degradation rates, and mobility, developing methods to measure AL assemblage is a major challenge. Our objective was to compare 3 AL measurement methods 1) qualitative rapid assessment, 2) quantitative visual assessment, and 3) manual collection. Methods 1 and 2 are in development for use in California. Using all 3 methods, we measured AL in 12, 30-m reaches of the North Branch Chicago River. Reaches were associated with 4 features which contribute or accumulate AL: bridges, debris dams, combined sewer outflows, and 'control' (N=3/feature). We will repeat this assessment in streams across Illinois that span a gradient of biotic indexes. Results will illustrate how well management indices perform, how stream features drive AL composition, and if AL density is related to other common assessments. The study will directly improve measurement methods for AL as a newly regulated pollutant, and policies for stream ecosystem management.

Lauren Wisbrock (Primary Presenter/Author), Loyola University Chicago, lreynolds1@luc.edu;


Timothy Hoellein (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Loyola University Chicago, thoellein@luc.edu;


Shelly Moore (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, shellym@sccwrp.org;