STREAM ALGAL BIOMASS ACROSS A GRADIENT OF AGRICULTURE AND UNCONVENTIONAL NATURAL GAS WELLS
Unconventional oil and gas (UOG) development has exploded globally, but little is known about how this activity might impact freshwater resources. Data collection to inform regulation for protection has lagged behind UOG infrastructure development. We used a published multimetric index to predict a stream’s vulnerability to UOG development from existing and readily available landscape data. Vulnerability was represented as the product of two multi-variable metrics: sensitivity (background physical properties) and exposure (anthropogenic stresses). Anthropogenic impacts often increase stream algal biomass, which can reduce dissolved oxygen, and cause shifts away from sensitive species. We used algal community and biomass patterns to test the effectiveness of this index. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to compare slopes of the algal response variable across an exposure gradient dominated by either agriculture or UOG activity in sensitive or less sensitive watersheds. We hypothesized sites with greater sensitivity scores will have similar algal biomass and greater proportions of sensitive algal taxa than sites with lower sensitivity scores. Forty stream reaches in the Fayetteville shale were sampled in May and June of 2015. The results indicated no relationship between algal metrics and vulnerability or its metrics.
Lucy Baker (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Central Arkansas, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Sally Entrekin (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Virginia Tech, email@example.com;
Michelle Evans-White (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Arkansas, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Zachary Tipton (Primary Presenter/Author), University of Arkansas - Fayetteville, email@example.com;