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SFS Annual Meeting

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LINKING STREAM HABITAT QUALITY, SPECIES DIVERSITY AND SPECIES TRAITS TO BETTER INFORM RESTORATION PRACTICES

We investigated the relationship between stream habitat quality and benthic macroinvertebrate community diversity and function by evaluating 30 streams in the Piedmont, North Carolina spanning a gradient of good to poor habitat quality. We used the Mecklenburg Stream Habitat Assessment Protocol (MHAP) to assess stream habitat quality and diversity. We sampled the benthic macroinvertebrate community in these streams using the North Carolina Standard Bioassessment Sampling Method (NCDWR). In the 10 streams with Good MHAP scores, benthic macroinvertebrates were collected from 8 microhabitats, including riffles, root wads, and sandy areas to correlate species and species ecological traits with each microhabitat. We found that EPT Taxa Richness is generally 10 or more when the MHAP score is greater than 110 (Partially Supporting Use Category). Riffles are the most diverse microhabitat in terms of species and functional diversity. Leaf packs, root wads, and wood debris were microhabitats that also supported a diversity of species and functional traits. By correlating species traits with specific microhabitats, we can better evaluate how to better design stream restoration projects as one component in restoring stream function and in stimulating benthic macroinvertebrate community recovery.

Anthony Roux (Primary Presenter/Author), Mecklenburg County Storm Water Services, Water Quality Program, Charlotte, NC; William States Lee College of Engineering, University of North Carolina Charlotte, Tony.Roux@MecklenburgCountync.gov;


Sandra Clinton, PhD (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of North Carolina at Charlotte, sclinto1@uncc.edu;