EXAMINING LAND USE INFLUENCES ON STREAM HABITATS AND MACROINVERTEBRATES: A GIS APPROACH

Carl Richards, George E Host

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations

Abstract

ABSTRACT: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) were used to assess the relationships between land use patterns and the physical habitat and macroinvertebrate fauna of streams within similar sized watersheds. Eleven second or third order watersheds ranging from highly urbanized to heavily forested were selected along Lake Superior's North Shore. Land use patterns within the watersheds were quantified using readily available digital land use/land cover information, with a minimum mapping resolution of 16 ha. Physical habitat features, describing substrate characteristics and stream morphology, were characterized at sample points within each stream. Principle component and correlation analyses were used to identify relationships between macroinvertebrates and stream physical habitat, and between habitat and land use patterns. Substrate characteristics and presence of coarse woody debris were found to have the strongest correlations with macreinvertebrate assemblage richness and composition. Agricultural and urban land use was correlated with substrate characteristics. Algal abundance, associated with macroinvertebrate compositional differences, was correlated with housing density and non‐forest land covers. The use of readily available spatial data, even at this relatively coarse scale, provides a means to detect the primary relationships between land use and stream habitat quality; finer‐resolution GIS databases are needed to assess more subtle influences, such as those due to riparian conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)729-738
Number of pages10
JournalJAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1994

Keywords

  • GIS
  • land use
  • nonpoint source pollution
  • risk analysis
  • stream ecology
  • watershed assessment

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