Sedimentation and Georgia's Fishes: An Analysis of Existing Information and Future Research
Barnes, Kevin H.
Meyer, Judy L.
Freeman, Byron J.
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Excessive sedimentation and high levels of turbidity threaten the native fish species of Georgia by destroying habitat and by impairing fish feeding and spawning. To propose water quality standards for suspended sediments that would be protective of Georgia's diverse freshwater fish fauna (283 spp.), we have searched existing records of suspended sediment concentrations (measured as turbidity in NTUs) and fish collections taken throughout rivers and streams in Northern Georgia above the fall line. The study revealed that adequate measures of suspended sediment are lacking in areas of high fish diversity, and therefore field work in representative basins is needed to find relationships between suspended sediments and fish diversity. Research is currently being done in the Etowah River system of Northern Georgia to further understand the effects of excessive sedimentation on native fish communities.