Comparison of bioassessment methods of ecological condition using aquatic macroinvertebrate assemblages in Southwest Georgia headwater streams
Winn, Rebecca T.
Crisman, Thomas L.
Golladay, Stephen W.
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Despite their importance, most biomonitoring programs ignore headwater streams, and focus their usually limited resources on larger streams. This study compared aquatic macroinvertebrate assemblages using Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Georgia Bioassessment Protocol (GBP) and Georgia Adopt-A-Stream’s (AAS) assessment protocol for four relatively undisturbed headwater streams. The rating of ecological condition/water quality of study streams by the GBP and AAS index differed slightly with a greater percentage of samples rated excellent or poor by the AAS index when compared to GBP results. The AAS index detected differences between sampling periods and streams that agreed with commonly used metrics such as Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera (EPT) taxa. Study results do not suggest that one assessment method is better at describing streams than the other, but they do suggest that the coarser taxonomic resolution employed by the AAS index is adequate to conduct assessments.