Unique Steephead Stream Segments in Southwest Georgia: Invertebrate Diversity and Biomonitoring
Golladay, Stephen W.
Ruhlman, Melanie B.
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The steephead streams we studied are springfed, relatively high gradient, and have greater substrate diversity than is typical of most Coastal Plain streams. The study objectives were: 1) to describe the physical characteristics of the streams and quantify the seasonal biodiversity in several streams draining managed forestlands, and 2) test and adapt rapid bioassessment methods. Our results show these streams to have high invertebrate diversity throughout the year with the highest occurring in winter and early spring. The streams and their valleys bad a regionally unique assemblage of plants and animals. Bioassessment values indicated water quality to be fair to good when sampling with the fixed area modified Hess sampler and good to excellent when sampling multiple habitats using a D-frame kicknet. The values were calculated using the rapid assessment methods adapted by SaveOur- Stream (SOS) and the Hilsenhoff Family Biotic Index (FBI). The results of the bioassessment values indicate that the streamside management zones (SMZ's) implemented in these areas of silvicultural activity are effective in maintaining adequate water quality standards and supporting diverse and abundant aquatic life.