Determining Impacts to Aquatic Biota from Reservoir Releases
Lewallen, E. Aylin
Renner, James F.
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Golder Associates Inc. (Golder) monitored the biological community in the Conasauga River in northwest Georgia for seven years to determine if it was adversely affected by releases from Dalton Utilities’ River Road Reservoir. Twelve Federally protected mussel and fish species inhabit the Conasauga River, and identifying and quantifying impacts to rare aquatic species has been extremely challenging. Review of the data collected throughout the sevenyear study showed that there were no impacts to the aquatic biota as a result of reservoir releases into the river. In addition, our review showed that some data sets were more useful than others in assessing impacts and that some methods did not produce useful data. For similar projects in the future, Golder recommends intensive monitoring at fewer locations, collecting physiological data (length-weight) in addition to population numbers for fishes, careful habitat affinity correlation, and quantitative habitat mapping when attempting to identify impacts to extremely rare aquatic species.