Title

Land use and aquatic biointegrity in the Blackfoot River watershed, Montana

Publication Date

1998

Journal or Book Title

JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN WATER RESOURCES ASSOCIATION

Abstract

Benthic macroinvertebrate samples representing 151 taxa were collected in August 1995 to examine the linkage between land use, water quality, and aquatic biointegrity in seven tributaries of the Blackfoot River watershed, Montana. The tributaries represent silvicultural (timber harvesting), agricultural (irrigated alfalfa and hay and livestock grazing), and wilderness land uses. A 2.4 km (1.5 mile) reach of a recently restored tributary also was sampled for comparison with the other six sites. A geographic information system (GIS) was used to characterize the seven subwatersheds and estimate soil erosion, using the Modified Universal Soil Loss Equation, and sediment delivery. The wilderness stream had the highest aquatic biointegrity. Two agricultural streams had the largest estimated soil erosion and sediment delivery rates, the greatest habitat impairment from nonpoint source pollution, and the most impoverished macroinvertebrate communities. The silvicultural subwatersheds had greater rates of estimated soil erosion and sediment delivery and lower aquatic biointegrity than the wilderness reference site but evinced better conditions than the agricultural sites. A multiple-use (forestry, grazing, and wildlife management) watershed and the restored site ranked between the silvicultural and agricultural sites. This spectrum of land use and aquatic biointegrity illustrates both the challenges and opportunities that define watershed management.

DOI

10.1111/j.1752-1688.1998.tb00955.x

Volume

34

Issue

3

Pages

565-581

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