Integrating GIS with Benthic Metrics: Calibrating a Biotic Index to Effectively Discriminate Stream Impacts in Urban Areas of the Blackland Prairie Eco-Region
Description: Rapid Bioassessment Protocols integrate a suite of community, population, and functional metrics, determined from the collection of benthic macroinvertebrates or fish, into a single assessment. This study was conducted in Dallas County Texas, an area located in the blackland prairie eco-region that is semi-arid and densely populated. The objectives of this research were to identify reference streams and propose a set of metrics that are best able to discriminate between differences in community structure due to natural variability from those caused by changes in water quality due to watershed impacts. Using geographic information systems, a total of nine watersheds, each representing a different mix of land uses, were chosen for evaluation. A total of 30 metrics commonly used in RBP protocols were calculated. Efficacy of these metrics to distinguish change was determined using several statistical techniques. Ten metrics were used to classify study area watersheds according to stream quality. Many trends, such as taxa presence along habitat quality gradients, were observed. These gradients coincided with expected responses of stream communities to landscape and habitat variables.
Date: December 2003
Creator: Earnest, Steven F. P.