Aquatic Invertebrate Monitoring at Pea Ridge National Military Park

Winton Spring branch at Pea Ridge National Military Park
Winton Spring branch at Pea Ridge National Military Park.

NPS-Photo

Scientists use established methods to track aquatic invertebrates and assess stream water quality conditions. Aquatic invertebrates can include insect larvae, worms, crayfish, snails, and other animals without backbones. Many invertebrates live in a stream for several months, which exposes them to changing water quality conditions over time. When scientists monitor aquatic invertebrates, they can find out what species are present and their tolerance level to pollution and disturbances. Some species can live in poor water quality conditions, while others need cleaner conditions. Aquatic invertebrate communities can serve as the "canary in the coal mine" for water quality of a stream.
EPT Richness Graph for 3 streams at Pea Ridge NMP
Graph depicting EPT Richness for three streams at Pea Ridge National Military Park.

NPS

Since 2009, there has been no substantial change in the aquatic invertebrate community, water quality, or habitat among streams. Scientists found many species that are intolerant to poor water quality conditions. This shows the streams are currently in good condition. Habitat in Pea Ridge National Military Park's streams are similar to other regional streams.

Potential threat to stream quality occur in the watershed. For instance, farming and urban development occur near the park. This presents managers with a problem- what should they do? Maintaing and widening riparian areas near streams can help protect the aquatic life and reduce erosion. This would decrease chemical runoff and sediment from entering the stream.
View the full report. (pdf)

Learn more about the Heartland Inventory & Monitoring Network.



Data in this report were collected and analyzed using methods based on established, peer-reviewed protocols and were analyzed and interpreted within the guidelines of the protocols.

Last updated: March 16, 2018