Aquatic Invertebrate Monitoring at Wilson's Creek National Battlefield

Wilson's Creek at Wilson's Creek National Battlefield
Wilson's Creek flows through the National Battlefield.

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.
Stream Condition Index for Wilson's Creek National Battlefield
Condition Index for streams at Wilson's Creek National Battlefield. (16-20 not impaired, 10-14 impaired, 4-8 very impaired)

NPS

Since 1996, water quality, habitat, and aquatic insect communities have varied year to year. Scientists found that water quality of Wilson’s Creek was impaired. Great amounts of E. coli were also found. Wilson’s Creek is impacted by chemical runoff, urban development, and a nearby wastewater treatment facility. The two tributaries, Skegg’s Branch and Terrell Creek, were not impaired. But, the effects of urban development associated with the growth of Republic, MO is starting impact the quality of Skegg’s Branch. More monitoring may allow insight into trends occurring in the streams.
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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.