Stream Biota

Two hands grasp a 2-foot long eel over a red plastic container
An American eel documented during stream biota monitoring at Catoctin Mountain Park. Photo: NPS/Nortrup

Importance

Water quality, aquatic communities, and aquatic habitats indicate a great deal about the condition of a stream and its watershed. Fish and benthic macroinvertebrates are sensitive to low-level chemical, physical, and biological disturbances and therefore function as continuous monitors of system integrity. They are sensitive to water quality changes that chemical monitoring alone may fail to detect. The physical habitat structure and water quality in turn serve as the abiotic habitat template upon which fish and benthic macroinvertebrates must live. Together these three components (stream physical habitat, fish, and benthic macroinvertebrates) are the basis of the biological stream survey protocol.

Jump to:
Fish Resource Briefs
Macroinvertebrate Resource Briefs
Stream Physical Habitat Resource Briefs
Reports & Data
Quick Reads

Monitoring

The NCRN monitored using the biological stream survey protocol between 2007 and 2014. Monitoring sites were spread across Antietam National Battlefield, Catoctin Mountain Park, George Washington Memorial Parkway, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Manassas National Battlefield Park, Monocacy National Battlefield, National Capital Parks - East, Prince William Forest Park, Rock Creek Park, and Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts. Baseline monitoring data for thirty-seven sites is now available.

Monitoring of fish, benthic macroinvertebrates, and stream physical habitat provides estimates of the condition of non-tidal first through fourth order streams and rivers of the NCRN on a watershed as well as a regional scale. For fish and benthic macroinvertebrates, the specific data gathered and its analysis follow the format of an Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI); a tool developed for the region's fish and benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages. Stream physical habitat assessment uses data including stream width, riparian zone vegetation, degree of vegetated steam buffer, surrounding landuse, extent of stream channelization, degree of stream erosion, and many more to determine a physical habitat index rating for the stream.

Objectives

  • Determine current conditions and track long-term trends in water resource condition measured by physical habitat, fish, and benthic macroinvertebrates.
  • Determine trends in species composition and functional groups of fish and benthic macroinvertebrates.
  • Use monitoring data to detect invasions of non-native fishes.

Documents

Resource Briefs - Fish

Source: Data Store Saved Search 1636. To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

Resource Briefs - Macroinvertebrates

Source: Data Store Saved Search 1637. To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

Resource Briefs - Stream Physical Habitat

Source: Data Store Saved Search 1638. To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

Reports

Source: Data Store Saved Search 1301. To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

Protocols

Source: Data Store Saved Search 1612. To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

Data

Source: Data Store Saved Search 1619. To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

Quick Reads

Loading results...