Upper Mississippi Center

Document Type


Streaming Media

Publication Date

Spring 4-27-2022


Biology | Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology

Description, Abstract, or Artist's Statement

The “urban stream syndrome” refers to a multitude of impacts caused by urbanization including flashier hydrograph, elevated concentrations of nutrients and contaminants, altered channel morphology and stability, reduced biotic richness, with increased dominance of tolerant species, reduced base flow and increased suspended solids. The drivers of these “symptoms” include impervious surfaces, piping in stormwater drainages, habitat and forest loss, water supply and sewer leaking, and direct alterations to channel morphology and flow. The goal of this study was to assess the integrity of the macroinvertebrate community and determine the most significant drivers of such integrity at the catchment, riparian zone, and reach scales.

The study area included eight mixed land use (urban & agricultural) watersheds in Rock Island County, IL and Scott County, IA. Watersheds were delineated using Arc-GIS. Forty-one sampling sites were identified to capture the maximum variation in known drivers of watershed degradation. Macroinvertebrates were sampled using standard dip-netting techniques, with staples apportioned to different in-stream habitats weights by habitat abundance. Water quality data was collected monthly for the following parameters: total dissolved solids (TDS), total suspended solids (TSS) dissolved oxygen (DO), phosphate, and discharge. Sub-catchment basins above each sampling site were then delineated and used to quantify upstream landscape characteristics using available geospatial data including land cover, total impervious surface and within a 5m buffer of streams, etc. The family biotic index (FBI), a measure of integrity in relation to organic pollution tolerance was calculated.