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Assessment of aquatic Ecological health of three sites on Slacks Creek, Queensland, Australia using surface Macro invertebrates

Author Affiliations

  • 1Griffith University, Department of Environmental Science, 170 Kessels Rd, Queensland 4111, AUSTRALIA

Int. Res. J. Environment Sci., Volume 3, Issue (11), Pages 6-13, November,22 (2014)

Abstract

The health of a river depends much on its riparian zone which is strategically positioned to lend them the capacity to influence aquatic processes. Plant communities in riparian zones provide adequate food resources for both terrestrial and aquatic consumers. The species diversity and richness is important for the health of the stream. The objective of the study was to make comparison of the ecological health status of three sites SC01, SC02 and SC03 of Slacks Creek, Queensland Australia which had different riparian conditions. The three sites had different riparian vegetation conditions. Surface water macro invertebrates were sampled at the three sites using standardized AusRivAS protocols. Both riparian vegetation condition and hydraulic characteristics were found to affect the abundance and richness of macro invertebrates in urban areas. Site SC01 and SC02 had relatively high oxygen concentration compared to SC03 whose water was not flowing. The pooled data established 12 taxa consisting of 258 individuals from the 9 samples. Specifically, SC03 had 8 taxa while SC01 and SC02 had 3 and 6 respectively and a Margalef Richness index of 0.64, 0.98 and 0.79 for SC01, SC02 and SC03 respectively. The three sites indicated some similarity at least as demonstrated by Bray Curtis Similarity indicator but SC03 was more dissimilar than the other two. The taxa found in the three sites were comparable with those established by South-east Queensland Ecosystem Health Monitoring Program (EHMP) studies. Site SC03 showed high macro invertebrates taxa richness, as it was a nutrient-poor water body and it was highly covered by submerged vegetation. Site SC02 had no riparian vegetation rehabilitation work had not prevented sediments from reaching the creek thus had higher nutrients accounting for less taxa. Site SC01 showed unexpected result of minimum taxa compared with site SC02, due to the canalization of the stream in upstream which leads to sediment transport to this site. This study showed that aquatic health of urban streams can be improved by providing them with buffering riparian vegetation.

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