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Water 2016, 8(4), 143; doi:10.3390/w8040143

Can Rapid Assessments Predict the Biotic Condition of Restored Streams?

1
NC Sea Grant and Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department, Box 8605, NC State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
2
Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department, Box 7625, NC State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
3
Statistics Department, NC State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
4
Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department, NC State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
Current address: Apple Inc., 505 N Mathilda Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94085, USA
Current address: NC Division of Mitigation Services; 217 West Jones St, Raleigh, NC 27603, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: John S. Schwartz
Received: 28 January 2016 / Revised: 14 March 2016 / Accepted: 5 April 2016 / Published: 13 April 2016
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Abstract

Five rapid visual stream assessment methods were applied to 65 restored streams in North Carolina, and the results were correlated with measured macroinvertebrate community metrics to evaluate predictive ability. The USEPA Rapid Bioassessment Protocol (RBP), USDA Stream Visual Assessment Protocol (SVAP), Peterson’s Riparian Channel and Environmental Inventory (RCE), NCSU Eco-Geomorphological Assessment (EGA), and NCSU Stream Performance Assessment (SPA) were applied by teams with expertise in hydrology, fluvial geomorphology, and aquatic ecology. Predictions of most macroinvertebrate metrics were improved by re-weighting assessment variables using principal component analysis (PCA) and including watershed factors (e.g., size, slope, land use). The correlations of EGA, RCE, SPA and SVAP assessment results to macroinvertebrate metrics were most improved by variable re-weighting using PCA, while the correlations of RBP were most improved by adding watershed parameters. Akaike’s Information Criterion (AIC) indicates that PCA re-weighting including watershed parameters improves the predictor model for the total number of dominant EPT taxa more than using the sum total raw points for all five assessment methods. To demonstrate the application of the study results, a single-value index was generated for the RBP method using principal component regression (PCR) based on the EPT (Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera) taxa metric. View Full-Text
Keywords: rivers/streams; restoration; rapid habitat assessment; macroinvertebrates; watersheds rivers/streams; restoration; rapid habitat assessment; macroinvertebrates; watersheds
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Doll, B.; Jennings, G.; Spooner, J.; Penrose, D.; Usset, J.; Blackwell, J.; Fernandez, M. Can Rapid Assessments Predict the Biotic Condition of Restored Streams? Water 2016, 8, 143.

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