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Water 2017, 9(6), 421; doi:10.3390/w9060421

Successes of Restoration and Its Effect on the Fish Community in a Freshwater Tidal Embayment of the Potomac River, USA

1
Department of Environmental Science & Policy, George Mason University, 4400 University Dr., Fairfax, VA 22030, USA
2
Environmental Consulting & Technology. Inc., Ann Arbor, MI 48105, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 April 2017 / Revised: 8 June 2017 / Accepted: 9 June 2017 / Published: 11 June 2017
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Abstract

After a local wastewater treatment plant significantly reduced phosphorus loading into a phytoplankton-dominated tributary of the Potomac River in the early 1980s, water quality and biological communities were monitored bi-weekly from April to September. After a 10-year time-lag, submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), once abundant in this freshwater tidal embayment, returned to the area in 1993. After additional reductions in nitrogen load starting in 2000, the system switched to an SAV-dominated state in 2005. Fish abundance did not change during these distinct phase changes, but the fish community structure did. Increases in SAV provided refuge and additional spawning substrate for species with adhesive eggs such as Banded Killifish (Fundulus diaphanus), which is now the most abundant species in the embayment. Other changes observed were a decrease in the relative contribution of open water dwelling species such as White Perch (Morone americana), and an increase of visual predators such as Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides). The 30-year record of data from this Potomac River tributary has revealed important long-term trends that validate the effectiveness of initiatives to reduce excess nutrient inputs, and will aid in the continued management of the watershed and point-source inputs. View Full-Text
Keywords: fish assemblages; community dynamics; alternate stable states; eutrophication; submerged aquatic vegetation; nutrient load reduction; point-source pollution fish assemblages; community dynamics; alternate stable states; eutrophication; submerged aquatic vegetation; nutrient load reduction; point-source pollution
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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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de Mutsert, K.; Sills, A.; Schlick, C.J.C.; Jones, R.C. Successes of Restoration and Its Effect on the Fish Community in a Freshwater Tidal Embayment of the Potomac River, USA. Water 2017, 9, 421.

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