Effects of siltation on stream fishes and the potential mitigating role of the buffering riparian zone
- 1) Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, The School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri, 112 Stephens Hall, 65211, Columbia, Missouri, USA
Riparian buffer zones serve several important roles in linking a stream to its watershed. A main function is controlling the dynamics of sedimentation. This paper documents how siltation impacts fish communities and how proper riparian management can mitigate the negative effects of sedimentation. Two studies examined the relation between stream siltation and fish community characteristics. Community responses to siltation were poorly described by common structural indices. Community level responses to varying siltation were most consistently described by changes in functional characteristics of the resident fish species using a guild-based analysis. Herbivores, benthic insectivores and simple lithophilous spawners were most sensitive to siltation while other guilds were not. These results were repeatable in both intraregional comparisons among sites of similar size and character, and in interregional comparisons of streams which varied in characteristics besides siltation. This suggests the index may be useful in separating the effects of siltation from other environmental variables. A discussion of bufferstrip characteristics important in mitigating against, or preventing, excess siltation is presented.
- 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
- 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
- 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
- 4 - sylviculture