An aquatic biological survey was conducted in 1979–1980 to determine the effects of drainage from an active coal strip-mine on Trout Creek, in northwest Colorado, U.S.A. Sampling was conducted over four seasons at four stations for periphyton, benthic invertebrates and fish. Periphyton in Trout Creek changed in the relative abundance of algae divisions in no apparent relation to mining. Diatoms were the predominant division at all sites. Golden-brown algae were abundant in spring at the stations upstream and adjacent to the mine. Blue-green algae were relatively important at stations upstream and downstream of the mine in winter. Benthic invertebrates exhibited a progressive increase in density, biomass and number of taxa from the upstream station to the downstream station. Shannon-Wiener diversity index for bethic invertebrates decreased slightly downstream of mine drainage but remained indicative of a clean water community. Aquatic insects (especially Trichoptera) were the predominant invertebrates at all stations. Analysis of functional groups of benthic invertebrates revealed increased importance of collector species at the lower sites while shredders were most important upstream of the mine. Unlike the invertebrates, fish exhibited slightly lower biomass at the station adjacent to the mine. The decrease was due to fewer salmonids. However, salmonid density and biomass increased substantially at the station just downstream of the mine. Non-game species (suckers and minnows) increased in numbers downstream and were most abundant at the lowest station. This coal strip-mine had little discernable adverse effects on the periphyton and invertebrates of Trout Creek. Fish populations did not appear to be significantly affected by the mine. Apparently, the presence of settling ponds and a buffer zone of unmined land between the mine and the stream helped to minimize adverse effects.
- 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
- 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
- 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
- 4 - ecologie animale, vegetale et microbienne