Stream macroinvertebrates and amphibians as indicators of ecosystem stress: a case study from the Coastal Plain, Georgia

350 210 Stroud Water Research Center

Muenz, T.K., S.W. Golladay, G. Vellidis, and L.L. Smith. 2003. Pages 354–357 in K. Hatcher (editor). Proceedings of the 2003 Georgia Water Resources Conference. Athens, Georgia.


Conservation buffers are one strategy adopted by various federal and state agencies to aid in the reduction of agricultural impacts on surface and ground water systems. A diversified row crop and beef cattle operation located on a tributary of the Lower Chattahoochee River in Early County, southwest Georgia was the selected site for this study. A suite of indicators were chosen to evaluate the impact of agriculture on three unfenced and two fenced stream sites. Preliminary results provide no discernible differences in herpetofaunal captures between sites, except for larval salamanders captured within bimonthly invertebrate samples, which were more abundant at fenced sites. Percentages of EPT, Coleoptera and Crustacea were also higher at fenced sites, which also showed lower levels of nitrate-N, suspended solids, and fecal coliforms. Exclusion sites, which had been fenced out three years prior to this study, suggest some recovery from cattle impacts.

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