Using Adopt-a-Stream in the coastal plain: a case study in southwest Georgia

350 210 Stroud Water Research Center

Muenz, T.K., S.W. Golladay, L.L. Smith, and G. Vellidis. 2005. Pages 819–822 in K. Hatcher (editor). Proceedings of the 2005 Georgia Water Resources Conference. Athens, Georgia.

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As major threats to Georgia’s waterways continue, volunteer-based monitoring groups such as Georgia Adopt-A-Stream (GA AAS) have become a vital source of information on aquatic ecological condition. Biological monitoring is an important component of the program, with macroinvertebrates serving as the primary tool for assessing water quality. We evaluated the validity and applicability of the GA AAS macroinvertebrate index on three impacted and two reference streams within an agricultural landscape in the Coastal Plain region of southwest Georgia. We compared these findings to a concurrent study that examined the condition of streams impacted by grazing livestock, through water quality, physical and vegetative parameters as well as macroinvertebrate metrics. The GA AAS index for macroinvertebrates proved to be effective in separating sites with different impacts, showing similar results as most invertebrate indices, and appears to be a valid tool to assess the ecological condition of Coastal Plain streams.