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Project ID: 2004WV32B

Title: Stream Chemical Variability in Time and Space with Relation to Monongahela National Forest Geology and Utilization by Brook Trout and Associated Species

Project Type: Research

Focus Categories: Hydrogeochemistry, Acid Deposition, Nutrients

Keywords: Acid Deposition Input, Geochemical Processes, Stream Acid Neutralization Capacity, Stream Variability (space and time), Fish Response, Calcium Requirement (levels and cycling), Watershed Management Implications

Start Date: 05/01/2004

End Date: 12/20/2005

Federal Funds: $13,265

Non-Federal Matching Funds: $33,490

Congressional District: West Virginia 1st District

Principal Investigators:
Stuart A. Welsh

Donald Craig Gasper


There has been stream chemistry collected for some time, but reviews indicate it is seldom intensive enough. Many questions remain. We would collect spring normal and summer low flows for 2 years from 100 Monongahela National Forest streams. Last fall Trout Unlimited helped the U.S.F.S. collect these same samples and T.U. paid $2,500 for lab fees at the WV University Coal and Energy Lab. The U.S.F.S. does not have money for this. Trout Unlimited will again have some money, and a lot of “in-kind” hours of coordination and travel to enable the project, and T.U. is requesting this grant.

The U.S.F.S. is prepared to manage the grant and expenditures from it. The U.S.F.S. Aquatic Biologist will supervise the analysis of the data and the intern(s) to gather and interpret data.

W.V. D.N.R. has stated ¼ of W.Va.’s trout stream reaches have become barren over the last 50 years due to Acid Rain. They are most infertile and acid in their upstream reaches and in the springtime. Fish loss occurs first in the headwaters and in the springtime. The Native Brook Trout is the most acid tolerant. There are “Brook Trout only” reaches, reaches reinvaded without reproduction, reproductive reaches, and richer reaches with other species of fish – and of course barren reaches. Though 100 streams are sampled, we hope to infer conditions in over 400 reaches. This changes as chemical changes occur in time and space – and is related to geology. We will explore visual presentation of this. From firm monthly averages using literature and other data we can infer episodic exposures to toxic aluminum and low pH with low calcium. We can further infer and interpret fish utilization based on the fish’s Acid Stress Index and the streams Acid Neutralization Capacity. We will examine calcium supply, cycling and requirement from infertile watersheds for fish habitation, and the concept of trout non-dietary nutrition of dissolved calcium.

Progress/Completion Report PDF

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Maintained by: John Schefter
Last Updated: Wednesday July 13, 2005 6:14 PM
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