Presentation Title

Water Quality Assessment of the Clark Fork River in Montana Using Benthic Macroinvertebrates as Bioindicators

Start Date

November 2016

End Date

November 2016

Location

HUB 302-#102

Type of Presentation

Poster

Abstract

Decades of mining activity in Western Montana resulted in heavy metal contamination of the Clark Fork River (CFR) and neighboring aquatic ecosystems. Heavy metals found in the CFR include arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), copper (Cu), and zinc (Zn), which can affect the presence of sensitive aquatic macroinvertebrate taxa. Our goals were to evaluate the diversity of aquatic macroinvertebrates at various distances from the Anaconda mining site and assess if restoration of the CFR, conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) of Montana, has been effective since it was named a Superfund site. We collected macroinvertebrate samples from seven sites along the CFR and one reference site at Rock Creek. Samples were collected using a D-framed kick net and preserved in ethanol for later identification to family and genus level. Macroinvertebrates were categorized by a biotic tolerance index and used to calculate ratios of the most sensitive orders Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera (EPT) to generate an EPT ratio. Our sample sites were located from the headwaters of the CFR at Silver Bow Creek to the furthest reach at Sha-ron near the city of Missoula. Remediation of the Superfund sites along the CFR are predicted to take 10-12 years since they began clean-up activities; therefore, if restoration procedures have been effective, similar strategies can be used for other Superfund sites on the National Priorities List (NPL).

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Nov 12th, 4:00 PM Nov 12th, 5:00 PM

Water Quality Assessment of the Clark Fork River in Montana Using Benthic Macroinvertebrates as Bioindicators

HUB 302-#102

Decades of mining activity in Western Montana resulted in heavy metal contamination of the Clark Fork River (CFR) and neighboring aquatic ecosystems. Heavy metals found in the CFR include arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), copper (Cu), and zinc (Zn), which can affect the presence of sensitive aquatic macroinvertebrate taxa. Our goals were to evaluate the diversity of aquatic macroinvertebrates at various distances from the Anaconda mining site and assess if restoration of the CFR, conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) of Montana, has been effective since it was named a Superfund site. We collected macroinvertebrate samples from seven sites along the CFR and one reference site at Rock Creek. Samples were collected using a D-framed kick net and preserved in ethanol for later identification to family and genus level. Macroinvertebrates were categorized by a biotic tolerance index and used to calculate ratios of the most sensitive orders Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera (EPT) to generate an EPT ratio. Our sample sites were located from the headwaters of the CFR at Silver Bow Creek to the furthest reach at Sha-ron near the city of Missoula. Remediation of the Superfund sites along the CFR are predicted to take 10-12 years since they began clean-up activities; therefore, if restoration procedures have been effective, similar strategies can be used for other Superfund sites on the National Priorities List (NPL).