Event Title

The Importance of Headwater Streams in Preserving Water Quality: A Case Study for the Kennebec Highlands and Long Pond (Belgrade Lakes, ME)

Presenter Information

Grace Reville, Colby CollegeFollow

Location

Parker-Reed, SSWAC

Start Date

1-5-2014 9:00 AM

End Date

1-5-2014 10:00 AM

Project Type

Poster

Description

Three protected, forested headwater streams flowing into Long Pond in Belgrade watershed were assessed using a combination of structural and functional metrics. Stream metabolism, macroinvertebrate community indices, organic matter decomposition rates, nutrient uptake lengths, and fine particulate organic matter retention were measured to quantify the role of these streams in preserving downstream water quality. The streams were all found to have high water quality and should be considered models for headwater stream conservation. Whittier Stream, the only stream with a road crossing, exhibited the lowest water quality of the three streams across many of the measurements made, including macroinvertebrate indices and increased nutrient uptake lengths indicating a strong link between proximity to human activity and stream health. The findings of this research showcase the strength of conservation efforts along headwater streams, highlighting specific characteristics of these ecosystems that contribute to stream health that can be applied to other stream ecosystems, such as the implementation of a riparian buffer zone and inclusion of retention structures. These characteristics should be incorporated into watershed conservation strategies for impacted streams throughout the Belgrade watershed.

Sponsoring Department

Colby College. Environmental Studies Program

CLAS Field of Study

Interdisciplinary Studies

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

484

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May 1st, 9:00 AM May 1st, 10:00 AM

The Importance of Headwater Streams in Preserving Water Quality: A Case Study for the Kennebec Highlands and Long Pond (Belgrade Lakes, ME)

Parker-Reed, SSWAC

Three protected, forested headwater streams flowing into Long Pond in Belgrade watershed were assessed using a combination of structural and functional metrics. Stream metabolism, macroinvertebrate community indices, organic matter decomposition rates, nutrient uptake lengths, and fine particulate organic matter retention were measured to quantify the role of these streams in preserving downstream water quality. The streams were all found to have high water quality and should be considered models for headwater stream conservation. Whittier Stream, the only stream with a road crossing, exhibited the lowest water quality of the three streams across many of the measurements made, including macroinvertebrate indices and increased nutrient uptake lengths indicating a strong link between proximity to human activity and stream health. The findings of this research showcase the strength of conservation efforts along headwater streams, highlighting specific characteristics of these ecosystems that contribute to stream health that can be applied to other stream ecosystems, such as the implementation of a riparian buffer zone and inclusion of retention structures. These characteristics should be incorporated into watershed conservation strategies for impacted streams throughout the Belgrade watershed.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2014/program/158