Aquatic Habitat Assessment: Common Methods


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Mark B. Bain and Nathalie J. Stevenson, editors

224 pages

Published by American Fisheries Society, December 1999


This new manual represents the synthesis of a comprehensive survey of the most widely used methods for inland aquatic habitat assessment in North America. Sixteen method chapters detail step-by-step procedures for assessing and describing regional setting, basin attributes, water body identification, stream reaches, macrohabitat, substrate, cover and refuge, bank condition, riparian vegetation, barriers, stream discharge and volume, water velocity, temperature, lake morphometry, and optical and chemical properties. Background information and rationales for selection of the various procedures described in each chapter are also provided.

The growing diversity of habitat assessment approaches used in the United States and Canada makes it increasingly difficult to share data across regions, provinces, states, and even through time within and among single agencies. Many organizations have documented data collection techniques and measurements for their own purposes, but there is a broader need to enhance a comparability among agencies. The purpose of this manual is to reduce the variability in approaches to habitat assessment, while still providing flexibility for selecting practices that vary in effort, cost, precision, and detail.

This book is intended for:

* researchers * educators * managers * writers, and * all others concerned with habitat protection, conservation, and restoration.

Table of Contents

Contributors Symbols and Abbreviations

1. Introduction Mark B. Bain 1.1 Purpose of This Manual 1.2 Development of This Manual 1.3 Selection of Methods and Techniques 1.4 Acknowledgments

2. Approaches to Habitat Analysis 7 Wayne A. Hubert and Eric P. Bergersen 2.1 Inventorying 2.2 Analyzing Habitat Quality 2.3 Monitoring Effects of Land Use 2.4 Assessing Habitat Improvement Activities

3. Regional Setting Marcia S. Meixler 3.1 Introduction 3.2 Ecoregion Identification 3.3 Watershed Identification 3.4 Hydrologic Units 3.5 Physiographic Provinces

4. Drainage Basins Anne S. Gallagher 4.1 Introduction 4.2 Geomorphic Properties 4.3 Stream Order 4.4 Basin Land Cover

5. Water Body Identification Marcia S. Meixler 5.1 Introduction 5.2 Position Identification 5.3 Water Body Coding 5.4 Descriptive Attributes

6.Stream Reach Surveys and Measurements Kristin K. Arend and Mark B. Bain 6.1 Introduction 6.2 Preparation 6.3 Procedures 6.4 Notes

7. Classification of Streams and Reaches Kristin K. Arend 7.1 Introduction 7.2 Rosgen Technique 7.3 Galay System 7.4 Bed Form System

8. Macrohabitat Identification Kristin K. Arend 8.1 Introduction 8.2 Delineation: Channel Feature and Dimension Technique 8.3 Delineation: Bed Form Differencing Technique 8.4 Macrohabitat Classification

9. Substrate Mark B. Bain 9.1 Introduction 9.2 Assessment of Composition: Frequency of Size Classes 9.3 Assessment of Structure: Embeddedness 9.4 Assessment of Size–Frequency Distribution: Pebble Counts

10. Cover and Refuge Nathalie J. Stevenson and Mark B. Bain 10.1 Introduction 10.2 Cover Composition and Abundance 10.3 Structural Complexity 10.4 Cover Density

11. Streambank and Shoreline Condition Nathalie J. Stevenson and Katherine E. Mills 11.1 Introduction 11.2 Streambank and Shoreline Cover 11.3 Bank Shape 11.4 Shoreline Animal Damage

12. Riparian Vegetation Katherine E. Mills and Nathalie J. Stevenson 12.1 Introduction 12.2 General Vegetation Characterization 12.3 Water Side Vegetation Assessment

13. Barriers Anne S. Gallagher 13.1 Introduction 13.2 Assessing Natural and Small Artificial Barriers 13.3 Assessing Large Artificial Dams 13.4 Assessing Stream Habitat Conditions as Potential Barriers

14. Streamflow Anne S. Gallagher and Nathalie J. Stevenson 14.1 Introduction 14.2 Cross Section Measurement 14.3 Stream Gauge Data

15. Temperature Anne S. Gallagher 15.1 Introduction 15.2 Point-in-Time Measurements 15.3 Temperature Monitoring

16. Lake Morphology Anne S. Gallagher 16.1 Introduction 16.2 Lake Dimensions 16.3 Lake Geology

17. Water Transparency Mark B. Bain and Kristin M. Hynd 17.1 Introduction 17.2 Turbidity 17.3 Total Suspended Solids

18. Interpreting Chemical Data Mark B. Bain 18.1 Introduction 18.2 Sources of Water Quality Data 18.3 Common Water Quality Parameters 18.4 Summarizing Water Quality Data

Appendix: Trends in Methods for Assessing Freshwater Habitats Mark B. Bain, Thomas C. Hughes, and Kristin K. Arend A.1 Methods A.2 Results and Discussion A.3 Conclusions

References Index