Physiological Stress Response of Brown Trout to Stormwater Runoff Events in Rapid Creek, Rapid City, South Dakota
Jack W. Erickson, Scott J. Kenner, and Bruce A. Barton
Abstract.—Urban streams typically have increased flows, high suspended sediment concentrations, and reduced water quality during rainstorms as a result of changes within the watershed related to human activity. In the 6-month periods from May through October of 2001 and 2002, water quality was monitored continuously at five sites along Rapid Creek within Rapid City, South Dakota. Water quality samples were collected for eight base flows (nonevents) and eight storm events. Blood samples were collected from wild adult brown trout Salmo trutta during base flow conditions and six of eight storm events to determine if storm events could elicit physiological stress responses. Blood samples were also collected 24, 48, and 96 h after each storm event had started. Water monitoring results showed significant increases in runoff volume and peak flows during storm events. Water quality parameters exceeding South Dakota’s water quality criteria for a coldwater fishery were total suspended solids and temperature. Plasma concentrations of cortisol and lactate, during and after storm events, were not significantly different than those measured during base flow conditions. Plasma glucose values were lower during storm events than during nonevent periods. These observations were compared to those predicted by a suspended sediment dose–response model developed for adult salmonids. The dose–response model overpredicted the severity of the effects of increased total suspended sediment on the brown trout during stormwater runoff events.