Increased urbanization in the United States has created unique challenges and stressors to lotic systems, including higher pollution rates, increased runoff and flooding, and degradation of instream habitats. In response to the growing number of degraded urban streams, stream restoration projects have become more common, but the growing number of stream restoration projects has not been matched with an increase in post-restoration ecological assessments to determine their effectiveness. From 2005-2012, instream and riparian habitats of an 8-mile reach of the West Branch of the DuPage River were improved to restore ecological function and to benefit stream fish communities. We conducted a two-year post-project evaluation of the restoration of the West Branch, using the East Branch of the DuPage River as a reference stream. The objective of this study was to examine the differences between the two streams in terms of physical habitat quality, water quality, macroinvertebrate community, and fish community. As expected, results showed higher quality instream habitat on the restored West Branch that was correlated with a shift from high abundances of cyprinids to higher abundances of centrarchids. Despite the shift toward more abundant centrarchids, there was little difference in fish species richness and diversity indices between streams. Smallmouth bass abundance, especially young-of-the-year and juveniles, was greater on the West Branch, indicating that instream restoration had positive impacts on the smallmouth bass recruitment by providing high quality juvenile rearing habitats. Changes in fish community metrics and their relationship to changes in macroinvertebrate community will be described.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Great Waters, Great Lands, Great Responsibilities: 76th Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference, 24-27 January 2016, Grand Rapids, Michigan|
|State||Published - 2016|