Coolwater streams are relatively uncommon in Illinois, but support several species of conservation concern. These streams maintain thermal habitats for a broad array of species so even small changes in temperature could shift stream thermal regimes and impact species distributions and local communities. Coolwater stream reaches were identified using observed temperatures that met a mean daily July temperature threshold of less than 21.5°C or known locations of fish species associated with coolwaters in Illinois (Brook Stickleback, Longnose Dace, Mottled Sculpin). To assess the vulnerability of these coolwater reaches, we are monitoring stream temperature at 31 sites in northern Illinois and developing statewide stream temperature and fish distribution models using existing data. These models will be used to assess the vulnerability (exposure and sensitivity) of coolwater streams to changes in landcover and climate by examining a range of potential conditions. Further analysis will examine how thermal regimes of coolwater streams are influenced by geologic, climatic and landcover characteristics. We will also examine potential changes in fish species distributions and functional isolation of coolwater reaches associated with landcover and climate change scenarios.
|Title of host publication
|Society for Freshwater Science 2015 Annual Meeting, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
|Published - 2015