Monitoring the response of wadeable stream communities to the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program in the Kaskaskia River Basin

Lauren E. Hostert, Brian A. Metzke, Leon C. Hinz, Jr., Yong Cao

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) in the USA is a partnership between federal, state, and local land owners that incentivizes the retirement of environmentally sensitive cropland to provide riparian buffers. In Illinois, the purpose of CREP is to reduce sedimentation, improve water quality, and recover habitat for stream biota in the Illinois River and Kaskaskia River basins. The aquatic life monitoring program for biota in the Kaskaskia River Basin began in 2013. Since its onset, the program has collected field data on fish, macroinvertebrate assemblages, water quality, and physical habitat of wadeable streams throughout the Kaskaskia River Basin. A total of 20 wadeable stream sites per year are sampled for basin-wide monitoring through a stratified random sampling design with stream size and USGS-HUC8 sub-basin as strata. For the past two years of monitoring, an additional 10 sites categorized as less-disturbed land use types are also surveyed annually. In addition, we have periodically sampled eight pairs of sites that are environmentally similar, but differ in the percent CREP land in the watershed to detect the potential effects of CREP. Community fish surveys are completed at each sampling site using a single-pass electrofishing technique. Macroinvertebrate samples are collected using a standard multihabitat, 20-jab sampling technique based on the IL-EPA protocol. Both the Illinois Habitat Index (IHI) and the Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index (QHEI) are used for assessing habitat differences among stream sites. The purpose of this report is to give an overview of the current CREP monitoring program efforts in the Kaskaskia River Basin, review the previous phases of the program, and outline future monitoring efforts.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMidwest Fish and Wildlife Conference 2020
StatePublished - 2020


  • INHS


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