The Influence of Dams on Fish Communities and Associated Habitat in the St. Joseph River Watershed, Indiana

  • Daragh J. Deegan City of Elkhart, Public Works and Utilities Department
  • Joseph P. Foy City of Elkhart, Public Works and Utilities Department, Elkhart
  • Lynn A. Brabec City of Elkhart, Public Works and Utilities Department
  • Len M. Kring U.S. Forest Service, Hoosier National Forest
Keywords: dams, fish community, IBI, QHEI, Saint Joseph River

Abstract

We evaluated the influence of dams on fish communities and river habitat using data gathered on the St. Joseph River and Elkhart River in north-central Indiana from 1998 to 2016. Comparisons of Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) and Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index (QHEI) values above and below dams on these two rivers generally indicate moderate impairment to fish communities and habitat upstream of dams and in impounded areas of both rivers. Across all sites a comparison of mean index scores for the IBI, QHEI, and metrics within both indices indicate significantly higher quality fish communities and habitats outside of impounded areas on the St. Joseph River.

Published
2019-11-06
Section
Ecology