The interrelationship of hydrology and biology in a Tennessee stream, USA


Correspondence to: Kimberly Elkin, Environmental Services, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, 440 Hogan Road, Nashville, TN 37220, USA.



Fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI), macroinvertebrate North Carolina Biotic Integrity Index (NCBI) data, and Tennessee Macroinvertebrate Index (TMI) data were collected in 2009 and 2010 along with the hydrology to determine if a golf course water withdrawal was degrading the stream's aquatic life. Campostoma anomalum dominated the stream, and there were low numbers of Ephemeroptera–Plecoptera–Trichoptera (EPT) taxa. Richland Creek is a 28-square-mile watershed located in a highly urbanized area. The golf course withdraws a daily average of 400 000 (1514 cubic metre) gallons of water over a 60 to 155 day period. McCabe Golf Course withdraws >10% of the flow in the low-flow months of June through October. Fish IBI scores were poor throughout Richland Creek with the upstream IBI being higher than downstream of the withdrawal. TMI scores were moderately impaired upstream and downstream of the golf course withdrawal, with the TMI being marginally better upstream of the withdrawal than downstream. The natural flow regime (Annear et al., 2004) is not maintained in Richland Creek because of the urban nature of the stream and the increased stormwater runoff into the stream. Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency's instream flow policy statement states that flow should not be <20% above the September median flow, which is 12 cfs (0·39 cms). The hydrology of the stream is altered by one major water withdrawal with its associated low-head dam as well as urbanization, which affects the fish and macroinvertebrate diversity. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.