Title

The Effects of the Goat Creek Fire Complex on Water Quality and Macroinvertebrate Communities in First-Order Streams within the Rock Creek Drainage

Presenter Information

Leif Howard

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

The 2017 Montana fire season provides an excellent opportunity to study the wildfire impacts of wildfire on freshwater systems. Rocky Mountain streams experience fire as a natural part of their disturbance regime. Fire suppression and climate change have led to more frequent and intense burn events. Fire can affect taxonomic diversity of stream macroinvertebrates by reducing or enhancing habitat depending upon the needs of different taxa. The recovery time of a stream is likely to be affected by both the intensity of fire effects on important stream variables as well as the tolerance of each species to altered conditions. Strong reductions in populations can also put populations at risk of extirpation. Many studies have measured changes to macroinvertebrate communities and to water quality following wildfire events. Like previous research, this study is designed to measure the presence of an effect of wildfire on temp, pH, conductivity and dissolved oxygen and macroinvertebrate assemblages in first-order streams at both the community and family level. To further the collective knowledge on the effects of wildfire to water quality and macroinvertebrate assemblages, this study also aims to corelate measured effects to water quality to specific shifts in macroinvertebrate assemblages. To measure the effect of the fires, temperature, pH, DO, conductivity and macroinvertebrate samples were taken from three reaches each on six first-order streams within the Rock Creek drainage in Western Montana. Data was collected prior to the 2018 runoff and following the 2018 runoff period. Identification is currently ongoing and statistical analysis is forthcoming. Fire ecology research is particularly important in a time in which historical wildfire management policies are being debated. The results of this study will refine our resolution on the effects of wildfire on freshwater systems and will either indicate resilience of, or changes to water quality and macroinvertebrate assemblages.

Category

Life Sciences

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Apr 17th, 10:00 AM Apr 17th, 10:20 AM

The Effects of the Goat Creek Fire Complex on Water Quality and Macroinvertebrate Communities in First-Order Streams within the Rock Creek Drainage

UC 330

The 2017 Montana fire season provides an excellent opportunity to study the wildfire impacts of wildfire on freshwater systems. Rocky Mountain streams experience fire as a natural part of their disturbance regime. Fire suppression and climate change have led to more frequent and intense burn events. Fire can affect taxonomic diversity of stream macroinvertebrates by reducing or enhancing habitat depending upon the needs of different taxa. The recovery time of a stream is likely to be affected by both the intensity of fire effects on important stream variables as well as the tolerance of each species to altered conditions. Strong reductions in populations can also put populations at risk of extirpation. Many studies have measured changes to macroinvertebrate communities and to water quality following wildfire events. Like previous research, this study is designed to measure the presence of an effect of wildfire on temp, pH, conductivity and dissolved oxygen and macroinvertebrate assemblages in first-order streams at both the community and family level. To further the collective knowledge on the effects of wildfire to water quality and macroinvertebrate assemblages, this study also aims to corelate measured effects to water quality to specific shifts in macroinvertebrate assemblages. To measure the effect of the fires, temperature, pH, DO, conductivity and macroinvertebrate samples were taken from three reaches each on six first-order streams within the Rock Creek drainage in Western Montana. Data was collected prior to the 2018 runoff and following the 2018 runoff period. Identification is currently ongoing and statistical analysis is forthcoming. Fire ecology research is particularly important in a time in which historical wildfire management policies are being debated. The results of this study will refine our resolution on the effects of wildfire on freshwater systems and will either indicate resilience of, or changes to water quality and macroinvertebrate assemblages.