Influence of Local Riparian Cover and Watershed Runoff Potential on Invertebrate Communities in Agricultural Streams in the Minnesota River Basin

U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Investigations Report 03-4068

By J.R. ZumBerge1, J.A. Perry2, and K.E. Lee3


Contribution from the National Water-Quality Assessment Program


1 Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Sheridan, Wyoming

2 Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota

3 U.S. Geological Survey, Mounds View, Minnesota


During the summer of 1997, 23 streams in the highly agricultural Minnesota River Basin were studied to determine the influence of local riparian cover conditions (wooded or open) and watershed runoff potential (high or low) on invertebrate community composition. A two by two-factorial analysis of variance was used to determine dfferences in invertebrate community measures among the design classes.

While it is difficult to determine the relative influence of watershed runoff potential and local riparian cover, invertebrate communities may be more strongly influenced by local wooded riparian cover than by watershed runoff potential. Invertebrate community measures indicate greater degradation at the open riparian cover, high runoff potential sites and less degradation at the wooded riparian cover, low runoff potential sites. In addition, differences between streams with wooded riparian cover and sites with open riparian cover were greater in watersheds with high runoff potential. The variance explained by riparian cover and runoff potential is relatively independent of other land-use effects. Wooded riparian cover influences invertebrate community composition by its relation to the other physical environmental variables. This study indicates that wooded riparian cover may be effective in maintaining stream biotic integrity in watersheds dominated by agricultural land use.




Purpose and scope

Description of study area



Analysis of collected data

Influence of local riparian cover and basin runoff potential on invertebrate communities




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