Assessing the impact of nutrient enrichment in Utah
Rivers in the western U.S. rivers are experiencing changes in nutrient loading because of rapid urban development, but the effects of changing nutrient loading on the structure and function of stream ecosystems, especially fish habitat, are not fully understood. The Henry’s Fork of the Snake River in east Idaho is a wide, shallow, clear, spring-fed river whose fish habitat is primarily provided by nutrient-sensitive macrophytes and is experiencing nutrient loading changes from commercial and residential development in its watershed. The goal of this study is to investigate connections between nutrient availability, ecosystem structure, and fish habitat in in the Henry’s Fork. The goal of This project is to produce predictive models of fish habitat given certain levels of nutrient enrichment. The model could assist local and County area businesses, and State, Federal, and nonprofit resource managers in mitigating human development for the benefit of river ecosystems. The project could also contribute to understanding of how changing nutrient loading may affect stream ecosystem structure and function and ultimately affect fish habitat.