The analysis described in this report is part of a longterm project monitoring the biological communities, habitat, and water quality of the Fountain Creek Basin. Biology, habitat, and water-quality data have been collected at 10 sites since 2003. These data include annual samples of aquatic invertebrate communities, fish communities, water quality, and quantitative riverine habitat. This report examines trends in biological communities from 2003 to 2016 and explores relationships between biological communities and abiotic variables (antecedent streamflow, physical habitat, and water quality). Six biological metrics (three invertebrate and three fish) and four individual fish species were used to examine trends in these data and how streamflow, habitat, and (or) water quality may explain these trends. The analysis of 79 trends shows that the majority of significant trends decreased over the trend period. Overall, 19 trends before adjustments for streamflow in the fish (12) and invertebrate (7) metrics were all decreasing except for the metric Invertebrate Species Richness at the most upstream site in Monument Creek. Seven of these trends were explained by streamflow and four trends were revealed that were originally masked by variability in antecedent streamflow. Only two sites (Jimmy Camp Creek at Fountain, CO and Fountain Creek near Pinon, CO) had no trends in the fish or invertebrate metrics. Ten of the streamflow-adjusted trends were explained by habitat, one was explained by water quality, and five were not explained by any of the variables that were tested. Overall, from 2003 to 2016, all the fish metric trends were decreasing with an average decline of 40 percent, and invertebrate metrics decreased on average by 9.5 percent. A potential peak streamflow threshold was identified above which there is severely limited production of age-0 flathead chub (Platygobio gracilis).
|Title||Changes in biological communities of the Fountain Creek Basin, Colorado, 2003–2016, in relation to antecedent streamflow, water quality, and habitat|
|Authors||James Roberts, James F. Bruce, Robert E. Zuellig|
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Series Title||Scientific Investigations Report|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Colorado Water Science Center|