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Ecological Status of Wyoming Streams, 2000-2003

September 14, 2007

The ecological status of perennial streams in Wyoming was determined and compared with the status of perennial streams throughout 12 States in the western United States, using data collected as part of the Western Pilot Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP-West). Results for Wyoming are compared and contrasted in the context of the entire EMAP-West study area (west-wide) and climatic regions (based on aggregated ecoregions) within Wyoming. In Wyoming, ecological status, estimated as the proportion of the perennial stream length in least disturbed, most disturbed, and intermediate disturbance condition, based on ecological indicators of vertebrate and invertebrate assemblages was similar, in many cases, to the status of those assemblages determined for EMAP-West. Ecological status based on chemical and physical habitat stressors also was similar in Wyoming to west-wide proportions in many cases. Riparian disturbance was one of the most common physical stressors west-wide and in Wyoming. The estimates of riparian disturbance indicated about 90 percent of the stream length in the xeric climatic region in Wyoming was rated most disturbed, compared to about 30 percent rated most disturbed in the mountain climatic region in Wyoming.

Results from analyses using a macroinvertebrate multi-metric index (MMI) and macroinvertebrate ratio of observed to expected taxa (O/E) developed specifically for the west-wide EMAP study were compared to results using a macroinvertebrate MMI and O/E developed for Wyoming. Proportions of perennial stream length in various condition categories determined from macroinvertebrate MMIs often were similar in Wyoming to proportions observed west-wide. Differences were larger, but not extreme, between west-wide and Wyoming O/E models. An aquatic life use support decision matrix developed for interpreting the Wyoming MMI and O/E model data indicated about one-half of the stream length statewide achieves the State's narrative aquatic life use criteria, and the remainder of the stream length either exceeds the criteria, indicating partial or non-support of aquatic life Wyominguses, or is undetermined. These results provide initial estimates of aquatic life use support at a statewide basis as required for 305(b) reporting, and coupled with current and future State-level probability survey designs, a foundation for tracking conditions over time at multiple scales.

Publication Year 2007
Title Ecological Status of Wyoming Streams, 2000-2003
DOI 10.3133/sir20075130
Authors David A. Peterson, Eric G. Hargett, Peter R. Wright, Jeremy R. Zumberge
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2007-5130
Index ID sir20075130
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Wyoming Water Science Center