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Selected biological characteristics of streams in the southeastern Uinta Basin, Utah and Colorado

January 1, 1994

Biological sampling was carried out during 1976-78 in five streams in the southeastern Uinta Basin, Utah and Colorado, in order to provide baseline water-quality data for an area of potential oil-shale development. The biological activity in the streams sampled generally is limited by physical factors more so than by chemical constituents and plant nutrients. Characteristics of streamflow, such as high turbidity, fluctuating water levels, and moderate to high salinity, limit production of flora and fauna biomass. Samples were collected for the determination of bacterial and periphyton concentrations and benthic-invertebrate communities. Bacterial concentrations were generally small, with some fecal contamination, primarily from livestock and wildlife. Members of the order Chlorophyta (green algae) were the major periphytic algae present in three of the streams sampled. Bitter Creek was dominated by members of the order Cyanophyta (blue-green algae), and pennate diatoms were the predominant algae in Willow Creek. The benthic-invertebrate communities generally reflect a nonpolluted environment. Shannon-Weiner diversity indices ranged from 1.14 to 3.08. (USGS)