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Water quality trends in the Blackwater River watershed, West Virginia

January 1, 2015

An understanding of historic and current water quality is needed to manage and improve aquatic communities within the Blackwater River watershed, WV. The Blackwater River, which historically offered an excellent Salvelinus fontinalis (Brook Trout) fishery, has been affected by logging, coal mining, use of off-road vehicles, and land development. Using information-theoretic methods, we examined trends in water quality at 12 sites in the watershed for the 14 years of 1980–1993. Except for Beaver Creek, downward trends in acidity and upward trends in alkalinity, conductivity, and hardness were consistent with decreases in hydrogen ion concentration. Water-quality trends for Beaver Creek were inconsistent with the other sites and reflect ongoing coal-mining influences. Dissolved oxygen trended downward, possibly due to natural conditions, but remained above thresholds that would be detrimental to aquatic life. Water quality changed only slightly within the watershed from 1980–1993, possibly reflecting few changes in development and land uses during this time. These data serve as a baseline for future water-quality studies and may help to inform management planning.

Publication Year 2015
Title Water quality trends in the Blackwater River watershed, West Virginia
DOI 10.1656/058.014.sp711
Authors Jessica Smith, Stuart A. Welsh, James T. Anderson, Ronald H. Fortney
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Southeastern Naturalist
Index ID 70161809
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Leetown