During summer 2008, we studied the geographic distribution and conservation status of crayfishes within the Cheat River basin of the upper Monongahela River drainage. Stream sites (n = 73) were selected with a probabilistic sampling design, whereas one reservoir (Cheat Lake) and seven terrestrial sites for burrowing crayfishes were selected non-randomly. Stream crayfishes were seined or hand-collected following standardized protocols, and physical habitat and physiochemical water quality parameters were recorded at each site. Cambarus b. bartonii, C. carinirostris, and Orconectes obscurus were initially documented within the Cheat River basin in 1956. Surveys conducted in the late 1980s documented the presence of C. carinirostris, C. dubius, C. monongalensis, and O. obscurus. Our data on crayfish distributions from 2008 are consistent with those of the late 1980s. Survey data from 1956, however, indicated depauperate populations of Cambarus throughout the basin during a time period of basin-wide habitat and water quality degradation. Currently, C. carinirostris is abundant throughout the Cheat River system, except in areas with low pH and elevated conductivity. Orconectes obscurus populations within the Cheat River basin are stable and occur primarily in higher stream orders. Future astacological efforts in the Cheat River basin, however, are needed to define the distribution of the basins two burrowing species, C. dubius and C. monongalensis.
|Title||Zoogeography, conservation, and ecology of crayfishes within the Cheat River basin of the Upper Monongehela River drainage, West Virginia|
|Authors||Stuart A. Welsh|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Proceedings of the West Virginia Academy of Science|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Coop Res Unit Leetown|