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  EUSE - Habitat  


PhotographThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) reported in their 2000 National Water Quality Inventory report that 13% of the impairments reported in assessed rivers and streams were due to urban runoff and storm sewers (USEPA, 2002). Degradation of the chemical, physical, and biological stream compartments in response to urban land covers is well-documented in governmental and professional literature (USEPA, 1984; Wang and others, 2001; Wang and others, 2003). In 2001 the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program launched the Effects of Urbanization on Stream Ecosystems (EUSE) Study to investigate the relationship between urbanization and stream ecosystem health (Couch and Hamilton, 2002). Sites were centered in a number of urban areas around the country, including 30 sites located in the Milwaukee and Green Bay areas. Selected sites spanned the range of watershed urban densities, as defined by McMahon and Cuffney (2000). Click for location of WMIC sites sampled for habitat, in association with the EUSE Study

Each site included in the EUSE Study was sampled for surface water quality and flow, fish, benthic macroinvertebrate and algae community composition, and habitat characteristics. Habitat assessments are an important component of ecological sampling efforts. In addition to providing measures of landuse impacts to the stream, habitat assessments complement the biological community surveys by providing descriptive measures of the physical environment influencing stream biota (Bain and Stevenson, 1999; Fitzpatrick and others, 1998). Habitat assessments were performed for the EUSE Study in conjunction with macroinvertebrate and algae community surveys in August and September of 2004. Measurements taken include such parameters as wetted stream width, bankfull width, instantaneous velocity, channel aspect, canopy cover, and bed substrate composition.

Other Items :


Bain, M.B. and Stevenson, N.J. , 1999, Aquatic habitat assessment-common methods: Bethesda , Md., American Fisheries Society, 216 p.

Couch, C. and Hamilton, P., 2002, Effects of urbanization on stream ecosystems: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet FS-042-02.

Fitzpatrick, F.A., Waite, I.R., D'Arcone, P.J., Meador, M.R., Maupin, M.A., and Gurtz , M.E., 1998, Revised methods for characterizing stream habitat in the National Water-Quality Assessment Program: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 98-4052, 67 p.

McMahon, G., and Cuffney, T.F., 2000, Quantifying urban intensity in drainage basins for assessing stream ecological conditions: Journal of the American Water Resources Association, v. 36, no. 6, p. 1247-1261.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1984, Report to Congress-nonpoint source pollution in the US: Office of Water Program Operations, Water Planning Division EPA841-R-84-100 [go to http://nepis.epa.gov/pubtitleOW.htm and search for publication number 841R84100].

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2002, National water quality inventory-2000 report: Office of Water EPA-841-R-02-001.

Wang, L., Lyons, J., Kanehl, P., and Bannerman, R., 2001, Impacts of urbanization on stream habitat and fish across multiple scales: Environmental Management, v. 28, no. 2, p. 255-266.

Wang, L., Lyons, J., and Kanehl, P., 2003, Impacts of urban land cover in trout streams in Wisconsin and Minnesota: Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, v. 132, p. 825-839.


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Surface Water and Ecology
Ground Water
Urbanization Effects
WMIC Publications

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