EPA Science Inventory

Lake shore and littoral habitat structure: a field survey method and its precision

Citation:

KAUFMANN, P. R., R. M. HUGHES, J. Van Sickle, T. R. WHITTIER, C. SEELIGER, AND S. G. PAULSEN. Lake shore and littoral habitat structure: a field survey method and its precision. LAKE AND RESERVOIR MANAGEMENT. Taylor & Francis Group, London, Uk, 30:157-176, (2014).

Description:

Until recently, lake physical habitat assessment has been and underemployed tool for assessing lake and reservoir ecological condition. Herein, we outline and evaluate a rapid (2 persons: 1.5-3.5 h) field sampling and analytical approach for quantifying near-shore physical habitat as employed in USEPA regional (Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program, EMAP) and national (National Lake Assessment, NLA) surveys. We quantify the measurement precision of physical habitat metrics based on a NLA probability sample of 1100 lakes in the conterminous U.S., including repeat sampling on a random subsample of 90 lakes during the same summer. We assess the precision and biological relevance of indices of littoral physical habitat complexity, fish cover, substrate, aquatic macrophytes, riparian vegetation, and shoreline human disturbances. Repeat measurement standard deviations of NLA physical habitat metrics were mostly <10% of their observed ranges, substantially more precise than those from an earlier EMAP survey and demonstrating the value of increasing the number of % areal cover classes for habitat attributes. Intolerant fish species richness decreased, and tolerant fish species increased, with increased anthropogenic disturbances and reductions in the abundance and structural complexity of riparian vegetation and littoral cover. Similarly, the percentage of neotropical migrant birds decreased, and the richness of tolerant birds increased, with increased anthropogenic disturbances and reductions in the abundance and structural complexity of riparian vegetation and littoral cover. We conclude that the NLA physical habitat field approach produced metrics and indices with precision adequate for regional and national assessments of lake condition. Furthermore, their response to anthropogenic stress and clear association with biotic assemblage composition and structure strongly suggest that these habitat measures quantify biologically relevant characteristics of near-shore lake environments.

Purpose/Objective:

Until recently, lake physical habitat assessment has been and underemployed tool for assessing lake and reservoir ecological condition.

URLs/Downloads:

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Start Date: 04/01/2014
Completion Date: 04/01/2014
Record Last Revised: 08/13/2014
Record Created: 09/27/2011
Record Released: 09/27/2011
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 238486

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB

WESTERN ECOLOGY DIVISION

FRESHWATER ECOLOGY BRANCH