Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Sherry L. Harrel

Department Affiliation

Biological Sciences

Second Advisor

Walter S. Borowski

Department Affiliation

Geosciences

Third Advisor

Amy Braccia

Department Affiliation

Biological Sciences

Abstract

Globally, anthropogenic disturbance has altered many aquatic habitats, including lotic waters. Flowing, fresh water sustains life on Earth yet suffers the resulting waste products. Native, locally adapted ecosystems integrate or eliminate the byproducts of life. However an increase of human population, poor agricultural practices, accelerated overland runoff, a non-point source of pollution, and wastewater treatment plants (WTP), a point source of pollution, have all placed a strain on the world’s flowing, fresh, waters. The de-commissioning of two WTPs in the Kentucky River basin, and the commissioning of a new WTP in an adjacent watershed, provided an opportunity to examine the effects of WTPs and land-use for potentially influencing stream degradation. Using multi-metric bioassessments for habitat, fishes, and macroinvertebrates this study sought to evaluate the relative health of both streams and establish a reference survey of the habitat and biota of these two streams, relative to the presence of a wastewater treatment facility. Although WTP activity has impacted both streams it is apparent that it is only one component responsible for the overall impairment of these streams.

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