Benthic Macroinvertebrate Fauna in Small Streams Used by Cattle in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia

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Cattle production is a common land use, and the adverse effects of cattle grazing on stream habitat and macroinvertebrates has been well docu-mented. The purpose of our study was to provide a list of taxa that can be expected to occur in small streams impacted by cattle in the southern Blue Ridge Mountains and to demonstrate how taxon-specific natural history information can be used to gain insight about benthic habitat condition. We identified 97 benthic macroinvertebrate taxa from five cattle-impacted streams that differed in cattle grazing intensity. Our findings suggest that some macroinvertebrate taxa can sustain low levels of cattle grazing and that sedimentation is a major stressor to the macroinvertebrate fauna.