Boardman River Recovery Research – AuSable Institute of Environmental Studies


Macroinvertebrate rates of recovery after dam removal on the Boardman River


Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies, 7526 Sunset Trial NE, Mancelona, MI 49659, USA


The damming of rivers has been known to have detrimental effects on river quality (Baxter 1977, Ligon et al 1995, Cantwell et al 2014). The removal of dams may also have negative impacts on streams, however, this is not as well studied (Chessman 1995, Muotka et al 2002, Rehn et al 2007). This study seeks to document the impacts on the macroinvertebrate community from a dam removal in 2012 and determine macroinvertebrate recovery over the next two years on the Boardman River in Grand Traverse County, Michigan, USA. Macroinvertebrate communities at four sites were evaluated: two sites upstream and two sites downstream from where the impoundment was located. The site farthest upstream was the only location not impacted by the reservoir and served as a control site from which to estimate stream recovery. Our study in 2014 found that all sites became more similar in macroinvertebrate abundance after their initial decrease in abundance downstream and diversity after dam removal. Macroinvertebrate abundance, diversity and percentage of sensitive organisms all increased in 2014, indicating community recovery.

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