A Year-Long Biophysical Assessment Of A Partially Breached Weir Dam Removal In A Southern Appalachain Mountain Stream

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Madison Suttman (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/
Shea Tuberty

Abstract: This study investigates the impact on and recovery of macroinvertebrate communities following removal of the Payne Branch Dam and restoration of the former. Objectives included quantifying the impacts on macroinvertebrate community structure, monitoring downstream bed sediment transport, and assessing the rate of recovery. I hypothesized that impacts on macroinvertebrates would be minor, and downstream sites would resemble reference sites within 6-months post-removal. Results revealed a fining in downstream grain size 3-months post-removal with recovery by 6-months. Reductions in downstream macroinvertebrate abundance and EPT richness were observed 3-months post-removal and minor differences between reference and impacted sites reemerged 12-months post-removal. Bed sediment sizes did not predict macroinvertebrate community metrics. The downstream North Carolina Biotic Index differed little from reference communities. These findings suggest that dam removal-induced disturbances are temporary, with modest changes and rapid recovery observed in the study system. Ongoing differences in reference and downstream abundance suggest the presence of additional factors limiting downstream recovery. The Payne Branch Dam removal provided a unique opportunity to study the impact and response of benthic macroinvertebrates in a third-order, cold, mountain stream, contributing to a growing body of knowledge and aiding future decision-making for streams of similar size and characteristics.

Additional Information

Suttman, M. (2023). A Year-Long Biophysical Assessment Of A Partially Breached Weir Dam Removal In A Southern Appalachain Mountain Stream. Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2023
macroinvertebrate, disturbance, river restoration, bed sediment, biotic index

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