Departmental Reports




Dendy, J., J. Lawrence, D. Rouse, C. Turner and W. Dumas

Date: 1973

Funding Agency:

Keywords: conecuh, escambia, river, limnology, alabama, water quality

Category: Domestic Funded Research Report

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In 1972 a study which evaluated water quality by the
presence of macroinvertebrate

organisms was conducted on the Conecuh-Escambia
River between Brewton, Alabama

and Escambia Bay, Florida by personnel of Department
of Fisheries and Allied

Aquacultures of Auburn University.

The purpose of the study was to document the
long-term effects on the river of

the papermaking effluent from the Brewton Mill of
the Container Corporation of America.

The data from this study will be compared with data
obtained on previous surveys.

Biological water quality is measured by several
parameters. Classically,

the concentration of dissolved oxygen is a major
parameter and continued concentrations

of 5 ppm or more oxygen are considered to be
characteristic of good water quality.

Since such data are measurements for the moments at
which the samples were

obtained, they do not tell what conditions existed
over an extended period of time.

However, organisms that live in the river have-to
endure condition including whatever changes may occur. For
this reason the organisms found at any

station reflect the conditions of minimal water
quality that occurred over an extended

period of time. Since organisms vary considerably in
their tolerance of various

conditions of low water quality, different organisms
become parameters of conditions

that have existed in the stream. In general a diversity of organisms
is indicative of

good quality of water, while lack of diversity, and
yet possibly large numbers of

certain kinds of organisms, is indicative of
limiting conditions to which a few species

are tolerant. Thus, variety rather than quantitative
numbers of individuals becomes

the parameter. In small
streams that can be surveyed by wading, the sampling may

be done by hand-picking of rocks, sticks, leaf
masses, etc. In
rivers too deep

for this method, it is common practice to use added
substrate material that-can

be placed in the
stream and recovered after a given period of exposure for colonization

by the organisms present. In this study multiple-plate
samplers of plexiglass served

as the substrate that was added. In addition some twig sampling was
used for

comparison with previous studies.

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