An Analysis of Benthic Invertebrate Response to Nutrient Mitigation in the Wenatchee River Tributaries

Faculty Mentor

Camille McNeely


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Oral Presentation

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This project will analyze responses of benthic invertebrates to an ongoing salmon restoration project in the Chiwawa River, a tributary of the Wenatchee River. The Columbia Cascade Fisheries Enhancement Group (CCFEG) is adding nutrients in the form of salmon carcass analogs to a reach of the Chiwawa River each fall from 2018 through 2022, with the goal of increasing growth and overwinter survival of juvenile salmonids. This study will use a Before-After Control-Impact study design to measure the effects of nutrient mitigation on the benthic macroinvertebrates. I will use previous data, collected before nutrient mitigation was implement, for five rivers in the Wenatchee River Basin: Nason Creek, White River, Upper and Little Wenatchee Rivers, and the Chiwawa River as a reference to determine if nutrient mitigation has increased invertebrate populations that serve as food for juvenile salmonids, or altered the composition of the invertebrate community. Specifically, I will investigate whether there is stimulation of invertebrate production by nutrient mitigation, and whether invertebrate communities indicate any changes to water quality or ecosystem health in the nutrient mitigation reach of the Chiwawa River. These findings will benefit the CCFEG by evaluating the effectiveness of nutrient enhancement. This research will also contribute to our understanding of how nutrient mitigation effects macroinvertebrate communities over a large special scale.

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