The Upper Arkansas catchment has been polluted with heavy metals from mining for almost 140 yr. Adult Plecoptera and Trichoptera species distributions were recorded from 22 stations along 259 km of main river during 1984–85 so that these could be related to metal deposition and other environmental characteristics. Chemically or physically perturbed sites had poor species richness compared with adjacent sites. There was no sequential downstream increase in species numbers. Filter-feeders proportionally increased downstream as predators declined; these proportions were reset at a high-energy site before the trend resumed. Using canonical correspondence analysis, we found that species composition was most strongly related to changes in distance/altitude and to temperature, particularly after regulatory flows entered the river. The proportion of biological variation explained by river measurements indicated that collected adults were largely derived from the main Arkansas River. Species tolerant of high sedimentary metal concentrations were identified while some other species appeared to be sensitive. The study provides a disturbed-state reference for monitoring effects of remedial actions begun in 1991, and for comparisons with other Colorado rivers.
Ruse, L. P. and Herrmann, S. J.
"Plecoptera and Trichoptera species distribution related to environmental characteristics of the metal-polluted Arkansas River, Colorado,"
Western North American Naturalist: Vol. 60
, Article 5.
Available at: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/wnan/vol60/iss1/5