Great Basin Naturalist


Aquatic macroinvertebrate populations inhabiting reaches of a stream within areas excluded from livestock grazing for a decade were markedly different from those in grazed areas when density, biomass, biotic condition indices, and mean chi square indices of the two populations were compared. Increased densities and biomasses of more tolerant forms of macroinvertebrates were observed in grazed reaches. Because pretreatment data were not available, differences in macroinvertebrate populations and relative tolerances of taxa in grazed and ungrazed areas could be as easily attributed to linear changes in stream habitat as to removal of domestic livestock. Results of this study have implications for the design of future research on the effects of livestock grazing on stream environments and biota: (1) baseline/pretreatment information is prerequisite, and (2) the study should take a watershed (ecosystem) approach.