Title page for ETD etd-04142009-040641
|Type of Document
||Macroinvertebrate communities inhabiting surface mine wetlands of southwestern Virginia
||Master of Science
|Cairns, John Jr.
|Atkinson, Robert B.
|Paterson, Robert A.
|Smith, Eric P.
|Date of Defense
Wetland acreage in Southwest Virginia has increased because of formation of
wetlands on relic surface mine benches. Prior to the Surface Mining Control and
Reclamation Act of 1977 (PL 95-87) once mining operations were completed the sites
were abandoned. These areas presented novel landscapes in the rugged Allegheny
Plateau physiographic region. Specifically, flat, compacted areas were created. In
microdepression of these sites wetlands have formed. This study investigates the
macroinvertebrate community associated wetlands of relic surface mining operations.
Surveys were conducted to identify what macroinvertebrates utilize these
wetlands, to determine how this community was influenced by the physio-chemical
characteristics of surface mine wetlands, and to develop design specifications for
creating wetlands for current restoration efforts. Nine wetlands were sampled four
times between July 1993 and May 1994. Seventy genera of macroinvertebrates were
identified. The wetlands represented a range of physical and chemical parameters.
The taxa richness appears to be related to these differences. Canonical
Correspondence Analysis suggests that for the nine wetlands, the macro invertebrate
taxa distribution is best explained by physical features of depth and duration of
flooding, chemical parameters of iron, manganese, and sulfate concentration,
and a biotic measure of plant litter biomass.
The findings of this study can be applied to ecological restoration. Wetland
creation can be incorporated into current surface mine reclamation projects. To
maximize the macro invertebrate community of reclamation wetlands, sites must be
positioned to avoid water quality problems, excavated to have a deeper portion which
will remain inundated during all or most of the year, and have a gradually sloping
substrate from the deepest area to the land surface. The final criteria being indirectly
related to the macroinvertebrate community by influencing the macrophyte production,
richness, and litter.
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