How Do Land Use, Physical Parameters, and Benthic Surveys Measure the Health of a Stream?

Looking at multiple factors (water quality testing, macroinvertebrates, and land use), students assess the health of the Davis Branch Stream in Howard County, Maryland. The impact of land use, in particular, is a complex factor since the stream is influenced by forest, farms, and a golf course. The forest is beneficial, but the farms are sometimes harmful (and the HCC plays a role in this). The golf course is sometimes harmful, too, because the stream is fed by a retention pond at a golf course, which has an impact especially when the flow of stream water is cut off to make retention pond.

Weighing these complex land use factors along with analysis of water quality testing and macroinvertebrates samples is a challenging task.How would you interpret the same data sets that were gathered at the stream?

Note: Students should either take notes or use capture sheets for macroinvertebrates and water quality on this web page. Access to data from the completed capture sheets on the web page are required for students to complete their analysis.

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