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Recovery of macroinvertebrate communities from metal pollution in the South Fork and mainstem of the Coeur d'Alene River, Idaho

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Mining has severely impacted the biota in the Coeur d'Alene River drainage of northern Idaho. The benthic community of the South Fork and mainstem was monitored from 1968 to 1971 and from 1987 to 1991 to determine the effects of improved mine wastewater treatment and mine closures. With the decrease of heavy metal levels, the benthic community showed a gradual recovery as evidenced by large increases in taxonomic richness (0 to 18), Ephemeroptera-Plecoptera-Trichoptera index (0 to 8), and species diversity (0 to 1.8). Although considerable recovery has occurred, the biotic integrity of impacted sites continues to lag behind reference sites, probably due to poor habitat structure and metals leaching from mine tailings.

Keywords: aquatic invertebrates; heavy metals; macroinvertebrate; mining pollution; zinc

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1994-01-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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