Successes of Restoration and Its Effect on the Fish Community in a Freshwater Tidal Embayment of the Potomac River, USA

Kim de Mutsert, Amanda Sills, C. J. Schlick, R. Jones
2017 Water  
After a local pollution control plant significantly reduced phosphorus loading into a phytoplankton-dominated tributary of the Potomac River in the early 1980's, water quality and biological communities were monitored bi-weekly from April-September. After a 10-year time-lag, submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), once abundant in this freshwater tidal embayment, returned to the area in 1993. After additional reductions in nitrogen load starting in 2000, the system completely switched to a
more » ... tched to a SAV-dominated state in 2005. Fish abundance didn't change during these distinct phase changes, but the fish community structure did. Increases in SAV provided refuge and additional spawning substrate for species with adhesive eggs such as Banded Killifish (Fundulus diaphanus), which is now the most abundant species in the embayment. Other changes seen were a decrease in the relative contribution of open water dwelling species such as White Perch (Morone americana), and an increase of visual predators such as Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides). The 30-year record of data from this Potomac River tributary has revealed many important long-term trends that validate the effectiveness of initiatives to improve water treatment, and will aid in the continued management of the watershed and point source inputs.
doi:10.3390/w9060421 fatcat:6ftrdrg2y5av5duudhrdnrgrpi