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Validating the Operational Draft Regional Guidebook for the Functional Assessment of High-Gradient Ephemeral and Intermittent Headwater Streams in Western West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky
ENGINEER RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER VICKSBURG MS ENVIRONMENTAL LAB
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Headwater streams within the Appalachian region perform a number of ecosystem functions potentially impacted by human alterations. The current study sought to validate a Hydrogeomorphic HGM assessment, examining 1 Habitat, 2 Biogeochemical Cycling, and 3 Hydrology functions of highgradient headwater streams in western West Virginia and eastern Kentucky. Validation of the Habitat function focused on 1 abundance and richness of amphibians, 2 richness and composition of benthic macroinvertebrates, and 3 floristic quality. Validation of the Biogeochemical Cycling function examined 1 nutrient inputs, 2 processing, and 3 the stream loading of nutrients and materials. The Hydrology validation study examined 1 surface hydrology, 2 sediment transport, and 3 stream channel geomorphology. Within all three functions, sites with high HGM scores performed Habitat, Biogeochemical Cycling, and Hydrology functions at increased levels compared to sites with lower scores. The HGM assessment effectively differentiated between high and low functioning headwater stream ecosystems, and validation results support the use of these functional assessments in headwater stream ecosystems.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE