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(P523) Bioassessment of Hollow Fill Drainages on Downstream Biotic Assemblages and Community Structure.
Merricks, Timothy*,1, Cherry, Donald1, Currie, Rebecca1, Zipper, Carl2, 1 Virginia Tech, Department of Biology, Blacksburg, VA, USA2 Virginia Tech, Department of Crop and Soil Environment, Blacksburg, VA, USA
ABSTRACT- Head of hollow fill construction from surface mining spoil is a widely used application in the Appalachia coal mining industry. Research has been conducted in 2001/2002 on multiple head of hollow fills in southwestern Virginia and southeastern West Virginia in order to evaluate the influences hollow fills have upon receiving headwater streams. Hollow fill impacts on receiving systems may include alteration of channel drainage, sedimentation, and metal accumulation. Bioassessment procedures included acute water column toxicity testing with Ceriodaphnia dubia, sediment toxicity tests utilizing Daphnia magna, benthic macroinvertebrate surveys, and in situ tests with the Asian clam, Corbicula fluminea. Water column testing provided varying levels of toxicity in drainages originating from the toe of the hollow fills, but demonstrated no toxic levels in the receiving systems. Sediment toxicity testing resulted in no significant pattern between hollow fill influences with only one site significantly impaired by the hollow fill influences in 2001. Benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages were sampled at the toe of the hollow fill drainages as well as below settling ponds in order to assess the efficiency of the ponds to reduce toxicity to the receiving system. Benthic macroinvertebrate sampling in the receiving systems allowed insight into alterations occurring in the stream benthic communities. Benthic macroinvertebrate data were assessed using multiple community indices, such as EPT richness, functional feeding groups, etc. In addition, in situ Asian clams tests were conducted to assess survival and growth impairment in the hollow fill drainages and receiving systems. Overall, the hollow fills utilized in the study demonstrated negligible impairment upon the biota of the receiving systems.
Key words: hollow fills, benthic, headwater streams
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