Environmental Assessment of Jordan Creek Watershed Using Bed Sediment Quality and Macroinvertebrate Indices, Springfield Missouri

Date of Graduation

Spring 2005


Master of Science in Geospatial Sciences


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

Erwin Mantei


Water quality trends in the subwatershed-scale show the distribution of impaired waters and indicate pollution source locations in a framework useful for management decision-making. For more than 100 years, persistent and concentrated industrial and sanitary landfill activities have occurred within the Jordan Creek watershed, Springfield, Missouri. The longitudinal distribution of trace metals in bed sediment of Jordan Creek is used as an indicator to view spatial water quality trends. After using heavy metal trends to identify heavy metal hot-spots, similar geomorphic sites were selected and macroinvertabrate metrics measured as indicators of stream-site health and impairment. Concentrations of specific trace-metals are measured via ICP-AES using a weak-acid (0.5N HCl) extraction. Trace metal concentrations in fine-grained sediment are a useful indicator of the metal exposure to benthic biota since these particles are often trapped within the matrix of periphyton and filamentous algae that act as both food and habitat for macroinvertabrates. Trace metals concentrations in the sediments were related to the macroinvertebrate biodiversity. A metals index was calculated to standardize the suite of metal concentrations in order to determine relationships with BMI metrics such as %EPT, species richness, %Tolerant dominance, and the Shannon-Weiner Diversity Index. The metals indices had a strong correlation coefficient of 0.99 with a %Tolerant dominance and -0.98 with %EPT which demonstrates as metal concentrations increase tolerate species counts increase and intolerant species increase. Stream morphology, water chemistry, substratum, and volatile organic compound variables showed a less predictable relationship with macroinvertabrate biodiversity trends.


metals, sediment, macroinvertebrates, Jordan Creek, urban streams

Subject Categories

Geomorphology | Hydrology | Sedimentology


© Daniel J. Wurglitsh