Effects of Stream Diversion on Riffle Macroinvertebrate Communities in a Maui, Hawaii, Stream

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River Research and Applications


The continual demand for freshwater by industry (e.g. tourism) and agriculture, a growing population, and increasing development over the past 100 years has resulted in the construction of diversions within many streams of Hawaii. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of stream diversions on riffle macroinvertebrate communities. Benthic macroinvertebrate larval populations were compared above and below a diversion in Iao Stream, Maui, Hawaii, from April to August 2000. During this summer approximately 92–97% of daily stream flow was diverted from Iao Stream. Three taxa, Procanace sp. (Diptera: Canacidae), Atyoida bisulcata (Crustacea: Decapoda), and Amphipoda (Crustacea), were only collected above the diversion. However, the most numerous taxa, Chironomidae (63–64% of the total macroinvertebrate community), Hydroptila arctia (Trichoptera: Hydroptilidae; 15%), and Cheumatopsyche pettiti (Trichoptera: Hydropsychidae; 8%), were found both above and below the diversion. The relative percentage abundance of these dominant taxa remained relatively consistent above and below the diversion over the study period. However, the mean total density of individual dominant taxa was greater above the diversion. The mean total macroinvertebrate density above the diversion was 46% greater than below the diversion (Student t-test: df = 30, t = −3.22, p > 0.01). No correlation was found between temperature and density. A positive correlation was detected between Froude number and mean total macroinvertebrate density. Overall, the reduction in macroinvertebrate diversity and in individual and total density below the diversion suggest that trophic interactions, and thus energy flow, could be affected by reduced flow in Hawaiian streams. The information gained from this study will contribute to knowledge on Hawaiian stream ecosystems, help to create minimum instream flow standards for stream restoration, and will provide information for future freshwater management issues on the Hawaiian islands.

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John Wiley & Sons



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