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Title: Herpetofaunal and vegetational characterization of a thermally-impacted stream at the beginning of restoration

Author: Bowers, Catherine F.; Hanlin, Hugh G.; Guynn, David C. Jr.; McLendon, John P.; Davis, James R.;

Date: 2000

Source: Ecological Engineering 15 (2000) Sl01-Sl14

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: Pen Branch, a third order stream on the Savannah River Site (SRS), located near Aiken, SC, USA, received thermal effluents from the cooling system of a nuclear production reactor from 1954 to 1988. The thermal effluent and increased flow destroyed vegetation in the stream corridor (i.e. impacted portion of the floodplain), and subsequent erosion created a braided stream system with a greatly expanded delta. Restoration of the area began with planting of bottomland hardwood species in 1993. Occurrence of amphibians and reptiles was monitored by daily sampling from 1 January 1995 through 30 September 1996 to characterize the course of the restoration. Vegetation was sampled in the summer of 1996 to characterize the habitats in the unimpacted riparian zone and the impacted stream corridor. A total of 12 580 individuals representing 72 species of herpetofauna were captured. There were no significant differences in relative abundance or diversity of herpetofauna in unplanted versus planted zones within the impacted corridor 3 years after planting. Likewise, there were no significant differences in abundance or diversity of herpetofauna in the upper and lower corridor areas, which differed in site preparation before planting, or in riparian zones of different widths. However, species diversity of amphibians and reptiles in the unimpacted riparian zone was significantly higher than on vegetated islands located between stream braids within the impacted floodplain corridor. There were also significantly more species and individuals within the riparian zone than in the corridor, and the species assemblage within the riparian zone differed from that of the corridor. Woody vegetation within the unimpacted riparian zone was significantly higher in basal area than on islands within the corridor.

Keywords: Amphibians, Floodplain restoration, Herpetofauna, Reptiles, Riparian width, Species diversity

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Bowers, Catherine F.; Hanlin, Hugh G.; Guynn, David C., Jr.; McLendon, John P.; Davis, James R. 2000. Herpetofaunal and vegetational characterization of a thermally-impacted stream at the beginning of restoration. Ecological Engineering 15 (2000) Sl01-Sl14

 


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