The Lower Fox River has historically been used as a navigational crossroads, a waste disposal system, and source of hydroelectric power. Over the years, heavy use of the river has negatively affected water quality and the overall health of the system. Unhealthy rivers cannot function properly. Biological assessment based on animal surveys are often used to determine river health. I used data from the Lawrence University and Fox River Navigational System Authority invasive species-monitoring project to explore how the distribution of animals in the Fox River has changed over time and across locations. Monitoring surveys have taken place between June and August at six sites along the river from 2006 to 2014. The field data consist of a combination of presence-absence and abundance data for zooplankton, benthic invertebrate, and fish populations. There are clear trends in the community composition of animals in the river over time and across locations. Compositions of fish populations of a given site remained similar across time but varied among sites. In contrast, compositions of benthic invertebrate and zooplankton populations in a given year were fairly similar across sites but varied among years. This study provides important ecological data that can be used when making future decisions affecting the health of the river.
Level of Honors
Bart De Stasio
Kiehnau, Emily L., "The Characterization of a Vital Wisconsin Waterway: A Biological Assessment of the Lower Fox River from 2006-2014" (2015). Lawrence University Honors Projects. Paper 72.