Monitoring Stream Restoration Impacts on Habitat and Biotic Communities in an Urban Stream

Major Goals and Objectives

Toxic levels of ammonia were discharged into the Saline Branch stream on July 13, 2002. This spill subsequently caused a 16 kilometer fish kill in the Saline Branch, and further impacted 52 kilometers downstream in the Salt Fork of the Vermilion River, resulting in an estimated loss of over 115,000 fish. Construction of instream rock structures, bank stabilization, and vegetation enhancements were completed in 2020. Furfural was spilled into Kickapoo in 2001 causing the mortality of 200,000 fish and other species. Instream habitat restoration was completed in 2010. This project included the construction of two artificial riffles, pool scouring keys along the restored stream section to deepen pools within the channel, and bank stabilization measures using riprap and native grass planting to reduce sediment loads into the water. Fish and invertebrate communities have been annually sampled in Kickapoo since 2009, with the most recent sampling completed in the fall of 2022. This project aims to quantitively measure the success of the 2020 restoration projects in the Saline Branch by continuing fish and macroinvertebrate assessments, as well as conduct food web analysis using stable isotope measures within the Saline Branch and Kickapoo Creek to examine ecosystem level impacts. The goal of this research is to utilize the Saline Branch and Kickapoo Creek restorations as case studies for the effectiveness of instream and stream bank restorative construction. The objectives of this study are to (1) measure changes in biodiversity of the stream as a function of the physical restoration in the Saline Branch (2) analyze the food web interactions between the aquatic and terrestrial community as a proxy to stream health in restored and unrestored sections of the Saline Branch and Kickapoo Creek. 

Research Information

Principal Investigator:
Sydney McAndrews
Initiation Date:
Eastern Illinois University


Eden Effert-Fanta
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