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Urbanization Impacts and Mitigation Efforts on a Small Urban Watershed in Western Wisconsin

Authors: Richie Holder, Keith Gilland, Orion Reutzel, University of Wisconsin-Stout

Abstract: Urban streams are often tasked with providing multiple services (flood mitigation, recreation, stormwater acceptance) resulting in low-diversity biotic communities dominated by tolerant taxa, poor water quality, and degraded physical habitat. Galloway Creek is a small spring-fed tributary to the Red Cedar River (a catchment in the heavily degraded Red Cedar watershed that flows through residential areas in Menomonie Wisconsin. Efforts to improve water quality in Galloway Creek through public education, stormwater improvements, and maintenance practices were implemented beginning 2003. This project aimed to examine the relationship between urbanization gradients, instream physical habitat, and aquatic macroinvertebrate assemblages to determine how improvement efforts have affected overall stream health in Galloway Creek. Seven sampling locations were established along the stream in Fall 2019 and sampled biweekly for flow rate, turbidity, pH, dissolved oxygen level, conductivity, along with a sample of the macroinvertebrate community. Preliminary results show efforts to mitigate negative impacts to the stream have been largely successful at reducing conductivity levels as no significant increases in conductivity were found from headwaters to mouth (ANOVA, F =,1.8457 P = 0.1961). Additionally, no significant thermal effects were observed along the stream's reach as a result of stormwater runoff (F = 0.5845, P = 0.7362), two of the main indicators used in previous studies of stream helth in the creek. Sample processing of macroinvertebrates is ongoing and will continue through Summer 2021. This work is an important component of the larger interdisciplinary effort to rehabilitate the Galloway Creek corridor as a functional, multi-use ecosystem.