Paula M. Gale, 256 Brehm Hall, University of Tennessee-Martin, Martin, TN, Tom Blanchard, University of Tennessee at Martin, Martin, TN, Eric R. Walker, University of Tennessee-Martin, Martin, TN, Jim Ruddell, Lhoist North America, Brentwood, TN and Chris Corley, Lhoist North America, Paris, TN
As part of the requirements for an Aquatic Resources Alteration Permit in the state of Tennessee a mitigation site is monitored for five years after establishment. The monitoring includes an annual assessment of stream macro-invertebrates and riparian vegetation. As part of our investigations involving a site in West Tennessee, we also have collected soil samples during the assessment and have monitored soil pH and soil organic matter content. The collected data reflect the development of a system following disturbance. Plant cover and diversity have increased during the 5 year assessment period. Even though the number of sensitive taxa and average taxa richness of macro-invertebrates have generally increased during this time the impacted stream reach is still classified as impaired. Our results raise the question of what is an acceptable gauge for community development. Especially in light of the lack of true reference streams in the region. We would argue that even though the system may not have met thresholds that have been established for the state, the system displays healthy ecological development of both the plant and aquatic communities.