Committee Chair

Schorr, Mark

Committee Member

Litchford, Gary; Spratt, Henry; Benz, George


Dept. of Biology, Geology, and Environmental Science


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Acid mine drainage (AMD) is the primary water pollution problem in Appalachian streams. The Cumberland Plateau (Southwestern Appalachians ecoregion) portion of North Chickamauga Creek (NCC), a fourth-order tributary to the Tennessee River (Tennessee), has been impacted by decades of AMD from active and abandoned coal mines. I assessed stream characteristics at 19 sites in the Cumberland Plateau region of the NCC system; these data were used to create a GIS database. Limnological conditions and fish assemblage attributes were compared between AMD-impacted and reference sites. Relationships were examined among water quality, habitat, and fish assemblage variables. Stream pH averaged lower at AMD than reference sites (5.1 vs.6.3); pH values in the 3-5 range were observed at most of the AMD sites. Conductivity averaged higher at AMD than reference sites (123 .31 μSiem vs. 17.96 μSiem). Most habitat features were similar between A.MD-impacted and reference sites. surveys collected a total of eight fish species (N=859 individuals), represented by the families Cyprinidae (2 species) and Centrarchidae ( 6 species). Cyprinids accounted for 93% of the catch at the reference sites, while centrarchids comprised 92% of the catch at AMD sites. Fish species richness and abundance (cyprinids and total) estimates averaged lower at A.MD than reference sites. Stream pH was positively correlated with fish species richness and abundance. Conductivity was negatively correlated with fish abundance. Findings from my study document the negative effects of AMD on stream water quality and fish assemblages in the NCC system.


I thank and appreciation those people who have supported, guided, encouraged, and made it possible for me to pursue an advanced degree at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). I thank my major professor, Dr. Mark Schorr, who supported, guided, and inspired me by his excitement for fisheries biology throughout my time at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. In addition, this thesis and my academic program benefited from Dr. Schorr's dedication and offered suggestions regarding my study design, field collections, and statistical analyses. I am also grateful to the rest of my graduate committee, Dr. Gary Litchford, Dr. Henry Spratt, and Dr. George Benz, for their advice and support. I thank Dr. George Benz for introducing me to fisheries biology and scientific research. I thank Mr. Bob Wallus and Ms. Amy Wales of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), who are expert fisheries biologists and inspired me while working for T\T A. l acknowledge, the Tennessee Aquarium, the Southeast Aquatic Research Institute, TVA, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, UTC, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for funding and additional support for my project. I thank Evan Crews, Paul Freeman, and Jeannie Long for taking time from their work to help me with my field collections. They were always enthusiastic which kept our spirits up while we were hiking around the woods with all of our gear. I also thank Taylor McDonald for helping make revisions to the final map. I thank my mom, mother-in-law, and my sister for their unending support and help with watching my son while I prepared and had my weekly meetings. I would not have been able to complete my thesis without their help. I thank my husband, Rob, and my son, Jake, for giving me so much unconditional love and bringing so much happiness into my life each and every day. They inspired me to keep going with my work when life would get a bttle hectic. Thanks to them for everything they do each and every day. I would like to also thank God for blessing my life with such wonderful people who mean so much to me. I thank my other friends, family, students, and co-workers, who helped out during my project and who offered words of encouragement that helped me complete my work.


M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.




Stream ecology; Acid mine drainage--Tennessee; Fishes--Habitat--Conservation


Cumberland Mountains; Tennessee River


Water Resource Management

Document Type

Masters theses




viii, 42 leaves



Call Number

LB2369.2 .B323 2002