John L. Foley

Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Biology and Microbiology


Non-point source pollution is a major form of landscape disturbance to surf ace water bodies in agricultural watersheds of the Northern Plains. The objectives of this study were to ( 1) define areas of high disturbance potential for non-point source pollution to a prairie lake using a geographic information system and (2) assess differences in invertebrate community structure between disturbance prone and not prone sites around the perimeter of the basin. Parameters from the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation and site assessments of land-use were utilized to classify disturbance potential of 36 sites around the perimeter of Oak Lake, Brookings County, SD. Littoral zone benthic macroinvertebrate samples were collected from each site during summer and autumn of 1994. Five of eight invertebrate biomonitoring metrics displayed patterns consistent with expectations in disturbed ecosystems. Community similarity was highest among sites belonging to a similar class. Chirononini and Oligochaeta were prevalent at sites prone to disturbance while Chironomini, Tanytarsini, Ephemeroptera and Trichoptera dominated community structure at sites not prone to disturbance. Macroinvertebrate Community Index and Ephemeroptera Trichoptera Index scores suggested a prevalence of pollution tolerant tax:a at prone sites and intolerant tax.a at sites not prone to non-point source disturbance. Of measured water quality attributes, specific conductance was found to be positively correlated with community indicators of pollution tolerance at all sites. Results of this study suggest that macroinvertebrate biomonitoring metrics may be used to identify non-point source disturbances to prairie lakes. Geographic information system technology may be linked with biomonitoring efforts to identify critical areas for monitoring and management efforts. Development of ecological expertise, estimates of natural variability in aquatic communities and long-term monitoring are recommended for implementation of these methods by water resource managers.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Nonpoint source pollution -- South Dakota -- Oak Lake

Biological monitoring -- South Dakota -- Oak Lake

Landscape assessment -- South Dakota -- Oak Lake



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University