Stream habitat assessments are conducted to evaluate biological potential, determine anthropogenic impacts, and guide restoration projects. Utilizing these procedures, managers must first select a representative stream reach, which is typically selected based on several criteria. To develop a consistent and unbiased procedure for choosing sampling locations, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Natural History Survey have proposed a technique by which watersheds are divided into homogeneous stream segments called valley segments. Valley segments are determined by GIS parameters including surficial geology, predicted flow, slope, and drainage area. To date, no research has been conducted to determine if the stream habitat within a valley segment is homogeneous and if different valley segments have varying habitat variables. Two abutting valley segments were randomly selected within 13 streams in the Embarras River watershed, located in east-central Illinois. One hundred meter reaches were randomly selected within each valley segment, and a transect method was used to quantify habitat characteristics of the stream channel. Habitat variables for each stream were combined through a principal components analysis (PCA) to measure environmental variation between abutting valley segments. A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was performed on PCA axes 1–3. The majority of abutting valley segments were significantly different from each other indicating that habitat variability within each valley segment was less than variability between valley segments (5.37 B F B 245.13; P B 0.002). This comparison supports the use of the valley segment model as an effective management tool for identifying representative sampling locations and extrapolating reach-specific information.
Warrner, Stephen S.; Fischer, Robert U.; Holtrop, Ann M.; Hinz, Leon C. Jr.; and Novak, James M., "Evaluating the Illinois Stream Valley Segment Model as an Effective Management Tool" (2010). Faculty Research & Creative Activity. Paper 210.