Status of Faunal Recovery in the North Fork Holston River, Tennessee and Virginia

Two years after pollution abatement, faunal communities in the North Fork Holston River below Saltville, Virginia. remain in a perturbed condition. The num ber of fish species is increasing at the lower downstream stations, but show little change immediately downstream of Saltville. Two species which occur regularly above Saltville were not taken at any downstream station during this study. The abundance and diversity of aquatic insects at downstream stations are extremely variable. but are generally less below Saltville than they are upstream. Populations of mussels have not been successful in recolonizing downstream areas. Water quality parameters fall within acceptable ranges for healthy aquatic communities, but an analysis of river sediments documents the existence of high mercury concentrations. The relatively slow rate of natural recovery processes can probably be attributed to the continuing input of toxic materials from the abandoned waste lagoons.

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