Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Wildlife and Fisheries Resources

Committee Chair

James T. Anderson.


Stream restoration, involving both in-stream and riparian techniques, was conducted on an impaired stretch of the Cacapon River, West Virginia. Fish and aquatic macroinvertebrate communities were sampled before, during, and after restoration at the restoration site and four other sites (two impaired, two natural) to determine the success of the restoration project. Overall, bluntnose minnows (Pimephales notatus) were the most abundant fish, and riffle beetles (Stenelmis sp.) were the most abundant macroinvertebrates collected. Both communities were negatively impacted by the restoration efforts in the short-term, but recovered quickly. Fish communities returned roughly to the state observed pre-restoration. Macroinvertebrate communities increased in health post-restoration; they resembled other impaired stretches prior to restoration, and resembled natural stretches following restoration. Local macroinvertebrate abundance, in particular, responded quickly. Therefore, macroinvertebrates were stronger indicators of site health than were fish in the Cacapon River.;Centrarchid nesting behavior and response to perceived harm were assessed using several environmental variables, collected from nest sites and random sites during the summer of 2010. A priori general linear models were generated to explain nest site selection, nest success, and response to perceived harm based on the environmental variables. Overall, four species of centrarchids were observed nesting: longear sunfish (Lepomis megalotis), redbreast sunfish (Lepomis auritus), rock bass ( Ambloplites rupestris), and smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu). All four species nested in habitat significantly different from random sites in the river, and therefore were selecting for specific habitat. Longear sunfish also nested in habitat significantly different from the other three species. The differences in site selection were largely determined by distance to other centrarchid nests, distance to in-stream cover objects, and water velocity. Human observer-induced threat response in longear sunfish was influenced by male size, water velocity, and distance to cover. Due to a general lack of nest reuse and commonality of nests located in substantial water current, it is likely that female choice and protection from predators are driving site selection in male centrarchids more than minimization of energy expenditure.