Monitoring wetland water quality related to livestock grazing in amphibian habitats

Authors: K L Smalling
Contribution Number: 775


Land use alteration such as livestock grazing can affect water quality in habitats of at-risk wildlife species. Data from managed wetlands are needed to understand levels of exposure for aquatic life stages and monitor grazing-related changes afield. We quantified spatial and temporal variation in water quality in wetlands occupied by threatened Oregon spotted frog (Rana pretiosa) at Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, US. We used analyses for censored data to evaluate the importance of habitat type and grazing history in predicting concentrations of nutrients, turbidity, fecal indicator bacteria (FIB; total coliforms, E. coli, and enterococci), and estrogenicity, an indicator of estrogenic activity. Nutrients (orthophosphate and ammonia) and enterococci varied over time and space, while E. coli, total coliforms, turbidity, and estrogenicity were more strongly associated with local livestock grazing metrics. Turbidity was correlated with several grazing-related constituents and may be particularly useful for monitoring water quality in landscapes with livestock use. Concentrations of orthophosphate and estrogenicity were elevated at several sites relative to published health benchmarks, and their potential effects on R. pretiosa warrant further investigation. Our data provided an initial assessment of potential exposure of amphibians to grazing related constituents in western US wetlands.

Publication details
Published Date: 2021-01-13
Outlet/Publisher: Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 193, 58
Media Format: .PDF

ARMI Organizational Units:
Pacific Northwest - Biology
Northeast - Water
Place Names:
Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge; Oregon; Western US
amphibians; grazing; habitat; habitat alteration; land cover/land use; monitoring; stressors; surface water; threatened species; water quality; wetlands
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