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* ui – unidentified

Table D3. Nashua River Periphyton from stations sampled in September 1998.




Date

Station/Location

Habitat

Algal class and genera

1-Sep-98

NT34 Whitman River-upstream from Rte 2A, Fitchburg

pool-run

Chlorophyceae-Spirogyra










Bacillariophyceae-Fragilaria

1-Sep-98

NN09 North Branch Nashua River, downstream Fallulah Rd., Fitchburg

shallow pools

Chlorophyceae-Mougeotia










Bacillariophyceae-Synedra










Bacillariophyceae-

ui pennate



3-Sep-98

NN13 North Branch Nashua River, downstream from Ponakin Mill, Lancaster

riffle

Chlorophyceae-flecks of compressed green algae

3-Sep-98

NS17U South Branch Nashua River-upstream from MWRA, Clinton

riffle

Rhodophyceae-Batrachospermum










Chlorophyceae-Ulothrix

2-Sep-98

NT67 Nissitissit River downstream from Prescott Rd., Pepperell

riffle

Chlorophyceae-Spirogyra

2-Sep-98

NT68 Nissitissit River downstream from Canal St., Pepperell

riffle

Chlorophyceae-Spirogyra










Chlorophyceae-Rhizoclonium

3-Sep-98

NM23B Nashua River approximately one mile downstream from Leominster Rd.and just downstream of railroad bridge, Shirley/Ayer

riffle

Chlorophyceae-Ulothrix

2-Sep-98

NM29 downstream from Covered Bridge, Pepperell

riffle

Bacillariophyceae-Melosira










Moss










Bacillariophyceae-Fragilaria










Bacillariophyceae-ui pennate










Bacillariophyceae-Synedra










Chlorophyceae-Pediastrum










Chlorophyceae-Cosmarium










Clhlorophyceae-Scenedesmus Chlorophyceae-Scenedesmus










Cyanophyceae-Lyngbya










fungal mycelia

2-Sep-98

NM30 Nashua River downstream from Rte 111, Hollis, New Hampshire

riffle/pool

Chlorophyceae-Spirogyra










Chlorophyceae-Ulothrix



Nashua River Periphyton Observations by Location
The South Branch Nashua River (NS17U) algal community was different from other locations. This station, located upstream from the MWRA sewage treatment plant in Clinton, receives hypolimnetic water
from the Wachusett Reservoir. The water quality characteristics and/or water temperatures apparently differ from other streams. The red alga-Batrachospermum sp. is found at sites exhibiting cool water temperatures, lower light levels and, often, lower nutrient regimes.
The Whitman River was sampled at station NT34, which is located upstream from Route 2A in Fitchburg. There was no evidence of nonpoint sources of pollution; however, there were vast amounts of Spirogyra sp. present, which is often indicative of the presence of elevated levels of nutrients. Likewise, substrates were covered with a floc of the diatom Fragilaria sp., another taxon typically associated with abundant nutrients.

Station NN09 on the North Branch of the Nashua River is subjected to obvious sources of nonpoint source pollution from both commercial and industrial development. This was noted on the habitat assessment field sheet. The water column was slightly turbid and exhibited a “sewage” type smell. Comments on the habitat assessment sheet stated that there was 0% vegetative cover although a brown substance covered the cobbles (this was likely the naviculoid diatoms that were present in large numbers in the sample). Apparently, free floating drift algae (tangles of the green algae Mougeotia sp. and Ulothrix sp.) were found in the shallow pools along the left bank.


The North Branch of the Nashua River was sampled again at Ponakin Mill, Lancaster (NN13). The habitat here was different from others in that very fast riffles were present. The qualitative algal sample only had flecks of a compressed green alga. The field sheets describe a thin layer of slippery periphyton on the rocks, which was probably diatoms. Moss was also prevalent at this station although none was present in the sample collected.
Habitat assessment at the main stem Nashua River station NM23B revealed an area with obvious sources of nonpoint-source pollution. Field staff observed that there was a sewage odor and that the water was very turbid. No comments were made about the presence of surface films at this partly shaded reach, but microscopic observation revealed the presence of some Ulothix sp. and lots of bacteria were present. This station is also located just below the confluence with the South Branch which receives the effluent from the MWRA WWTP.
The Nashua River station (NM29), located downstream from the Covered Bridge, Pepperell, was described on the habitat field sheet as potentially receiving nonpoint source runoff from a nearby horse farm. The water column was described as turbid and opaque. Although the periphyton sample did not indicate an impacted algal community, the light transparency might have been impaired thereby reducing algal habitat. The other algae in the sample were planktonic and were basically filtered out of the water column by the abundant growth of moss on the river bottom . Genera such as Pediastrum, Cosmarium, and Scenedesmus are all found in lentic conditions and likely spill out from Pepperell Pond.
A site on the Nissitissit River (NT67) located downstream from Prescott Rd. in Pepperell, is classified as a cold water fishery and did not support a distinctive periphyton community. This partially shaded station contained shallow riffles with some Spirogyra present, as well as some rooted emergent macrophytes; no mention was made on the field sheet of the percent of vegetative cover, so it is assumed that nuisance amounts were not found.
Green filamentous algae, in this case Rhizoclonium and Spiroyra predominated downstream at station NT68 on the Nissitissit River. Field notes state that this location had only a small amount of filamentous algae as well as sparse growth of aquatic vascular plants. Although there was a potential source of pollution from an adjacent oil company, there was no evidence of problems in the stream.
The main stem Nashua River was also sampled at station NM30, located in Hollis, New Hampshire at Route 111. Spirogyra sp. and Ulothrix sp. dominated the periphyton. This main stem station has bedrock outcrops, deep riffles and pools. When it was sampled in 1985, the dominant drift algae in the pools was a different green, Hydrodictyon sp. Fortunately, this nuisance alga was not found during the 1998 sampling. An estimate of the percentage of the reach with vegetative cover (60%) was included on the field sheet. This was composed of Elodea and Myriophyllum sp. (rooted submergents), and free-floating Lemna and Wolfia. In addition to algae, moss covered the rocks.


Discussion
Physical and biological disturbances of periphyton and other aquatic communties may be indicated by changes in both biomass and species composition. Biggs (1996) describes three temporal patterns of biomass distribution that can be distinguished among streams: 1) relatively constant disturbance, low biomass, 2) cycles of accrual and sloughing; and 3) seasonal cycles. The relatively constant, low biomass can occur as a result of frequent disturbance. In the summer of 1998, flooding was not a frequent phenomenon so this type of disturbance was minimal. During periods of extended flow stability (i.e., 4-10 weeks), the accumulation of biomass can occur (Douglas,1958). This “accrual and sloughing” pattern was a likely phenomenon at the Nashua River sites visited in 1998. During periods of relative flow stability, populations of filamentous algae, such as Spirogyra, which are otherwise vulnerable to flooding, can increase. This may have been the situation exhibited at one or two Nashua River stations, in particular NM30, on the main stem, and NT34 on the Whitman River. Station NT 34 contained both stable (50 % cobble) and unstable (50% sand and gravel) substrates. This station scored very poorly in the habitat assessment for embeddedness (6 out of 20 points). During higher flow periods it is likely that scouring of the surfaces would occur at this site; however, during the period sampled, long filamentous strands of algae were able to build up. Also of consideration at these sites is the level of nutrients available for algal growth. Periphyton communities are often dominated by erect stalked diatoms and/or filamentous green algae when the level of disturbance is low to medium and nutrients are medium to plentiful as found at station NN09 (Biggs, 1996). Biomass also builds up under these conditions. It is conjectured that grazing by fish and macroinvertebrates cannot keep up with algal growth. In these situations long filamentous growths of algae can occur on stable substrates and/or flocs of diatoms can cover all substrates.
Conclusions and Recommendations
There is some indication of excess nutrients and low/medium hydrologic disturbance in this basin. Drought conditions for the past several years have certainly affected adversely many of our rivers, allowing the concentration of many pollutants in depositional zones and reducing scouring events. Many stations that were evaluated in the habitat assessment indicated that nonpoint sources of pollution were in evidence. An effort should be made to remove these sources and to monitor improvements through the evaluation of changes in the algal community, biomass and percent cover.
Literature Cited
Biggs, B. J. F..1996. Patterns in benthic algae of streams. IN: Algal Ecology: Freshwater Benthic Ecosystems. edit. R. J. Stevenson, M. L. Bothwell, R. L. Lowe. Academic Press. San Diego.
Biggs, B. J. F. and Gerbeaux, P. J. 1996. Epilithic periphyton in temperate rivers: community composition in relation to differences in disturbance regimes. NIWA-Christchurch Misc. Rep. 177, 1-33. IN: Algal Ecology: Freshwater Benthic Ecosystems. edit. R. J. Stevenson, M. L. Bothwell, R. L. Lowe. Academic Press. San Diego.
Biggs, B. J. F. and Price, G. M. 1987. A survey of filamentous algal proliferation’s in New Zealand rivers. N. Z. J. Mar. Freshwater Res. 21:175-191.
Douglas, B. 1958. The ecology of the attached diatoms and other algae in a stony stream. J. Ecol. 46:295-322.
Peterson, C. G. and Stevenson, R. J. 1990. Post-spate development of epilithic algal communities in different current environments. Can. J. Bot. 68: 2092-2102.
Technical Services Branch. 1990. A Biological Assessment of Water Quality Conditions in the Nashua River and Selected Tributaries: Results of the 1985 Survey. Mass. Dept. of Environmental Protection, Westborough, Massachusetts .

APPENDIX E - DEP 1999 GRANT AND LOAN PROGRAMS

Excerpted from the DEP/DWM World Wide Web site, http://www.state.ma.us/dep/brp/wm/wmpubs.htm#other ‘1999 Grant and Loan Programs - Opportunities for Watershed Planning and Implementation’.


604(b) WATER QUALITY MANAGEMENT PLANNING GRANT PROGRAM

This grant program is authorized under the federal Clean Water Act Section 604(b) for water quality assessment and management planning. 604(b) projects in the Nashua River Watershed include:


104(b)(3) WETLANDS AND WATER QUALITY GRANT PROGRAM

This Grant Program is authorized under Wetlands and Clean Water Act Section 104(b)(3) of the federal Clean Water Act. The Water Quality proposals received by DEP under this National Environmental Performance Partnership Agreement (NEPPA) with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is a results oriented approach that will focus attention on environmental protection goals and the efforts to achieve them. The goals of the NEPPA are to: 1) achieve clean air, 2) achieve clean water, 3) protect wetlands, 4) reduce waste generation, and 5) clean up waste sites.



  • 98-03/104 SMART Monitoring for Capacity Building. This project will use the Nashua River Watershed for a demonstration of “SMART” monitoring. SMART monitoring (Strategic Monitoring for River Basin Teams) is a collection of low cost and no-cost methods for building the capacity of EOEA Watershed Teams for water quality monitoring.

  • 97-09/104 Numeric Biocriteria. This project is designed to address two issues relating to the current Biocriteria Pilot Study; specifically, to evaluate subecoregion difference in stream biota, if any, and formulate the biological indicators (fish and macroinvertebrates) that are essential to assess conditions and monitor changes in streams. Study expects to establish reference streams in 5 of the 13 Massachusetts Ecological Subregions. The study streams are located in the Connecticut, Westfield, Chicopee, Millers and Quinebaug River Basins.

A brief overview of this sampling effort in the Chicopee River Basin include:



Subecoregion

Candidate Reference Stream

Station

Benthic Macroinvertebrate

Fish Population

Insitu Hydrolab Measurements

Worcester Monadnock Plateau

Whitman River

WM18WHI

2 October 1996

2 October 1996

2 October 1996
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