Conservation and Management
Intermittent streams are threatened by development and its associated run-off (e.g., roads and bridges, logging in adjacent forests) and recreational overuse (e.g., ATVs, trampling). Alteration to the natural hydrological regime is also a threat to this community (e.g., impoundments). Intermittent streams may be threatened by invasive species. In forested settings intermittent streams are threatened by logging practices and other development that exclude stream protection.
Conservation Strategies and Management Practices
Where practical, establish and maintain a natural stream buffer to reduce storm-water, pollution, and nutrient run-off, while simultaneously capturing sediments before they reach the intermittent stream. Buffer width should take into account the erodibility of the surrounding soils, slope steepness, and the use of the surrounding upland by intermittent stream fauna. Avoid habitat alteration within the stream and surrounding landscape. For example, roads and trails should be routed around intermittent streams, and ideally they should not pass through the buffer area. Restore intermittent streams that have been affected by unnatural disturbance (e.g., remove obsolete impoundments and ditches in order to restore the natural hydrology). Prevent the spread of invasive exotic species into the stream and buffer area through appropriate direct management, and by minimizing potential dispersal corridors, such as roads.
Development and Mitigation Considerations
When considering road construction and other development activities, minimize actions that will change what water carries and how water travels to this community, both on the surface and underground. Water traveling over-the-ground as run-off usually carries an abundance of silt, clay, and other particulates during (and often after) a construction project. While still suspended in the water, these particulates make it difficult for aquatic animals to find food; after settling to the bottom of the wetland, these particulates bury small plants and animals and alter the natural functions of the community in many other ways. Thus, road construction and development activities near this community type should strive to minimize particulate-laden run-off into this community. Water traveling on the ground or seeping through the ground also carries dissolved minerals and chemicals. Road salt, for example, is becoming an increasing problem both to natural communities and as a contaminant in household wells. Fertilizers, detergents, and other chemicals that increase the nutrient levels in wetlands cause algae blooms and eventually an oxygen-depleted environment where few animals can live. Herbicides and pesticides often travel far from where they are applied and have lasting effects on the quality of the natural community. So, road construction and other development activities should strive to consider: 1. how water moves through the ground, 2. the types of dissolved substances these development activities may release, and 3. how to minimize the potential for these dissolved substances to reach this natural community.
Survey for occurrences statewide to advance documentation and classification of intermittent streams.
Research is needed to fill information gaps about intermittent streams, especially to advance our understanding of their classification, hydrology, floristic variation, and characteristic fauna. Research is needed to see if intermittent stream species assemblages are related to the underlying bedrock (e.g., acidic vs. alkaline) and the surrounding forest type (e.g., needle-leaf evergreen vs. broad-leaf deciduous).
- Cardamine rotundifolia (Round-leaved Water Cress)
- Cordulegaster obliqua (Arrowhead Spiketail)
- Eurycea longicauda (Longtail Salamander)
- Somatochlora linearis (Mocha Emerald)
- Stenogomphurus rogersi (Sable Clubtail)