Fish and Aquatic Macroinvertrebrate Surveys of the Chicago Area Waterways

JULY 2008 – JUNE 2009

  • Determine fish and invertebrate community composition

  • Fish, Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Sampling

  • Boat Electrofishing, Petite Ponar and Hester Dendy

  • Species Identification, Abundance, Trophic Classification,

  • Species Richness


EcoAnalysts was contracted by LimnoTech in 2008 to conduct biological inventories of fish and macroinvertebrates at 14 stations within the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS). The objective of this project was to collect and process fish and aquatic macroinvertebrate samples for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. The purpose of sampling was to determine fish and macroinvertebrate community composition and density to facilitate development of habitat, fish, and macroinvertebrate community indices for Chicago Area Rivers.

Fieldwork associated with this project was conducted in July 2008. Sites were sampled for fish using a DC-pulse boat mounted electrofisher. Aquatic macroinvertebrates were sampled using a Ponar. In addition to macroinvertebrate samples EcoAnalysts collected, Hester-Dendy samples retrieved by the client were also analyzed.


EcoAnalysts identified, measured, and weighed all fish collected in the field. Species not readily identifiable in the field were returned to the EcoAnalysts laboratory for identification. Community metrics such as species richness and relative abundance were calculated for each site.

Aquatic macroinvertebrate samples were processed in the EcoAnalysts laboratory. Taxa identifications were done to the lowest level possible, including Chironomidae. A total of 28 samples of both Hester Dendy and Ponar sampling methods were sorted, processed, and identified and community metrics calculated included: species richness (discrete taxon only), relative abundance, number and percent Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera taxa, number and percent Diptera taxa, and number of Chironimodae with head capsule deformities. EcoAnalysts prepared a technical document that included a summary of the results, raw data sheets, field observations, data summary tables, and methodologies used for the project.