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Effects of multiple use on water quality of high-mountain watersheds: bacteriological investigations of mountain streams

, : Effects of multiple use on water quality of high-mountain watersheds: bacteriological investigations of mountain streams. Applied Microbiology 22(6): 1048-1054

Bacteriological studies in 1968 and 1969 corroborated earlier findings that a municipal watershed which had been closed to public entry since 1917 yielded water with four to six times the coliform count found in an adjacent mountain watershed open to recreational activities. Similarly, chemical investigations showed higher concentrations of most ions in water from the closed area. Physiological differentiation of coliform and enterococcal bacteria revealed similar types of organisms in both animal droppings and stream water, with fecal coliforms accounting for as much as 70% of the coliform counts observed in the closed area in 1969. Opening of the closed drainage for limited recreation and expanded logging operations in the spring of 1970 coincided with an unexpected decrease in bacterial contamination of that stream. It is postulated that these human activities drove from the watershed a large wild animal population which had contributed substantially to the previous bacterial pollution. It would seem that the practice of closing high-mountain watersheds to public entry is questionable if governmental standards for water quality are to be met, and it also seems that the standards themselves should be reexamined.


PMID: 4944803

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