KWRRI Research Reports


The microflora of Cane Branch of Beaver Creek in McCreary County, Kentucky, which drains an area that was strip-mined between 1955 and 1959, was studied and compared with that of Helton Branch which drains a comparable area where there has been no mining. Differences include: the establishment of Ferrcbacillus ferrooxidans, for which procedures were developed for direct colony isolation from the stream; fewer saprophytic bacteria; more numerous and more diversified filamentous and unicellular fungi; and characteristic differences in algal flora. Representatives of 42 genera of filamentous fungi were identified. Of these, 21 were isolated only from Cane Branch. Representatives of five genera of unicellular fungi were found. One, Rhoclotorula, was found consistently in Cane Branch but never in Helton Branch. From 1966 to 1968, Bumilleria appears to have established itself as the dominate alga in Cane Branch at same distance downstream from the strip-mine drainage area, Seasonal differences in the microflora appear to be relatively insignificant, except for the algae.

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The work upon which this report is based was supported in part by the United States Department of the Interior, Office of Water Resources Research, as authorized under the Water Resources Research Act of 1964.