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WWRC 84-22
Change in Bacterial Populations Downstream in a Wyoming Mountain Drainage Basin


Ten bacteriological tests were utilized to monitor different bac terial populations found in water samples taken from streams draining high mountain rangeland. Livestock grazing and recrea tion constituted the major uses of the study area. Vegetation types were typical of those found in other sub-alpine and alpine zones in the central Rocky Mountains. Results show differences in counts of bacteria between sampling sites along individual streams sampled with the exception of those organisms capable of reducing nitrate were not significant. A seasonal variation in the numbers of bacteria were found between streams. This variation is not fully explained by drainage basin areas or related to runoff. In contrast, within each stream counts varied with season and could be related to runoff. Bacterial populations which indicate fecal pollution were low and probably derived from animals not man. Wet meadows and bog areas under snow may be possible sources for sulfate reducing bacteria and those organisms capable of reducing nitrate.

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