Characteristics of fish community and the effects of water quality on river health in Sincheon, Imjin river, Korea.
This study investigated the characteristics of fish communities and river health in the Sincheon stream of Imgin River between April and October 2019. The survey collected 3,677 objects in 30 species belonging to 12 families from 23 survey stations. The dominant and subdominant species were Zacco platypus (28.4%) and Oryzias sinensis (13.6%), respectively, followed by Z. koreanus (11.8%), Rhynchocypris oxycephalus (11.7%), Carassius auratus (9.6%), and Pseudorasbora parva (7.9%) in that order. Among the fish species collected, 10 (33.3%) were endemic species in Korea. The exotic species were 5 (16.7%), including Micropterus salmoides, Lepomis macrochirus, Cyprinus carpio (Israeli type), Poecilia reticulata, and Xiphophorus maculatus. The land-locked species included Cottus koreanus and Rhinogobius brunneus, while C. koreanus was a climate change-sensitive species. The dominance of the fish community was low, and the diversity was high in the Sincheon mainstream, Sudongcheon and Cheongdamcheon, whereas Dongducheon and Sangpaecheon showed higher dominance and low diversity. The river health was very good and good in the uppermost and Sudongcheon areas, whereas the upper stream was normal, and the middle and lower streams were poor and very poor, respectively. The water quality was also mostly poor or very poor from the midstream to the downstream, and only Sudongcheon was very good. Therefore, the water quality had a great impact on fish habitat and eventually affected river health significantly. Although the water quality of Shincheon has improved each year, the introduction of several foreign species had a very negative effect. Improvement of river health in Shincheon requires water quality improvement and management of exotic fish species.