After decades of strict pollution control and municipal sewage treatment, the water quality of the Tanshui River increased significantly after pollution mitigation as indicated by the River Pollution Index (RPI). The pollution level of the estuarine region decreased from severe pollution to mostly moderately impaired. The most polluted waters are presently restricted to a flow track length between 15-35 km relative to the river mouth. From July 2011 to September 2012, four surveys of fish and benthic macroinvertebrates were conducted at 45 sampling sites around the Tanshui River basin. The pollution level of all the study area indicated by the RPI could also be explained by the Family Biotic Index (FBI) and Biotic Index (BI) from the benthic macroinvertebrate community, and the Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) of the fish community. The result of canonical correlation analysis between aquatic environmental factors and community structure indicated that the community structure was closely related to the level of water pollution. Fish species richness in the estuarine area has increased significantly in recent years. Some catadromous fish and crustaceans could cross the moderate polluted water into the upstream freshwater, and have re-colonized their populations. The benthic macroinvertebrate community relying on the benthic substrate of the estuarine region is still very poor, and the water layer was still moderately polluted.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, v.11 n.7, pp.7116-7143