II. International Agricultural, Biological Life Science Conference (AGBIOL), Edirne, Turkey, 1 - 03 September 2020, pp.265-277
Camili District, the first biosphere reserve area of Turkey, is a part of the Caucasus Biodiversity Hotspot. Besides, many conservation areas such as Borçka-Karagöl Nature Park, Camili-Gorgit Nature Conservation Area and Camili-Efeler Nature Conservation Area are also within the boundaries of the region. The present study aimed (1) to determine the sections with reference habitat conditions by locating the anthropogenic effects on the streams forming the Camili Basin, (2) to determine the water quality classes of the sampling sites according to the physicochemical variables, and (3) to classify the sampling sites according to the EU Water Framework Directive, System A and B classification. Within the scope of the study, 23 sampling sites were determined from the region. In each site, water temperature, pH, electrical conductivity, total dissolved solids, the concentration of dissolved oxygen were measured, and then water quality classes of the sites were determined. Besides, by locating whether there was any human-based destruction on and around the sites, reference habitats were determined according to the natural habitat conditions of the sampling sites. In addition, some information such as stream order, current velocity, altitude, stream region, distance from the source, and land slope were also provided. As a result of the evaluation, 17 sites that were not under the influence of agriculture-animal husbandry, permanent settlement and physical destruction were identified as the sites with reference habitat characteristics. Seven of 23 sites were on 1st stream order, 12 of them on 2nd stream order, three of them on 3rd order, and one of them on 4th stream order. According to physicochemical variables, the water qualities of 12 sites were determined as Class I, four sites were Class II, six sites were Class III, and one site was Class IV. According to the results of the assessment of the stream orders, six of the 17 reference sites were located on 1st stream order, 10 of them on 2nd stream order, and one them on 3rd stream order. Any reference site was not found on 4th stream order. As stream order increases, the physicochemical and hydromorphological features of streams change, as well. As a result of these changes, natural deterioration in water and habitat qualities can be observed. However, the distortions observed in the sampling sites that did not meet the reference conditions in the present study were not natural but human-caused. Therefore, the reason for not having any reference site on 4th stream order was due to anthropogenic effects. Streams in an isolated and protected area, such as the study area, are expected to have high water quality. However, as a result of water quality assessments, it was observed that some sites had III. and IV. Class water quality. The variable that caused this situation was pH. The pH value decreases due to episodic acidification, which is generally encountered during melting periods of snow and ice masses. Due to the fact that the periodically occurring and the temporary phenomenon was observed during the sampling period, it resulted in low water quality values. If the situation observed in pH values was ignored, the water quality of all sites corresponded to the I. and II. Class. Continuing conservation work is essential to maintaining the quality of river habitats in the region.