Freshwater is a vital resource that provides life and sustainability for almost all organisms on Earth. It is important to maintain its health and protect it from emerging pollutants that pose a threat to the organisms that use it. Pollution continues to threaten the well-being of the environment’s freshwater sources all around the world that could lead to damaging effects in the future. The Sabine River is a major freshwater resource in the east Texas and western Louisiana areas that provides a habitat for thousands of organisms as well as other domestic uses for humans. In 2019, a waste discharge pipe was placed underwater by Sanderson Farms chicken factory dispels minimally treated chicken remains into the Sabine River near Hawkins, TX (Smith Co). A study was conducted by collecting fish and macroinvertebrate species at various dates and at upstream and downstream locations from the pipe to determine if the placement of the pipe was influencing the biodiversity of the organisms inhabiting the river as well as the health of the organisms over time. Many statistical analyses were performed including an IBI, B-IBI, habitat quality index, Shannon’s diversity index, Hilsenhoff biotic index, EPT index, and NMDS Plot where it was found that there was a significant difference in samples over time but not by site. There are many factors that could have accounted for this change such as drought patterns, geological differences in the substrate, and hydrological data over the years, so it is inconclusive whether the difference can be attributed to the placement of the pipe or some other factor. More data will be collected in later studies to examine any potential changes in health or diversity in the Sabine River near Hawkins, TX.

Date of publication

Summer 7-31-2023

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Dr. Lance Williams, Marsha Williams, Dr. Joshua Banta, Dr. Neil Ford


Masters of Science in Biology