Abstract The present study reported the effect of natural and anthropic environmental variables on the fish assemblages in the pampean streams, in the coastal strip along the Río de la Plata, Buenos Aires province, Argentina. Five streams were sampled at 12 sites surrounded by land devoted to different uses. A correspondence analysis sorted the streams into two groups: a less impacted group formed by sites surrounded by livestock- raising pastures and a more impacted one passing through urban sites and including a stream adjacent to a modest rural urbanization with a dairy in the stream’s basin. The nutrient concentrations were significantly higher in the more impacted group; with species richness, diversity, abundance, and biomass being significantly lower. A canonical-correspondence analysis linked the more impacted sites to high concentrations of soluble reactive phosphorus and impoverished fish assemblages, composed of species tolerant to environmental pollution. On the other hand, sites with higher oxygen concentrations and pH were related to richer assemblages pointing to good environmental conditions at the sites surrounded by livestock-raising pastures. The downstream sites on the less impacted streams contained fish assemblages in which the juvenile stages of species corresponding to the Río de la Plata were dominant.