Location: Soil Drainage Research
Title: Similarities in fish-habitat relationships within channelized agricultural headwater streams in Ohio and Indiana Authors
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 4, 2013
Publication Date: January 10, 2014
Citation: Smiley, P.C., Gillespie, R.G., Sanders, K., King, K.W., Smith, D., Pappas, E.A. 2014. Similarities in fish-habitat relationships within channelized agricultural headwater streams in Ohio and Indiana. Ecological Restoration and Sustainability - Partners for the Future. Abstract Book for the Fifth Midwest-Great Lakes SER Chapter Meeting. Midwest-Great Lakes SER Chapter, Indianapolis, Indiana. Meeting Abstract. pg 35. Technical Abstract: Channelized agricultural headwater streams are common throughout agricultural watersheds in the Midwestern United States. Understanding the fish-habitat relationships within these streams will provide information that can assist with developing restoration strategies for these degraded streams. We conducted fish community assessments within channelized agricultural headwater streams within the Upper Big Walnut Creek watershed, Ohio and Cedar Creek watershed, Indiana to address the following research questions: 1) do fish-habitat relationships differ between watersheds?; 2) what is the relative influence of riparian habitat, instream habitat, and water chemistry on fish communities?; and 3) what is the influence of watershed size on fish-habitat relationships? From spring 2006 to fall 2010 we collected fishes and measured riparian habitat, instream habitat, nutrients, pesticides, and physico-chemical variables from 14 sites in the Upper Big Walnut Creek and seven sites in Cedar Creek. We found that community structure is more strongly correlated with instream habitat than either riparian habitat or water chemistry. These fish-habitat relationships occur in both the Upper Big Walnut Creek and Cedar Creek watersheds, but examination of fish-habitat relationships within individual watersheds revealed some within-watershed differences. Only one of 20 fish community response variables was more strongly correlated with water chemistry in the Upper Big Walnut Creek watershed and six of 21 fish community response variables were more strongly correlated with water chemistry in the Cedar Creek watershed. We also observed interrelationships among instream habitat, watershed size, and fish communities within both watersheds that suggest the hydrological changes that occur with increasing watershed size are the underlying factor for the fish community changes that occur with increasing watershed size. Overall, our results suggest that restoration projects within channelized agricultural headwater streams in the Midwestern United States need to address physical habitat degradation to positively influence fish community structure.