Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2005
Publication Date: July 8, 2005
Citation: Smiley, P.C., King, K.W., Fausey, N.R. 2005. Evaluating habitat and fish community responses to conservation practices in headwater streams of upper big walnut creek. Meeting poster. Technical Abstract: The Upper Big Walnut Creek watershed (USGS HUC 0506001-130) is located north of Columbus, Ohio, and serves as source water for 800,000 residents of Columbus. Streams in the watershed flow into the Hoover Reservoir, and then downstream into the Scioto River. The Upper Big Walnut Creek watershed contains mostly low gradient warmwater streams adjacent to row crop agriculture. Soils in the watershed exhibit slow water permeability, which in conjunction with extensive agricultural land use has led to the widespread use of tile and surface drains to facilitate drainage of agricultural fields. Previous research has documented that the majority of headwater streams in the Upper Big Walnut Creek watershed are impaired by nutrient enrichment, pathogens, and habitat degradation stemming from current agricultural management practices. We are evaluating the influence of conservation practices on the physical habitat and fish communities of headwater streams in this watershed as part of the Source Water Protection Research Initiative and the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP). Our hypothesis is that implementation of conservation practices in headwater streams of Upper Big Walnut Creek will alter the physical habitat of the riparian zones which will in turn lead to changes to the water chemistry, instream habitat, and fish community structure within these small streams. We began monitoring hydrology, pesticides, herbicides, and nutrients in 2003, and measurements of riparian vegetation, channel geomorphology, and fishes began in April 2005. We plan to assess changes in physical habitat and fish communities through time with univariate statistics, and indirect gradient analyses will be used to examine the relationships between physical habitat and fish communities.