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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: UNDERSTANDING AND PREDICTING THE IMPACT OF AGRICULTURE ON THE ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY OF MANAGED WATERSHEDS

Location: Water Quality and Ecology Research

Title: Associations between conservation practices and ecology: ecological responses of agricultural streams and lakes

Authors
item LIZOTTE, RICHARD
item KNIGHT, SCOTT
item SMILEY, PETER
item LOWRANCE, ROBERT
item Vellidis, George -
item Gillespie, Robert -

Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 15, 2012
Publication Date: July 19, 2012
Citation: Lizotte Jr, R.E., Knight, S.S., Smiley, P.C., Lowrance, R.R., Vellidis, G., Gillespie, R.B. 2012. Associations between conservation practices and ecology: Ecological responses of agricultural streams and lakes. Soil and Water Conservation Society 2012 Annual Conference Abstract Book. pp. 24.

Technical Abstract: The Conservation Effects Assessment Program (CEAP) Watershed Assessment Study goals are to quantify the environmental benefits of conservation practices at the watershed scale. Currently, a critical knowledge gap exists in linking conservation practices and their ecological effects on aquatic ecosystems since few studies have examined these relationships at the watershed scale. The objective of our presentation is to synthesize existing research results across three CEAP riverine watersheds and one lacustrine watershed that are currently conducting ecological assessments of conservation practices. Assessments of fish-habitat relationships within channelized agricultural headwater streams in Cedar Creek and Upper Big Walnut Creek watersheds showed that conservation practices that only alter nutrient and pesticide concentrations have little or no effect on fish communities within channelized agricultural headwater streams. Studies on Little River watershed showed that riparian buffers could contribute to naturally low stream dissolved oxygen levels because of allochthonous organic matter input from leaf litter and other detritus while riparian forest shade limits periphyton algae production, decreasing inputs of autochthonous organic matter. Beasley Lake watershed showed conservation practices affected lake water phytoplankton algae (chlorophyll a) concentrations with indirect increases in summer chlorophyll a due to decreases in TSS and changes nutrient levels and N:P ratios after implementation. Ecological assessments from CEAP studies suggest that: 1) conservation practices that do not alter in-stream habitat quality will have a limited effect on fishes within channelized agricultural headwater streams; and 2) edge-of-field conservation practices alters physicochemical variables affecting algae production within riverine and lacustrine watersheds.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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