Location: Soil Drainage Research
Title: The importance of instream habitat modifications for restoring channelized agricultural headwater streams Authors
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 9, 2013
Publication Date: October 6, 2013
Citation: Smiley, P.C., King, K.W., Gillespie, R.G., Sanders, K., Fausey, N.R. 2013. The importance of instream habitat modifications for restoring channelized agricultural headwater streams. Meeting Abstract. Fifth World Conference on Ecological Restoration, Madison, Wisconsin, October 6 to 11, 2013. Technical Abstract: Science based information on the influence of restoration practices on fishes within channelized agricultural headwater streams in the Midwestern United States is currently lacking. Understanding fish-habitat relationships and fish responses to specific restoration practices will provide information needed to develop restoration strategies for these degraded streams that are common throughout this region. We conducted fish community assessments within channelized agricultural headwater streams within the Upper Big Walnut Creek watershed, Ohio to address the following research questions: 1) what is the relative influence of riparian habitat, instream habitat, and water chemistry on fish communities? and 2) what is the influence of grass filter strips on physical habitat, water chemistry, and fish communities? From spring 2006 to fall 2010 we collected fishes and measured riparian habitat, geomorphology, instream habitat, nutrients, pesticides, and physico-chemical variables from 14 sites in the Upper Big Walnut Creek watershed. We found that fish community structure is more strongly correlated with instream habitat than either riparian habitat or water chemistry. Our assessment of grass filter strips indicated that grass filter strips lead to the widening of the riparian zones and did not result in changes to riparian vegetative structure, geomorphology, instream habitat, nutrient concentrations, herbicide concentrations, and fish communities. The combined results of our assessments of fish-habitat relationships and grass filter strips suggest restoration practices that do not lead to changes in instream habitat will not benefit fish communities within channelized agricultural headwater streams in the Midwestern United States.