Submitted to: American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 2, 2010
Publication Date: July 7, 2010
Citation: Smiley, P.C., King, K.W., Fausey, N.R. 2010. Influence of Herbaceous Riparian Buffers on Fish and Amphibian Communities Within Channelized Headwater Streams in Central Ohio. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Abstract # 0314. Technical Abstract: Herbaceous riparian buffers are a widely used conservation practice in the United States for reducing nutrient, pesticide, and sediment loadings in agricultural streams. The importance of forested riparian zones for headwater streams has been documented, but the ecological impacts of herbaceous riparian buffers have not been evaluated. Our hypothesis was that establishment of herbaceous riparian buffers adjacent to channelized headwater streams will alter the riparian habitat and geomorphology, which will then cause changes in water chemistry, instream habitat, fish communities, and amphibian communities. Beginning in 2006 we sampled riparian habitat, geomorphology, instream habitat, water chemistry, fishes, and amphibians from three channelized streams without herbaceous riparian buffers, three channelized streams with herbaceous riparian buffers, and two unchannelized streams with forested riparian zones in central Ohio. Herbaceous riparian buffers were installed between 2003 and 2005 through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program. Preliminary analysis of the first two years of data observed that channelized streams with herbaceous riparian buffers had greater riparian widths than channelized streams without buffers. No differences in geomorphology, instream habitat, water chemistry, fish community, and amphibian community variables occurred between buffer types. These preliminary results suggest that widening riparian buffers of channelized headwater streams without altering riparian vegetative structure, geomorphology, or instream habitat is not likely to influence fish or amphibian communities.