Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 11, 2011
Publication Date: April 1, 2011
Citation: Smiley, P.C., King, K.W., Fausey, N.R. 2011. Evaluating the ability of grass filter strips to contribute to the restoration of degraded agricultural headwater streams in central Ohio [abstract]. Midwest-Great Lakes SER Chapter meeting. Technical Abstract: Grass filter strips are planted adjacent to agricultural streams in the United States as riparian buffers to reduce nutrient, pesticide, and sediment input into streams. This frequently used agricultural conservation practice is assumed to have the ability to mitigate the effects of agriculture on streams. However, the ecological impacts of grass filter strips have not been evaluated.Our hypothesis was establishing grass filter strips adjacent to channelized agricultural headwater streams will alter riparian habitat and geomorphology, which will then cause changes in water chemistry, instream habitat, and stream communities. Beginning in 2006 we sampled riparian habitat, geomorphology, instream habitat, water chemistry, fishes, and amphibians from three channelized streams without filter strips, three channelized streams with filter strips, and two unchannelized streams with forested riparian buffers in central Ohio. Preliminary analysis of the first four years of data indicated riparian widths were greater adjacent to channelized streams with filter strips than channelized streams without filter strips. Percent insectivores and percent minnows were greater in channelized streams without filter strips than channelized streams with filter strips. No differences in nutrient concentrations, herbicide concentrations, geomorphology and amphibian communities occurred between channelized streams with and without filter strips. Our preliminary results suggest installation of grass filter strips adjacent to channelized agricultural headwater streams in central Ohio and other parts of the midwestern United States may not be contributing to the restoration of these streams. Future analyses will compare long term trends in the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics among the three buffer types.