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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOURCE WATER QUALITY EFFECTS OF MANAGEMENT PRACTICES AND LAND USE ON POORLY DRAINED LAND

Location: Soil Drainage Research

Title: Using instream wood characteristics to guide the restoration of agricultural headwater streams

Authors
item Smiley, Peter
item Gates, Eric -

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 1, 2011
Publication Date: March 4, 2012
Citation: Smiley, P.C., Gates, E. 2012. Using instream wood characteristics to guide the restoration of agricultural headwater streams. Meeting Abstract. 2012 Upper Midwest Stream Restoration Symposium Oral Abstract Guide. p. 2.

Technical Abstract: Instream wood is a critical habitat feature for aquatic animals within streams and rivers worldwide. Many stream restoration projects within forested watersheds include the addition of large instream wood (i.e., > 1 m length and > 0.10 m diameter) within their restoration designs. Instream wood addition has not been widely attempted within agricultural headwater streams in the Midwestern United States. Additionally, quantitative information on the instream wood characteristics of agricultural headwater streams in this region is lacking and is needed to assist with designing stream restoration projects for these small streams. We conducted a large scale assessment to determine if the presence and diversity of instream wood types differs among Scioto River Basin (Ohio) headwater streams exhibiting four channel types ranging from recently channelized to unchannnelized. Data on the presence of instream wood types within 118 headwater streams for the large scale assessment were obtained from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. We also conducted a small scale field study in twelve headwater streams within the Upper Big Walnut Creek watershed within the Scioto River basin to determine if the amounts and types of instream wood differ between channelized and unchannelized agricultural headwater streams. Our large scale assessment found the presence of rootwads, rootmats, and logs and the diversity of instream wood differed among channel types with unchannelized streams having the greatest values and recently channelized streams having the least values. Our small scale field study observed that the diversity of instream wood, density of instream wood, and density of large log jams was greater in unchannelized than channelized streams within the Upper Big Walnut Creek watershed. Channelized headwater streams within this watershed contained mostly small simple wood pieces, large simple wood pieces, and large overhanging vegetation. Unchannelized streams possessed mostly small simple wood pieces, large rootwads, and large log jams. Our preliminary results from these assessments indicate the amount and type of instream wood differs between channelized and unchannelized headwater agricultural streams within the Scioto River basin. These results highlight the importance of small instream wood for agricultural headwater streams and use of restoration practices that increase the amount of instream wood and alter the proportion of different types of instream wood within channelized agricultural headwater streams.

Last Modified: 9/20/2014
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