Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy Meetings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/31/2002
Publication Date: 12/31/2002
Citation: STEINER, J.J., LI, J., GRIFFITH, S.M., STALEY, K., GIANNICO, G. UP THE CREEK AND IN THE FLOODPLAIN: A WINTER'S FISH TALE. AMERICAN SOCIETY OF AGRONOMY MEETINGS. 2002. Paper No. A05-134145.
Technical Abstract: Poorly drained agricultural fields in the maritime Pacific Northwest are closely linked to aquatic habitats and may provide refuge to endangered native fish during winter high flow periods. During winter 2001-02, the spatial and temporal distributions of native fish and amphibians were determined in different order agricultural drainages of a western Oregon watershed that is primarily impacted by grass seed agriculture. Concurrent with aquatic wildlife capture was measurement of habitat water quality. Terrestrial and aquatic arthropods were also surveyed. From late-November to early-May, four salmonid, six other native fish, and four amphibian species were differentially distributed by landscape features. Few to no fish were found in drainages from fields directly feeding into the river main-stem. Fish number decreased in drainage tributaries with increasing distance from the main-stem. Fish abundance was not associated with riparian vegetation appearance or water quality parameters. A limited number of sites also supported amphibian populations. The ranges for season-long turbidity, nitrate- and ammonium-nitrogen, and dissolved organic carbon were 11-60 NTU, 1-11 ppm, 0-0.6 mg/L, and 4.4-11.5 mg/L, respectively. Overland water flow through grass seed fields was also a significant source of arthropods to the aquatic system in late autumn. This study is a first step in determining the biological contributions of upland agricultural landscapes to aquatic wildlife habitat quality.