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Title: Influence of Gully Erosion Control on Amphibian and Reptile Communities Within Riparian Zones of Channelized Streams

item Smiley, Peter - Rocky
item Knight, Scott
item Cooper, Charles

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2008
Publication Date: 9/3/2008
Citation: Smiley, P.C., Knight, S.S., Shields, D.F., Cooper, C.M. 2008. Influence of Gully Erosion Control on Amphibian and Reptile Communities Within Riparian Zones of Channelized Streams. Meeting Abstract.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Riparian zones of streams in northern Mississippi have been impacted by agriculture, channelization, channel incision, and gully erosion. Gully erosion is the most severe form of erosion and has resulted in the fragmentation of remnant riparian zones within agricultural watersheds. One widely used conservation practice for controlling gully erosion is the installation of drop pipes. This practice involves placing earthen dams across eroding gullies and embedding a metal standpipe within the dam to convey water from the field to stream level. Installation of this structure halts gully erosion and results in the incidental replacement of eroding gullies with riparian habitats. Previous research evaluating gully erosion control structures have not considered the ecological impacts of these conservation practices on amphibians and reptile communities within impacted riparian zones. We compared amphibian and reptile communities among riparian habitats containing actively eroding gullies and four riparian habitat types created by drop pipe installation. Amphibians and reptiles were sampled from four gully erosion sites and four sites of each drop pipe created habitat type from 1994 to 1996. Amphibian and reptile diversity and abundance were the greatest in created riparian habitat types having mean habitat areas > 0.10 ha and mean pool volumes > 420 m3. Our results suggest the use of drop pipes to control gully erosion also creates needed riparian habitats for amphibian and reptile communities within impacted riparian zones of channelized streams in northern Mississippi. Additionally, altering the installation design will increase the ecological benefits resulting from this conservation practice.