Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/8/2009
Publication Date: 7/12/2009
Citation: Smiley, P.C., Shields Jr, F.D., Knight, S.S., Gillespie, R.B., Moore, M.T. 2009. Effects of Conservation Practices on Fishes Within Agricultural Watersheds [abstract]. Soil and Water Conservation Society. p.88-89. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Conservation practices have been regularly implemented within agricultural watersheds in the United States without documentation of their impacts. The goal of the ARS Conservation Effects Assessment Project Watershed Assessment Study is to quantify the effect of conservation practices within 14 agricultural watersheds within United States. All watersheds are evaluating water chemistry and hydrological responses, and ecological responses are being examined in two Midwestern watersheds and one southeastern watershed by the CEAP Ecology Working Group. However, we have conducted research on the effects of conservation practices on aquatic biota since the early 1990’s. Our objective is to synthesize the results of our past and current research involving fishes within agricultural watersheds. Research within channelized streams involved conducting field studies evaluating fish community responses and laboratory studies measuring acute toxicity of fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas). Our key findings suggest a combination of reach-scale habitat structures and watershed scale practices will be needed to positively influence fish communities within agricultural watersheds. Our key findings also suggest that conservation practices that only reduce loadings of agricultural chemicals within channelized headwater streams may have a limited short term influence on fish communities, but may reduce the prevalence of sublethal effects.