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Research Project: ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS & SERVICES RESULTING FROM PREVAILING & INNOVATIVE LAND USE & MNGMT PRACTICES WITHIN POORLY DRAINED MIDWEST LANDSCAPES

Location: Soil Drainage Research

Title: Influence of grass filter strips on structure and function of riparian habitats of agricultural headwater streams in central Ohio

Author
item Smiley, Peter - Rocky
item Rumora, Kathryne - Katie

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/18/2014
Publication Date: 10/15/2014
Citation: Smiley, P.C., Rumora, K.R. 2014. Influence of grass filter strips on structure and function of riparian habitats of agricultural headwater streams in central Ohio. Meeting Abstract. 2014 Natural Areas Association Meeting, October 15-17, 2014, Dayton, Ohio.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Grass filter strips are a widely used conservation practice in the United States for reducing nutrient, pesticide, and sediment loadings into agricultural streams. Previous studies have documented the effectiveness of grass filter strips in reducing the input of agricultural pollutants, but the influence of this conservation practice on riparian habitats of agricultural streams has not been evaluated. Our objective was to quantify the influence of planting grass filter strips on riparian habitats of channelized agricultural headwater streams. We measured vegetative structure and composition in the summer and fall 2013 to quantify differences in riparian habitat structure among remnant herbaceous riparian zones, planted herbaceous riparian zones (grass filter strips), and forested riparian zones. We also conducted a field experiment in the summer of 2013 to determine if water temperature, coarse particulate organic matter (CPOM) input, and nutrient input within experimental mesocosms differed among riparian zone types. Canopy cover, riparian width, and woody vegetation density was greater in forested than herbaceous riparian zones. Riparian width was greater in planted than remnant herbaceous riparian zones. Canopy cover, woody vegetation density, water temperature, CPOM input, and nutrient input did not differ between remnant and planted herbaceous riparian zones. Mesocosms within forested riparian zones had lower mean water temperatures and greater CPOM input than those within remnant and planted herbaceous riparian zones. Our results suggest that planting grass filter strips adjacent to channelized agricultural headwater streams in central Ohio simply widens the riparian zones, but does not alter riparian structure or function.