Location: Soil Drainage ResearchTitle: Headwater fish population responses to planting grass filter strips adjacent to channelized agricultural headwater streams
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/4/2017
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Grass filter strips are a widely used conservation practice in the Midwestern United States for reducing nutrient, pesticide, and sediment inputs into agricultural streams. Only a limited amount of information is available on the ecological effects of planting grass filter strips adjacent to channelized agricultural headwater streams. Our previous studies evaluating the ecological effects of grass filter strips indicate that widening the riparian habitats of channelized agricultural headwater streams by planting grass filter strips will not alter fish community structure. In this study we expand upon our previous evaluations of fish community responses by evaluating the population responses of five headwater fish species [blacknose dace (Rhinichthys atratulus), creek chub (Semotilus atromaculatus), green sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus), johnny darter (Etheostoma nigrum), orangethroat darter (Etheostoma spectabile)] to planting grass filter strips. Our research question is does planting grass filter strips influence the population structure (abundance, size, age) of these five headwater fish species in central Ohio? We conducted annual sampling of riparian habitat and seasonal sampling of instream habitat, water chemistry, and fishes from three channelized headwater streams without grass filter strips, three channelized headwater streams with planted grass filter strips, and two unchannelized headwater streams with forested riparian habitats in central Ohio from 2006 to 2015. Our preliminary results indicated that planting grass filter strips did not influence the abundance of these five fish species. Additionally, the abundance of these headwater fish species was not significantly influenced by riparian width or the vertical structural diversity of herbaceous and woody vegetation. Our preliminary results suggest that fish population responses to planting grass filter strips are similar to fish community responses and that planting grass filter strips will not contribute to the restoration of channelized agricultural headwater streams.