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Research Project: Understanding Water-Driven Ecohydrologic and Erosion Processes in the Semiarid Southwest to Improve Watershed Management

Location: Southwest Watershed Research Center

Title: Featured collection introduction: Connectivity of streams and wetlands to downstream waters

Author
item Alexander, L.c. - Us Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
item Fritz, K.m. - Us Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
item Schofield, K.a. - Us Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
item Autrey, B.c. - Us Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
item Demeester, J.e. - Us Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
item Golden, H.e. - Us Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
item Goodrich, David - Dave
item Kepner, W.g. - Us Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
item Lane, C.r. - Us Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
item Leduc, S.d. - Us Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
item Leibowitz, S.g. - Us Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
item Mcmanus, M.g. - Us Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
item Pollard, A.l. - Us Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
item Kiperwas, H.r. - Us Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
item Ridley, C.e. - Us Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
item Vanderhoof, M.k. - Us Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
item Wigington, P.j.,jr. - Retired Non ARS Employee

Submitted to: Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/22/2018
Publication Date: 4/8/2018
Citation: Alexander, L., Fritz, K., Schofield, K., Autrey, B., Demeester, J., Golden, H., Goodrich, D.C., Kepner, W., Lane, C., Leduc, S., Leibowitz, S., McManus, M., Pollard, A., Kiperwas, H., Ridley, C., Vanderhoof, M., Wigington, P. 2018. Featured collection introduction: Connectivity of streams and wetlands to downstream waters. Journal of the American Water Resources Association. 54(2):287-297. https://doi.org/10.1111/1752-1688.12630.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1752-1688.12630

Interpretive Summary: Connectivity of upstream to downstream channel segments is a key component of hydrologic and ecological integrity, and has long been a central tenet in aquatic ecosystem, fluvial geomorphic, and hydrologic research. In this featured collection, we review and synthesize the results of 40+ years of scientific research on the chemical, physical, and biological connections by which streams and wetlands affect the integrity of downstream waters such as large rivers, lakes, and estuaries. The papers in this featured collection include a framework to understand hydrological, chemical, and biological connectivity, focused the connectivity and contributions of headwater streams and wetlands to rivers; reviews of the physical or chemical connections by which streams and wetlands influence the structure and function of downstream waters; a review of the literature on movements of aquatic and semi-aquatic biota that connect freshwater habitats; and a regionally-focused case study on intermittent and ephemeral streams and rivers in the arid southwestern United States. Many questions about stream and wetland connectivity, and its role in sustaining downstream water integrity can be answered from the available literature reviewed in this featured collection. Emerging research is rapidly closing existing data gaps with new information about aquatic, stream, and wetland systems connectivity and function at the local, watershed, and regional scales, supporting science-based efforts to restore and maintain safe, reliable sources of fresh water for future generations.

Technical Abstract: Connectivity is a key component of ecological integrity, and has long been a central tenet in aquatic ecosystem, fluvial geomorphic, and hydrologic research. In this featured collection, we review and synthesize the results of 40+ years of scientific research on the chemical, physical, and biological connections by which streams and wetlands affect the integrity of downstream waters such as large rivers, lakes, and estuaries. The papers in this featured collection include a framework to understand hydrological, chemical, and biological connectivity, focused the connectivity and contributions of headwater streams and wetlands to rivers; reviews of the physical or chemical connections by which streams and wetlands influence the structure and function of downstream waters; a review of the literature on movements of aquatic and semi-aquatic biota that connect freshwater habitats; and a regionally-focused case study on intermittent and ephemeral streams and rivers in the arid southwestern United States. Many questions about stream and wetland connectivity, and its role in sustaining downstream water integrity can be answered from the available literature reviewed in this featured collection. Emerging research is rapidly closing existing data gaps with new information about aquatic, stream, and wetland systems connectivity and function at the local, watershed, and regional scales, supporting science-based efforts to restore and maintain safe, reliable sources of fresh water for future generations.