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SFS Annual Meeting

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GEOMORPHIC AND BIOLOGICAL RESPONSES TO BANK STABILIZATION AND RESTORATION OF AGRICULTURAL STREAM CHANNELS

Sediment and nutrient loading from agriculture is the leading source of stream impairment and coastal eutrophication in many parts of the world. Erosion from banks of incised agricultural streams constitutes a major source of sediment loads to streams in the eastern United States. Several management agencies are using bank stabilization and riparian management approaches in a number of agriculturally impaired streams in central Pennsylvania to reduce sediment loading and improve benthic habitat. We surveyed channel morphology, substrate size, mesohabitat composition, and invertebrate and fish communities in two stream reaches before and after bank stabilization and channel modification projects were installed. Post-restoration, both streams were deeper and faster and had higher proportions of riffle and run habitat with less silty substrate. Despite apparent improvement in physical habitat, invertebrate and fish communities were very similar before and after restoration, most likely due to continued impairment of water quality from ongoing agricultural activities in the streams’ watersheds. Bank stabilization could reduce sediment transport downstream and improve instream habitat, but ecological benefits to local streams might depend on riparian management and agricultural practices that reduce nutrient loading and restore natural riparian vegetation.

Matthew McTammany (Primary Presenter/Author), Bucknell University, mmctamma@bucknell.edu;


Catherine Bille (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Bucknell University, katerose.mcfadden@gmail.com;


Savannah Weaver (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Bucknell University, sjw018@bucknell.edu;


Christine Kehrli (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Bucknell University, christine.kehrli@bucknell.edu;


Jonathan Niles (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Susquehanna University, niles@susqu.edu;


Michael Bilger (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Susquehanna University, mdbilger@verizon.net;


Matthew Wilson (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Susquehanna University, mjw029@bucknell.edu;