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SFS Annual Meeting

Abstract Details

5/22/2018  |   11:15 - 11:30   |  320

HYDROLOGIC, MORPHOLOGIC, AND WATER QUALITY EFFECTS OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT IN STREAMS OF THE SOUTHERN BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS Studying effects of low-density rural development on aquatic systems can elucidate the role of stream stressors on water quality in the absence of large-scale hydrologic changes. We conducted several cross-landscape studies of streams in the exurbanizing but largely rural landscape of the southern Appalachians. Valleys typically feature small farms, rural residences, and riparian alteration, whereas hillslopes feature mature forests with occasional intrusions by recent mountain developments. The region has high topographic and mesoclimate variability. Conversion of forested riparian zones to pastures or grasses profoundly changed channel structure by reducing channel widths and the frequency of step features. Wood counts were low in all streams with nearby human habitation, apparently due to direct wood removal. Sediment yields increased with basin development, the exception was the one urban stream with very low sediment yields. Big river sites suggested continued mobilization of legacy sediments. Specific conductance was idiosyncratic and not well correlated with basin land use. Catchment disturbance strongly influenced dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) export and modified the seasonal pattern of DIN concentration. Water quality changes wrought by low density rural development influenced the presence/absence of focal native stream taxa.

C. Rhett Jackson (Primary Presenter/Author), University of Georgia,;

Jackson R. Webster (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Department of Biology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA,;

Kristen Cecala (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of the South,;

John R. Frisch (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Minnesotat Duluth,;

Joseph Kirsch (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), USDA Forest Service,;

John Maerz (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Georgia,;

David S. Leigh (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Georgia,;

James Peterson (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), U.S. Geological Survey, Oregon Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit,;

Catherine Pringle (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia,;

Jennifer Knoepp (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), US Forest Service, Southern Research Station,;