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SFS Annual Meeting

2021 Detailed Schedule

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Are riparian buffers surrounding forestry-impacted streams sufficient to meet key ecological objectives? [Oral Presentation]

Lenka Kuglerová (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Department of Forest Ecology and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences,;

Darshanaa Chellaiah (Primary Presenter/Author)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences,;

Abstract: Riparian buffers are commonly advocated to protect freshwaters from anthropogenic stressors. In Sweden, riparian buffers are suggested to sustain several ecological objectives in aquatic systems, namely shading, biodiversity, reduction of sedimentation, and provision of deadwood and food. We evaluated whether riparian buffers of different widths along recently harvested streams were able to provide proxies of these targeted objectives, and further compared them to streams in mature unharvested production forests (reference) in northern and southern Sweden. The influence of buffer width varied with objective and region. In both regions, canopy cover (proxy for shading) increased with riparian width, and riparian deadwood was highest in the no buffer streams. Organic matter (OM; proxy for food) increased with buffer width in the south, while OM was highest in the northern no buffer streams. All other parameters tested had no relationship to buffer width. These differing responses suggest that the contemporary strategy of prescribing fixed-width buffers and/or stating objectives without defined guidelines is insufficient given the large variability of stream ecosystems across small spatial scales. To develop functionally effective buffers, more consideration for site-specificity and land mosaic planning are needed.


Oluwaseun Famakinwa (Primary Presenter/Author)
Southwest Minnesota State University,;

Abstract: Minnesota lakes are vital natural resources providing wildlife habitat and influencing the quality of life and the economy. Lake Sarah, in SW Minnesota, has provided a productive walleye fishery for many years and has recently been invaded by zebra mussels. In addition, water quality has been damaged due to lawn, fertilizer, pesticide, and pet waste runoff. This study measured changes in multiple water quality parameters at two sites during summer 2020 including temperature, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, pH, ammonium, nitrate, phosphate, and turbidity. The results show there was no significant difference between the parameters at each site or between the two sites over time. Common values for the parameter averages include; temperature 21?C, dissolved oxygen 11.2mg/L, conductivity 0.499uS, pH 7.7, ammonium 0.4mg/L, nitrate 0.1mg/L, phosphate 0.1mg/L, and turbidity 74cm. All the parameters averages were below the permissive standards. Lake Sarah continues to have acceptable water quality


Robert Mattson (Primary Presenter/Author)
St. Johns River Water Management District,;

Abstract: Establishment of quantitative targets for algal abundance in lakes (usually expressed as water column Chlorophyll a in µg/L) is well-ensconced in lake management. Setting targets for abundance of benthic/attached algae in streams has not garnered as much attention in stream ecology and management. Establishment of targets for benthic algae in streams is dependent upon the particular attribute to be protected, including water withdrawal, aesthetics, recreation, or ecosystem protection. Benthic algal abundance targets have been proposed in the existing stream literature, expressed as % cover, Chlorophyll a density (as mg Chlorophyll a per unit area) or standing crop (g dry weight or ash-free dry weight per unit area). Various investigators have proposed quantitative targets based on either mean/median or maximum algal abundance. Efforts in temperate streams have suggested macroalgal targets of 20%-40% cover, 100-150 mg/m2 chlorophyll a density, or 40 g/m2 ash-free dry weight (AFDW). These were compared with epiphytic and macroalgal abundance measured in a 2015 study of 14 spring-run streams in Florida. These targets were mainly based on aesthetics and recreational issues and may or may not be relevant for Florida spring-run streams, but they are a starting point.

A Novel Method of Monitoring the Health of our Global Freshwater Supply using DNA Barcoding [Poster Presentation]

Sonja Michaluk (Primary Presenter/Author)
Carnegie Mellon University ,;

Abstract: It is forecast that 66% of our population will experience water scarcity within a decade, leaving us more dependent on surface water for drinking. This requires more filtration infrastructure, and monitoring of surface water sources. Current methods rely on expensive and technically challenging manual identification of biological samples. Macroinvertebrates spend their larval lives within a small area of water, showing cumulative effects of habitat alteration and pollutants that chemical testing and field sensors do not. Molecular methods enhance biomonitoring programs where complex taxonomy makes manual morphological identification difficult. This project explores deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) barcoding, to measure waterway health, particularly with the most widespread macroinvertebrate families. A statistical sampling plan was designed that represents variation in geological, ecological, and land use factors. Four methods of isolation and amplification were compared. Statistical analysis shows DNA Barcoding results in more accurate and precise waterway health data, adding significant value for monitoring scarce water resources. The learnings from these data were applied to build a microbiology capability at a nonprofit scientific water study institute. This method can be applied at low cost to enhance citizen science water monitoring programs.

Hydraulic modeling choices can affect ecological predictions and shape the interpretation and communication of environmental flow recommendations [Poster Presentation]

Caitlin Conn (Primary Presenter/Author)
University of Georgia,;

Tyler Keys (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
United States Army Corps of Engineers,;

Mary Freeman (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
US Geological Survey,;

Kyle McKay (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
US Army Corps of Engineers,;

Abstract: Hydraulic models inform many aspects of river management; yet we know little about how model resolution and complexity influence management recommendations and ecological predictions. Using the Middle Oconee River in Georgia, we evaluated the effects of data resolution (quantity of field data), cross-section selection (random vs. stratified), and model complexity (1-dimensional vs. 2-dimensional) on estimates of habitat availability and diversity and flow recommendations. Hydraulic model outputs were used to calculate fish habitat availability and diversity at different discharge rates and under four management strategies (unaltered, annual minimum, monthly minimum, and percent of flow). All models for total habitat identified percent of flow as preferred because it consistently provided more habitat, though model dimensionality affected the magnitude of available habitat, and cross-section selection affected the rate of habitat decline. For specific habitat types (shallow-fast, deep-fast, shallow-slow), the effect of modeling choices on habitat was variable and the preferred management strategy less consistent. Models with low complexity and resolution had less accurate habitat predictions, especially availability of the rare, shallow-fast habitat. These results highlight the importance of modeling choices in determining ecological predictions and the interpretation and communication of flow recommendations.


Laia Verdura (Primary Presenter/Author)
Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA),;

Vicenç Acuña (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA),;

Rafael Marcé (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA),;

Abstract: Planning, management, and conservation policy-making in the water sector call for a holistic approach to catchment modelling, taking into account all system components and the different interactions between surface and subsurface fluxes. However, developments in this direction are still limited. Here we aim to develop an innovative and integrated river basin modelling framework to support sustainable and efficient decision-making in the water management sector. Our approach will be based on three pillars: 1) surface and subsurface water, often treated as independent sources, will be approached from an integrated perspective, emphasizing their interactions at different scales (e.g., hyporheic dynamics) and their impact on water quality and quantity; 2) we will assess the system’s resilience to climate change at policy-relevant timescales (4 to 10 years, using cutting-edge decadal predictions), instead of the most common short timescales or long-term projections that current solutions generally target, to better identify cost-effective measures; and 3) stakeholders will join the co-development of the modelling framework to maximise its final useability and impact. The model-based decision-support system derived from this research will be a turning point in the way decisions in the water sector are made.


Casey Harris (Primary Presenter/Author)
University of Florida,;

Alexander Reisinger (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of Florida,;

Wendy Graham (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of Florida,;

Abstract: The Hillsborough and Alafia Rivers, which drain much of the greater Tampa Bay, FL, watershed, have long histories of water quality challenges driven by urban/suburban growth as well as agricultural and industrial operations. The importance of water quality within these watersheds increased in 2002 when the rivers became a major source of drinking water for the Tampa Bay region. To gain a better understanding of water quality trends in these rivers and how trends may be related to climate and land use, we examine water quality characteristics relevant to drinking water supply (fluoride concentrations and turbidity) from 1999–2019 using weighted regression on time, discharge, and season (WRTDS) from the USGS EGRET package in R. We present seasonal and long-term observed and flow-normalized trends graphically and estimate the uncertainty of long-term trends. Flow-normalized fluoride concentrations decreased significantly at two Alafia River sites, and flow-normalized turbidity generally decreased at five Hillsborough River and tributary sites. We examine potential drivers of these changes, including land use change, and implications for future water quality and drinking water use. These results will help drinking water managers develop water quality priorities when considering future demand.


Natalia Rodriguez Ortiz (Primary Presenter/Author)
University of Puerto Rico ,;

Alonso Ramírez (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
North Carolina State University,;

Abstract: Channelization is a drastic intervention on rivers commonly built for flood control. It often negatively impacts the resilience of socioecological systems. In the case of the Río Piedras-Puerto Nuevo flood control project, the proposed design and early construction phases caused concerns about equity and ecological impacts among the civic sectors. As such, we considered valuable to study how resiliency indicators had been included in this project development. Our objectives were to: 1) evaluate the level of participation of different stakeholders in the discussion and decision-making process, 2) evaluate environmental assessment mechanisms and 3) identify if ecological conservation practices were conducted. We studied this case using two approaches: a literature review and interviews to 20 stakeholders. Results show a worsening trend for the socioecological resilience indicators. There was a lack of communication between agencies and citizens, and project discussion was dominated by the technical sector. Environmental studies do not consider tributary streams to be impacted. In the present, the channelization works continue without the inclusion of nature-based designs. Overall, there is an urgent need of re-think traditional responses to flooding and generate management alternatives that promote socioecological resilience.