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SFS Annual Meeting

Monday, June 3, 2024
10:30 - 12:00

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C27 Landuse and Non-Point Source Impacts

10:30 - 10:45 | Independence Ballroom B | RIDGES TO RIVERS: A REGIONAL CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM IN SOUTHEAST TENNESSEE FOCUSED ON HABITAT RESTORATION FOR THE CRITICALLY ENDANGERED LAUREL DACE

6/03/2024  |   10:30 - 10:45   |  Independence Ballroom B

Ridges to Rivers: a Regional Conservation Partnership Program in southeast Tennessee focused on habitat restoration for the critically endangered Laurel Dace The southeastern United States is a global hotspot for aquatic biodiversity, supporting two-thirds of the country’s fish species. However, protected areas in the United States are largely in the western US and do not overlap with aquatic richness and endemism. Tennessee is predominantly privately owned, and agriculture is the top industry in the state. Working lands support rural economies, but are also the source for food and other natural resources necessary for us all. Thus, adequately protecting the state’s unique biodiversity will require private landowners adopting conservation practices. The Tennessee Aquarium has partnered with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) on Ridges to Rivers: a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) which provide landowners with incentives to implement better land management throughout the Sequatchie Valley and on the central portion of the Cumberland Plateau. Ridges to Rivers provides us with a diverse group of partners to address the nonpoint source pollutants impacting the Laurel Dace (Chrosomus saylori), a federally endangered species originally known from eight streams in east Tennessee and now found in only two streams. The naturally small range of the Laurel Dace allows us to divide our target audience into four priority watersheds where funding for conservation practices will be distributed based on conservation need. Our goal is to use targeted community-based outreach focused on private landowners in Laurel Dace habitat to understand what barriers may prevent them from accessing NRCS funding, and how to help them more successfully adopt conservation practices in the future.

Helaina Gomez (Primary Presenter/Author), Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute, hgomez@tnaqua.org;

10:45 - 11:00 | Independence Ballroom B | BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN WATER QUALITY STANDARDS AND POLLUTION FROM DIFFUSE SOURCES

6/03/2024  |   10:45 - 11:00   |  Independence Ballroom B

Bridging the Gap Between Water Quality Standards and Pollution from Diffuse Sources Pollution control efforts directed toward point sources have been highly successful. For example, 85% of large river miles in Ohio were impaired prior the advent of tertiary treatment and implementation of water quality based effluent limits, whereas today, 90% of the miles are fulling attaining aquatic life uses. The biological condition of headwaters within the state has also recovered considerably, but not as dramatically as that for large rivers, owing to the persistence of pollution from diffuse sources and landscape-scale habitat alterations. One of the reasons for continued pollution of headwaters is the lack of enforceable standards over the type of pollutants responsible for impairment, primarily and generally nutrients, but also dissolved ions, especially in the case of urban headwaters. Although protective endpoints have been identified for nutrients, adoption into water quality standards has been impeded by the fact that those endpoints are typically not achievable by wastewater treatment plants. Further inhibiting adoption is uncertainty over how to evaluate compliance with a standard. This presentation discusses using field-based species sensitivity distributions to identify management endpoints or criteria, and explores how a distributional approach may better serve evaluation of pollution from diffuse sources, and thus facilitate adoption of criteria into standards.

Robert Miltner (Primary Presenter/Author), Ohio EPA, robert.miltner@epa.ohio.gov;

11:00 - 11:15 | Independence Ballroom B | MONITORING, DISENTANGLING AND MANAGING IMPACTS ON INLAND WATERWAYS USING A SHARED UNDERSTANDING: CRITICAL CHALLENGES FOR THE ANTHROPOCENE

6/03/2024  |   11:00 - 11:15   |  Independence Ballroom B

Monitoring, disentangling and managing impacts on inland waterways using a shared understanding: critical challenges for the Anthropocene Disturbance of freshwater ecosystems by humans has intensified during the Anthropocene making them one of the most threatened types of ecosystems globally. Inland waterways (e.g. rivers, lakes) play crucial roles for humankind by supporting many environmental, societal, cultural and economic values; however, they are subject to a broad range of impacts (stressors) and balancing uses of waterways is a common, complex, modern-day challenge. To maintain healthy waterways in developed landscapes it is imperative to: (1) monitor their condition based on their recognised values, (2) disentangle the effects of multiple stressors, and (3) employ a suitable adaptive management framework. Furthermore, while western science has unravelled many of the biophysical aspects that underpin the form and function of inland waterways, (4) drawing on the Traditional Knowledge of First Nations people – which has been gained via deep connections to places over numerous generations – can greatly enhance our collective understanding of waterways. As a part of a Churchill Fellowship, I am exploring these themes as they relate to studying and managing inland waterways in New Zealand, the United States of America and Canada. As an Australian freshwater scientist, my learnings will be informed by cross-continental perspectives across several gradients, including climate, hydrology (and water scarcity), resourcing, western and Traditional Knowledge, policy, legislation and governance. In this presentation, I’ll share my thoughts on these themes based on my knowledge of waterway management in the island state of Tasmania, southern Australia, and initial perspectives I have gained through my Fellowship journey thus far.

Scott Hardie (Primary Presenter/Author), Winston Churchill Trust, Canberra, Australian Captial Territory, Australia, scott.hardie@nre.tas.gov.au;

11:15 - 11:30 | Independence Ballroom B | ENHANCED CARBONATE WEATHERING IN WOODY ENCROACHED GRASSLANDS

6/03/2024  |   11:15 - 11:30   |  Independence Ballroom B

Enhanced carbonate weathering in woody encroached grasslands Grasslands occupy 40% of the ice-free Earth’s surface and are globally threatened by woody encroachment (increase in woody vegetation cover). Woody encroachment changes grassland hydrology by decreasing streamflow and increasing relative importance of deeper flow pathways. In addition, it alters the inputs of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the subsurface. These changes together can potentially alter carbonate weathering rates. Our understanding of woody encroachment’s impact on carbonate weathering and inorganic carbon export however is limited. Here we pose the questions: how weathering rates are modified by 1. hydrological changes (streamflow and flow partitioning) and 2. altered subsurface CO2 levels caused by woody encroachment? To answer these questions, we used the BioRT-HBV model, a catchment-scale reactive transport model, to simulate carbonate weathering rates in a mero-karst prairie catchment experiencing woody encroachment. For this, we leveraged long-term (25-year) groundwater and stream chemistry data from Konza Prairie Biological Station (KBPS), a Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site in northeastern Kansas, US. Preliminary results indicate that CO2 transferred by percolating water from soil to bedrock is an important driver of bedrock carbonate weathering. Also, inorganic carbon is primarily exported via deeper flow paths to the intermittent stream draining this catchment. This suggests woody encroachment could have been promoting carbonate weathering by modifying soil respiration rates and flow paths. Enhanced weathering rates in grasslands under woody encroachment has implications for water quality, global carbon cycling, and rates of landscape evolution.

Kayalvizhi Sadayappan (Primary Presenter/Author), The Pennsylvania State University, kayal11tm@gmail.com;

Rachel Keen (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Kansas State University, rleasey@gmail.com;

Karla Jarecke (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Oregon State University, jareckek@gmail.com;

Jesse Nippert (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Kansas State University, nippert@ksu.edu;

Matthew Kirk (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Kansas State University, mfkirk@ksu.edu;

Pamela Sullivan (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Oregon State University, Pamela.Sullivan@oregonstate.edu;

Li Li (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), The Pennsylvania State University, lxl35@psu.edu;

11:30 - 11:45 | Independence Ballroom B | MICROBIOMES OF WILD-CAUGHT MOSQUITOFISH FROM POLLUTED SITES ARE ALTERED BY COMMON GARDEN CONDITIONS

6/03/2024  |   11:30 - 11:45   |  Independence Ballroom B

MICROBIOMES OF WILD-CAUGHT MOSQUITOFISH FROM POLLUTED SITES ARE ALTERED BY COMMON GARDEN CONDITIONS Many watersheds are unrecognizably altered from anthropogenic activities that negatively impact native fish. Urban runoff and pollution can negatively impact fish health and affect fish gut microbial composition. A fish’s gut microbiome can influence their immune response and digestive efficiency, affecting their overall performance. However, how physiology and the gut microbiome of fish resident to polluted sites is affected by transference to a controlled, clean environment is not understood. I compared physiological and gut microbial measurements of western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) populations from six sites of varying pollution levels. Pollution levels detrimentally affected physiological measures, increased prevalence of parasites, and influenced gut microbial diversity. Alpha and beta diversity of the gut microbiome significantly differed among sites and indicator species analysis revealed microbes potentially important to mitigating the effects of pollution on the host. I brought individuals from these same sites into a common garden lab experiment and preliminary analyses showed that alpha diversity no longer differs among sites beta diversity, indicator species, and physiological analyses are ongoing. The combination of microbiome and physiological measures poses a powerful tool in understanding how fish can endure stressful conditions brought on by pollution.

Matea Djokic (Primary Presenter/Author), , djokicm@uci.edu;

11:45 - 12:00 | Independence Ballroom B | ASSESSING WATER QUALITY DYNAMICS AND MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES : A CASE STUDY IN THE GRROTDRAAI DAM CATCHMNET, UPPER VAAL, SOUTH AFRICA.

6/03/2024  |   11:45 - 12:00   |  Independence Ballroom B

ASSESSING WATER QUALITY DYNAMICS AND MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES : A CASE STUDY IN THE GRROTDRAAI DAM CATCHMNET, UPPER VAAL, SOUTH AFRICA. The deterioration of water quality in the Grootdraai Dam catchment, situated in South Africa's Vaal region, is a significant concern attributable to different factors and discrepancies in sub-catchment water quality. Industrial, mining, and agricultural activities in the catchment area exacerbate the challenge, leading to a decline in water quality. This study utilized the Python water resources – Water Quality (Pywr-WQ) model, a rewrite of the Water Quality System Assessment Model (WQSAM) in the Pywr environment, to examine the impacts of various scenarios including increased mining, cultivated agriculture, urban expansion, and mixed-use scenarios reflecting likely future development, such as mine closures, on water quality under changing climate conditions and escalating water demands. The Pywr-WQ model, calibrated against historical data, exhibited good Nash-Sutcliffe Efficiency (NSE) across several water quality variables, encompassing nitrate + nitrite, ammonium, phosphate, TDS, sulphate, and calcium, with values ranging from 0.65 to 0.89. Furthermore, the study employed results from multiple regression models as input for the calibrated Pywr-WQ model to examine scenarios of land use alteration. The multiple regression models developed for surface water and groundwater signatures exhibited a strong agreement with the calibrated Pywr-WQ model. Therefore, this study examines scenarios employing the Python water resources-Water Quality (Pywr-WQ) model, an advancement from WQSAM, to inform management decisions and serve as a decision support system for water managers and water users, including industrial users like Eskom and Sasol.

Sofia Lazar (Primary Presenter/Author), Rhodes University, s.lazar@ensh.dz;