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SFS Annual Meeting

Tuesday, June 4, 2024
13:30 - 15:00

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S25 Advances in Watershed-scale Restoration Science and Monitoring

13:30 - 13:45 | Freedom Ballroom E | FOREST RESTORATION TIME DRIVES HABITAT AND WATER QUALITY IN TROPICAL STREAMS

6/04/2024  |   13:30 - 13:45   |  Freedom Ballroom E

FOREST RESTORATION TIME DRIVES HABITAT AND WATER QUALITY IN TROPICAL STREAMS Forest restoration has been a common practice to safeguard water quality and stream health. Brazil targets 12 million hectares of native forest restoration. Stream ecosystem benefits are expected, but it is unclear how and how much time it will take. Therefore, this study sought to evaluate stream habitat and water quality recover in a gradient of restored catchments historically impacted from pasture, and the relationship between landscape structure and stream ecosystem recovery. To do so, we sampled 30 headwater streams in Brazilian Atlantic forest biome, a biodiversity hotspot highly impacted and a focus for forest restoration project, during the dry season/2023. A gradient of restored catchments was established by stream located in forested (reference), over 25 years (old) restoration, less than 25 years (young) restoration, riparian forest and pasture, forest around spring and pasture catchment (N=5). Data on water quality and stream habitat were sampled and landscape metrics calculated by GIS. In forest and old restoration streams, the percentage of forest and EVI in the catchment was higher, while water temperature and nutrients were lower. Instream leaf banks were higher in both forest and old restoration streams, and number of large wood debris was higher in forest catchments only. Forest and old restoration stream differ from the young restoration and impacted stream in terms of water quality and stream habitat. This outcome relates to forest percentage in the catchment and age. In conclusion, benefits on water quality and habitat from Atlantic forest restoration takes at least 25 years.

Paula dos Reis Oliveira (Primary Presenter/Author), University of Vila Velha, reolivpaula@gmail.com;

Gabriel Arantes Ferreira Gualda (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), USP, g.gualda@usp.br ;

Antonio Fernando Monteiro Camrgo (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), UNESP, antonio.camargo@unesp.br;

Silvio Frosini de Barros Ferraz (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of São Paulo, USP/ESALQ, Dept of Forest Sciences, Brazil, silvio.ferraz@usp.br;

13:45 - 14:00 | Freedom Ballroom E | WATERSHED SCALE RESTORATION TARGETING HYDROLOGIC REGIME ALTERATION AND IMPROVED STREAM ECOSYSTEM RESILIENCY TO CLIMATE CHANGE

6/04/2024  |   13:45 - 14:00   |  Freedom Ballroom E

Watershed scale restoration targeting hydrologic regime alteration and improved stream ecosystem resiliency to climate change The hydrologic regime is a primary control on fluvial ecosystem ecology, driving the spatio-temporal dynamics of sediment regimes, thermal regimes, process rates, elemental fluxes, and habitat structure and connectivity. Consequently, alterations to the hydrologic regime often drive ecological impairments. Yet, most fluvial ecosystem restoration efforts are focused on reach-scale rather than watershed-scale projects and consequently have limited potential to impact watershed-scale ecosystem drivers such as the hydrologic regime. In this presentation, we explore the potential for multi-faceted watershed-scale restoration approaches to produce quantifiable restoration of the hydrologic regime. Specifically, we analyze the hydrologic response of a small experimental watershed, the East Branch of White Clay Creek, Pennsylvania, to an intensive whole-watershed restoration effort funded in response to the 2012 Hurricane Sandy flooding that affected much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States. This watershed restoration effort focused specifically on hydrologic restoration in the interests of ecological and hydrological resiliency to climate change and included extensive riparian re-forestation, infiltration swale installations, and agricultural in-field best management practices. Using continuous long-term stream gage records, we compare pre- and post-restoration hydrologic regime metrics using the Indices of Hydrologic Alteration (IHA) framework. Further, we explore additional metrics of storm rainfall-runoff response by isolating hydro-climatically similar storm events occurring before and after completion of the watershed restoration.

Melinda Daniels (Primary Presenter/Author), Stroud Water Research Center, mdaniels@stroudcenter.org;

Marc Peipoch (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Stroud Water Research Center, mpeipoch@stroudcenter.org;

Diana Oviedo-Vargas (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Stroud Water Research Center, doviedo@stroudcenter.org;

John Jackson (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Stroud Water Research Center, jkjackson@stroudcenter.org;

Jinjun Kan (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Stroud Water Research Center, jkan@stroudcenter.org;

14:00 - 14:15 | Freedom Ballroom E | ASSESSING THE FIELD AND WATERSHED SCALE IMPACTS OF CONSERVATION PRACTICES IN THE WESTERN LAKE ERIE BASIN USING A PILOT WATERSHED APPROACH

6/04/2024  |   14:00 - 14:15   |  Freedom Ballroom E

Assessing the Field and Watershed Scale Impacts of Conservation Practices in the Western Lake Erie Basin using a Pilot Watershed Approach In response to the continuing harmful algal blooms in the western Lake Erie basin (WLEB) and the lack of reductions in dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) loads from the Maumee River feeding these blooms, we began a pilot watershed study in 2023 to assess the amount of conservation practices needed to reduce DRP losses. Current modeling approaches indicate that a widespread adoption of practices will be needed to reach the 40% reduction targets and reduce the frequency of severe blooms. Thus, our goal is to implement over 70% of the pilot watershed, Shallow Run (<5,000 acres), in the headwaters of the Maumee River with conservation practices aimed to reduce loading of DRP. Monitoring of hydrology, all major nutrients, suspended sediments, and turbidity began in this watershed in 2018 as part of the Heidelberg water quality monitoring network in the WLEB. Water quality samples are collected up to three times per day depending on flow conditions using a refrigerated autosampler and retrieved weekly for laboratory analysis. We found DRP flow-weighted mean concentrations were 3.4 times higher than the target (0.05 mg/L) indicating practices aimed to reduce DRP loss are needed. To enhance our ability to detect reductions, an edge-of-field monitoring location was added in the fall of 2022 and upstream monitoring locations were added in summer 2023. Practice implementation started in fall 2023 and will be on-going through 2028. Anticipated results will quantify the needed investment in conservation practices to reduce P loads and ultimately improve the health of Lake Erie.

Laura Johnson (Primary Presenter/Author), Heidelberg University, ljohnson@heidelberg.edu;

Nathan Manning (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Heidelberg University NCWQR, nmanning@heidelberg.edu;

Austin Nainiger (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Heidelberg University, anainige@heidelberg.edu ;

Kevin King (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), USDA Agricultural Research Service, kevin.king@ars.usda.gov;

Jay Martin (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), The Ohio State University, martin.1130@osu.edu;

14:15 - 14:30 | Freedom Ballroom E | THE EFFECTIVENESS OF AGRICULTURAL BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES IN A WATERSHED-SCALE RESTORATION FOR WATER QUALITY IMPROVEMENT

6/04/2024  |   14:15 - 14:30   |  Freedom Ballroom E

The Effectiveness of Agricultural Best Management Practices in a Watershed-Scale Restoration for Water Quality Improvement The science of stream restoration is relatively young, and many questions remain regarding the effectiveness of the different approaches to restoration and the most appropriate ways to quantify it. There is a growing recognition that stream restoration requires a watershed-scale approach, addressing causes of degradation rather than applying channel-scale restoration projects in isolation. Agricultural Best Management Practices (Ag BMPs) could play an important role in upland approaches to restoration. However, these practices are often implemented with assumptions about their effectiveness but seldom paired with monitoring efforts to confirm their success. In 2019, project partners launched a comprehensive Ag BMP plan on four small farms occupying >90% of the watershed of a headwater tributary of Pequea Creek in Pennsylvania (Chesapeake Bay Watershed). The BMPs included: structural improvements (e.g., manure storage facilities and barnyard improvements), grassed waterways, livestock exclusion fencing, improved nutrient management plan implementation, streambank stabilization using live stakes, and riparian forested buffer plantings and post-planting care of buffers. Here, we present results on temporal trends of water quality indicators including water chemistry, bacterial counts and macroinvertebrate communities in the headwater stream before and during the implementation of Ag BMPs. With ~20% of implementation completed, preliminary results show a modest decrease in stream concentrations of nitrate-N and bacterial counts between late 2018 (pre-restoration) and 2023 (during restoration). Results from this work will inform how practitioners can refine watershed restoration strategies to enhance impact and cost-effectiveness.

Diana Oviedo-Vargas (Primary Presenter/Author), Stroud Water Research Center, doviedo@stroudcenter.org;

Matthew Ehrhart (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Stroud Water Research Center, mehrhart@stroudcenter.org;

Lamonte Garber (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Stroud Water Research Center, lgarber@stroudcenter.org;

14:30 - 14:45 | Freedom Ballroom E | EXPLORING, RESTORING, AND FORECASTING STREAM TEMPERATURES: A CASE STUDY FOR MASSACHUSETTS

6/04/2024  |   14:30 - 14:45   |  Freedom Ballroom E

Exploring, restoring, and forecasting stream temperatures: A case study for Massachusetts Stream temperatures respond to changes in water/land use and climate. While climate models forecast stream warming, management/restoration actions can minimize this expected trend. Stream restoration activities primarily focus on individual reaches and struggle to inform restoration effects across networks. Scenario planning via models, however, allows exploring spatially and methodologically diverse management actions at the watershed-scale. We developed a spatial stream network temperature model for Massachusetts hydrography and explored the mean July (critical cold-water fishes period) stream temperature response to various management actions (land use change and dam removal) while also accounting for climate warming. Our model provided a good fit to the data (n=1298; 10-fold cross validation: bias=0.008; RMSPE=1.08°C; R2=0.88). From a management perspective, our model suggests that to cool a reach by 1°C, canopy cover along the upstream watershed’s riparian corridor would need to increase by ~11% or the density of dams in the upstream catchment would need to be reduced by ~1 dam per 10km2. If mean July air temperature were to increase by 2°C across Massachusetts, stream temperatures would be ~1.23°C warmer. Only 52% of the reaches at or below 20°C (Massachusetts warm-water fishery threshold) under historical climate conditions remained below this 20°C threshold with a +2°C climate and the mean elevation of the remaining sites shifted 61m higher in elevation (304m from 243m). If Massachusetts experiences a +2°C climate warming in the future, a combination of extensive riparian shade restoration and strategic dam removals may offer some mitigation of cold-water habitat loss across its networks.

Matthew Fuller (Primary Presenter/Author), USDA Forest Service, matthew.fuller@usda.gov;

Keith Nislow (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Northern Research Station, U.S.D.A. Forest Service, University of Massachusetts Amherst, keith.nislow@usda.gov;

Jeff Walker (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Walker Environmental Research, LLC, jeff@walkerenvres.com;

Jenn Fair (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), USGS Eastern Ecological Science Center Silvio O. Conte Research Laboratory, jfair@usgs.gov;

Ben Letcher (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), USGS Eastern Ecological Science Center; Silvio O. Conte Research Laboratory, bletcher@usgs.gov;

14:45 - 15:00 | Freedom Ballroom E | INTEGRATING CLIMATE AND LAND USE PROJECTIONS TO ASSESS ECOLOGICAL FUTURES FOR STREAM FISH ASSEMBLAGES ARRANGED ALONG AN ARIDITY GRADIENT

6/04/2024  |   14:45 - 15:00   |  Freedom Ballroom E

INTEGRATING CLIMATE AND LAND USE PROJECTIONS TO ASSESS ECOLOGICAL FUTURES FOR STREAM FISH ASSEMBLAGES ARRANGED ALONG AN ARIDITY GRADIENT Anthropogenically-driven climate change combined with existing ecosystem degradation is projected to cause future losses of global freshwater biodiversity, particularly in arid and semi-arid areas within temperate climate regions. It is therefore necessary to understand both contemporary drivers of freshwater biodiversity loss as well as how future climatic conditions might affect humans and nature. Analysis of existing environmental gradients has the potential to aid in projecting climatic influences on a variety of organisms. We present a multi-scale, spatiotemporal approach to predictive ecological modelling that ultimately demonstrates that an existing aridity gradient is a reasonable proxy for freshwater fish assemblage response to climate change projections for the same region. We conducted our study using fish collections from 100 sampling reaches distributed across the central Colorado River basin of Texas. We combined fish assemblage surveys, local habitat characteristics, remotely sensed geospatial riverscape data, and climate and land use change projections to analyze: (1) spatial variation in fish-environment relationships under current conditions, and (2) variation in fish assemblage structure under multiple emissions scenarios. Our results revealed that spatial shifts in fish assemblage structure along an existing aridity gradient mirrored the modelled assemblage-level shifts under climate change projections for Representative Concentration Pathways 4.5 and 8.5 projected through 2100. The model predicts a general shift towards invasive, warm-water assemblages and potential loss of endemic, cool-water-dependent species. Our framework underscores the importance of multiscale, spatiotemporal modelling approaches that consider multiple dimensions of the total environment while assessing patterns and predictors of ecological change.

Joshuah Perkin (Primary Presenter/Author), Texas A&M University , jperkin@tamu.edu;

Lindsey Elkins (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Texas Parks and Wildlife, Lindsey.Elkins@tpwd.texas.gov;

Rebecca Mangold (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Texas A&M University, rebecca.mangold@tamu.edu;

Jacob Wolff (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Texas A&M University, jake4230@tamu.edu;

Mariana Perez Rocha (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Texas State University, mperezrocha@txstate.edu;

Astrid Schwalb (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Texas State University, schwalb@txstate.edu;

Benjamin Schwartz (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Department of Biology, Texas State University, San Marcos, Tx., bs37@txstate.edu;

Weston Nowlin (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Texas State University, wnowlin@txstate.edu;

Matthew Troia (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Texas San Antonio, troiamj@gmail.com;

Karl Cottenie (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Guelph, cottenie@uoguelph.ca;

Christina Saltus (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, christina.l.saltus@erdc.dren.mil ;

Richard Johansen (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, richard.a.johansen@erdc.dren.mil;

David Smith (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, david.l.smith@erdc.dren.mil;