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Tuesday, January 30 • 11:00am - 11:20am
SYMPOSIA-10: Optimization of Oxbow Restoration Benefits for Both the Farmer and the Conservationist

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AUTHORS. Christopher S. Jones, University of Iowa; Keith E. Schilling, Iowa Geological Survey

ABSTRACT. In recognition of the important eco¬system services that they provide, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), along with several agency and NGO partners, has been restoring oxbows in Iowa since 2002. These projects serve as both innovative fish habitat improvement and nutrient trapping practices. Project partners have worked with farmers and landowners through voluntary con¬servation programs to restore these floodplain features mostly in Central and Northwest Iowa, but also most recently in Eastern Iowa in the Middle Cedar River basin. The practice is intriguing to some landowners since water quality and wildlife responses have been notable and potential sites are typically found on marginal land unsuit¬able for production. Previous research has quantified both the nutrient reduction and wildlife benefits. Examined here is how oxbow restoration fits within the current corn-soybean production system, and what agencies and conservationists can do to optimize habitat and water quality benefits while at the same time increasing the likelihood of farmer adoption. Important considerations include cost, the Endangered Species Act, modification of tile drainage outlets, angling and hunting, wildlife watching, livestock watering, and irrigation. We will also quantify the potential of the practice as a landscape scale solution for meeting Iowa and Gulf of Mexico nitrate reduction goals of 45%, and the practice’s potential in other areas of Iowa.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 11:00am - 11:20am CST