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Tuesday, January 30 • 1:20pm - 1:40pm
RIVERS & OXBOWS: Origins, Current Status, and Potential Roles of Oxbows for Conservation and Nutrient Reduction in Agricultural Landscapes: Introduction to the Oxbow Session

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AUTHORS. Clay L. Pierce, U.S. Geological Survey; Keith E. Schilling, Iowa Geological Survey

ABSTRACT. Oxbows are a common geomorphic feature in floodplains of agricultural landscapes. Formed when looping stream meanders are cut off through bank erosion or as the result of artificial straightening, oxbows are among the few remaining slow or standing water habitats associated with many streams in these regions. Previous studies have established oxbows’ conservation value for federally listed Topeka shiners, as well as their habitat value for numerous other native fish species. Ongoing conservation studies, which will be presented in this session, describe efforts to identify oxbow remnants for restoration, landscape and habitat characteristics of oxbows associated with presence of Topeka shiners, restoration programs in Iowa and Minnesota to increase the number and quality of oxbows for Topeka shiners, and efforts to evaluate the success of oxbow restorations. Additional research focuses on the benefits of restoring oxbows for water quality. Oxbow restorations are being evaluated as potential best management practice for reducing nutrient losses from agricultural regions. Ongoing research presented in this session describes quantification of nutrient reduction benefits at individual oxbow sites and presents the value and benefits of oxbow restorations within a watershed water quality planning context. A comparison of the value of oxbow restorations within the context of statewide nutrient reduction strategies in Iowa will also be discussed. There is great potential for future oxbow restorations to combine approaches to simultaneously provide both conservation and nutrient reduction benefits. These combined efforts will be good examples of “Strengthening Natural Resources through Collaboration”.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 1:20pm - 1:40pm CST