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Tuesday, January 30 • 2:40pm - 3:00pm
RIVERS & OXBOWS: Integrating Reconstructed Oxbows in Watershed Planning to Achieve Habitat and Water Quality Goals

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AUTHORS. Keegan Kult, Iowa Soybean Association; Karen Wilke, The Nature Conservancy; Christopher S. Jones, University of Iowa; Keith E. Schilling, Iowa Geological Survey

ABSTRACT. In response to the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force 2008 Action Plan, states in the Mississippi River Basin have been tasked with developing statewide nutrient reduction strategies. The Boone River watershed, located in North-Central Iowa, has been identified as a priority watershed in Iowa’s nutrient reduction strategy. The watershed has also been identified as a critical habitat for the federally endangered Topeka shiner. In looking for practical solutions that provide multiple ecosystem services, the Iowa Soybean Association, partnering with The Nature Conservancy, began investigating the effectiveness of restored oxbows in terms of nutrient removal and quality off-channel Topeka shiner habitat in sub-basins of the Boone River watershed in 2012. Restoration efforts were prioritized in Oxbow scars which were in proximity to subsurface drainage outlets. The restored sites were monitored for nitrate reduction as well as for fish species richness and abundance. Oxbows have been found to perform similarly to edge-of-field practices such as the saturated buffer and denitrifying bioreactors in terms of nitrate reduction. Saturated buffers and bioreactors have been identified as crucial practices in many state nutrient loss reduction strategies. Unlike the saturated buffers and bioreactors, restored oxbows have also been found to provide critical over-wintering habitat for numerous fish species including the Topeka shiner. Water monitoring and fish survey results have shown that reconstructed oxbows can play a critical role in providing multiple ecosystem services and is a practice that should be considered within state nutrient loss reduction strategies as well as local watershed planning efforts.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 2:40pm - 3:00pm CST