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Welcome to the interactive web schedule for the 2019 Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference! Please note, this event has passed. To return to the main Conference website, go to: www.midwestfw.org.

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CONFERENCE SCHEDULE UPDATES & CHANGES: As a result of the prolonged government shutdown, we experienced a number of cancellations and changes to the schedule. Cancellations and changes are listed here (as of January 26, 2019). 

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Restoration/Enhancement [clear filter]
Monday, January 28
 

10:50am EST

(FISHERIES: LIGHTNING TALK) Effects of Dam Removal on the Community Structure of Micropterus Species in Two Midwestern Rivers
AUTHORS: Reuben D. Frey, Eastern Illinois University; Cassi Moody-Carpenter, Eastern Illinois University; Shannon Cassandra Frary Smith, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff; Robert E. Colombo, Eastern Illinois University

ABSTRACT: Flow regimes have been altered by the construction of dams on many lotic systems in the United States. Physical habitat changes within these systems in response to changed hydrology have been observed to affect the community structures of fish species therein. Removal of dams may revert the physical habitat characteristics of an impounded reach towards that of a free-flowing river system and subsequently invite a fish community shift. I investigated the effects of two separate low-head dam removals on the Vermilion River and North Fork Vermilion River in eastern Illinois on the community structure of Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu), Spotted Bass (Micropterus punctulatus), and Largemouth Bass (Mictropterus salmoides). Data were collected from 2012 to 2015 using multiple gear types at six study sites on each river; two sites in the below-dam reach, two sites within the impounded reach, and two sites upstream of the impounded reach. Proportional abundance (pa) of each study species was observed to differ between each reach. Smallmouth Bass in both rivers were observed to have lower proportional abundance within the impounded reaches (pa = 0.005382) and higher proportional abundance in the below-dam (pa = 0.006611) and upstream (pa = 0.007102) reaches. In contrast, Largemouth Bass showed higher proportional abundance in the impounded reaches (pa =0.018838) and lower proportional abundance in the below-dam (pa = 0.010105) and upstream (pa = 0.005356) reaches, with Spotted Bass showing a similar pattern in the Vermilion, but not in the North Fork Vermilion. Variation in proportional abundance of fish may be driven by physical habitat requirements of each species. Future research will investigate the effect of changed flow regime on available physical habitat and Micropterus species community structure following dam removal.

Monday January 28, 2019 10:50am - 11:00am EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM A/B

11:00am EST

(CANCELLED) (FISHERIES: GREAT LAKES 1) Quantifying Oxythermal Habitat Availability for Coldwater Species in the Central Basin of Lake Erie
AUTHORS: Joseph D. Schmitt, Christopher S. Vandergoot, Richard T. Kraus – USGS Great Lakes Science Center, Lake Erie Biological Station

ABSTRACT: Populations of coldwater fishes such as burbot Lota lota, lake whitefish Coregonus clupeaformis, and lake trout Salvelinus namaycush have declined in Lake Erie, while cisco Coregonus artedi have been extirpated. Warming temperature regimes and the re-eutrophication of Lake Erie have increased the frequency of harmful algal blooms and hypoxic events, which can reduce oxythermal habitat availability. Using vertical profile data collected in the central basin from 2008-2017, we developed generalized additive models to explore spatial, seasonal, and interannual trends in oxythermal habitat availability for lake trout, cisco, lake whitefish, and burbot based on published oxythermal niche benchmarks. Habitat availability was usually temperature-limited rather than oxygen-limited, and significant (P<0.05) monthly and interannual variations in habitat availability were detected for most species. In general, oxythermal habitat was most limited during August and September; moreover, significant interannual trends in habitat availability were also detected, with 2016 having the most extreme habitat reduction for many species due to record high temperatures. Understanding the spatiotemporal dynamics of oxythermal habitat availability will be important for the conservation and restoration of these fishes in our changing climate. Moreover, these models can be integrated with climate predictions to better understand how warming temperatures will affect coldwater habitat in the future.

Monday January 28, 2019 11:00am - 11:20am EST
CENTER STREET ROOM A

11:40am EST

(HUMAN DIMENSIONS: FISHERIES 1) Fishing for Answers: Restoration in the St. Clair-Detroit River System Improves Angling Opportunities
AUTHORS: Dana Castle, Central Michigan University, Tracy Claramunt, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Ed Roseman, U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center, Tracy Galarowicz, Central Michigan University

ABSTRACT: Within the St. Clair-Detroit River System (SCDRS), fish and wildlife habitat and water quality have historically been degraded, however in 2004, extensive restoration projects began on this system to remediate past degradation. Post-monitoring of restoration areas conveys improving biota of the region, including improvement in Burbot, Lake Sturgeon, Walleye, and Lake Whitefish. Although species are improving in the region, the response of anglers in the region remains unknown. In 2002-2005, an extensive creel survey was conducted, however, since that time, there has been no other extensive analysis of the anglers in the SCDRS. We analyzed post-restoration creel data by calculating interview catch rates, interview harvest rates, and examining supplemental questions collected by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR). We also estimated the economic value of a recent creel survey by using estimated lodging and gas expenses of interviewed anglers in the SCDRS. We examined interest in fishing in the SCDRS by examining Google Trends data. For Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River, there were larger interview catch and harvest rates in post-restoration periods than in pre-restoration periods. We determined that the 2017 open water fishery on Lake St. Clair was worth approximately $11.87 million. Search terms related to the Detroit River and show a significant upward trend, indicating a rise in fishing interest in the region. Because of the increased travel, interview catch, interview harvest rates, and interest in Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River, anglers are likely capitalizing on increased fishing opportunity in these parts of the system. Another extensive creel survey, similar to the one conducted in the early 2000s, would be helpful in further determining the influence of restoration on angling opportunities in the SCDRS and if anglers are acting to remediate restoration costs.

Monday January 28, 2019 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM B

1:20pm EST

(WILDLIFE: WATERFOWL) Habitat Heterogeneity and Wetland-dependent Bird Use in Wisconsin's Glacial Habitat Restoration Area
AUTHORS: Zack Loken, University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point; Jacob Straub, University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point; Rachel Schultz, State University of New York at Brockport

ABSTRACT: The Glacial Habitat Restoration Area (GHRA) is a 558,879-acre restoration zone in east-central Wisconsin. The GHRA was designed to enhance wildlife habitat, especially for waterbirds, through wetland restorations. We observed and counted all waterbirds on wetland basins from April – May of 2017 and 2018 using fixed location focal scans. We categorized study wetlands into 3 groups based on hydrologic modification: scrape; scrape plus wetlands with ditch plug, ditch-fill, and/or tile break; and scrape plus berm and/or berm with a water control structure. Two reference groups were included: Waterfowl Production Areas and unmodified sites without basins. Wetland plant communities were categorized following the Natural Heritage Inventory database, mapped using aerial imagery, and field checked for accuracy. After plant communities had been digitized, habitat heterogeneity was assessed within each wetland property using an interspersion-juxtaposition index (IJI). Greater values of IJI indicated that community types were more evenly dispersed throughout the wetland than areas with large blocks of similar vegetation. Wetlands with diverse habitat types distributed throughout their basins may be more attractive to waterfowl than those with a homogenous composition. Analysis of year-one data found that habitat heterogeneity, of the 38 properties, ranged from 17.7 to 85.5 and differed among hydrologic modification categories (P = 0.04). Data from year two is currently undergoing analysis. Our results will be used to assess landscape scale factors that might influence the use of restored wetlands by wetland-dependent bird species.

Monday January 28, 2019 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

1:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-02) Conservation and Recovery of the Eastern Massasauga in Ohio
AUTHORS: Gregory Lipps, Jr., Nicholas Smeenk – Ohio Biodiversity Conservation Partnership, The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: Once widely distributed throughout the glaciated portion of Ohio, the Eastern Massasauga is now extirpated at all but 12 sites in the state.  As part of a statewide comprehensive conservation plan for the species, three meetings with resource managers and researchers were convened in 2017-2018 to document the status of each site and prioritize conservation activities.  We developed a worksheet to record multiple metrics that describe the status of populations, habitat conditions, and changes to these values over time.  Occupied Massasauga sites in Ohio can generally be described as having small populations (estimated mean of sites: 59 adults; range: 3-433) but high densities (mean: 5.75 adults/ha; range: 0.7-15).  The amount of available herbaceous habitat at each site varies greatly, but is less than 28 ha for 75% of sites, with a mean of 51% of available habitat at each site known to be occupied (range: 1.5-100%).  The greatest challenge to conserving known populations is maintaining herbaceous habitat through snake-friendly management techniques to control woody and invasive species.  Recovery to more robust populations with predicted long-term viability will require expanding the amount of suitable habitat adjacent to occupied fields (which we have observed to be colonized at two sites) and investigating techniques for augmenting declining populations and repatriating snakes to suitable habitat. 

Monday January 28, 2019 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
HOPE BALLROOM B

2:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-02) An Experimental Assessment of Habitat Restoration Efforts for Eastern Massasaugas in Pennsylvania
AUTHORS: Howard K. Reinert, The College of New Jersey; Lauretta M. Bushar, Arcadia University; B. Scott Fiegel, Ecological Associates, LLC; Brandon M. Ruhe, Mid-Atlantic Center for Herpetology and Conservation; Christopher A. Urban, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission

ABSTRACT: Sistrurus catenatus in Pennsylvania has experienced a massive reduction in its distribution over the past 100 years, and it is now limited to four isolated populations. One of the greatest threats to these remaining populations is the succession of open, wetland and meadow habitat (previously maintained by cattle grazing and hay production) to forest. This study took an experimental approach to determine the efficacy of forest removal to re-establish suitable habitat. The study site selected had served as the site of the first telemetric field study of massasaugas in Pennsylvania from 1976-78. At that time the area supported a large population of snakes, and 28 ha of occupied habitat. By 2012, maturation of conifer plantation plantings and encroaching deciduous hardwood forest had reduced the area of open habitat to 2.5 ha. During the winter of 2012, 10 ha of forest was convert to open habitat by a combination of commercial logging, mulching of woody debris, and seeding with native grasses and forbs. Radio tracking of snakes began one year prior to habitat restoration (Spring 2012) and continued for three years after initial restoration activities (to Fall 2015). A total of 24 male, non-gravid female, and gravid female massasaugas were monitored. Prior to restoration activity (2012) and immediately following forest removal (2013) snakes did not utilize the newly altered habitat. In 2014, 9 out of the 15 monitored snakes used the restoration area, and 36.5% of all observations were in the restored habitat. In 2015, all 6 monitored snakes used the restoration area, and 52.5% of all observation were in the restored habitat. Successful foraging, mating, gestation, and overwintering were observed in restored habitat indicating that the restoration successfully re-created suitable habitat. The observations further indicate that massasaugas had the ability to rapidly locate and utilize newly created habitat.

Monday January 28, 2019 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
HOPE BALLROOM B

2:40pm EST

(WILDLIFE: WATERFOWL) Stepping down a Regional Waterfowl and Wetlands Conservation Decision Support Tool
AUTHORS: Matthew D. Palumbo, Jacob N. Straub – University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

ABSTRACT: The goals of the 2012 North American Waterfowl Management Plan target a combination of biological and social objectives that are prioritized regionally through Joint Venture (JV) partnerships. The Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes (UMRGLR) JV developed a decision support tool (DST) to assist in implementing these objectives. The DST is based on six spatially explicit model-based maps, each representing a biological or social objective weighted by input from regional decision makers. The DST depicts areas of relative value to meet the combined six objectives and therefore identifies areas for regional managers to target conservation for waterfowl and people. In 1992 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources developed their own state-based conservation plan to achieve waterfowl population and habitat objectives.  This ‘WI Plan’ was based on a spatial hierarchy of priority regions, areas, and townships that were delineated from estimated waterfowl densities and habitat, geo-political boundaries, and expert opinion. Since 1992 managers have been working to implement conservation practices based on this system. However much has changed since this time thus, our objective was to revise the 92 WI Plan and provide an updated spatially-explicit tool to drive waterfowl habitat conservation efforts in the upcoming decades. Using the framework of UMRGLR JV, we developed six updated model-based maps representing waterfowl and human objectives specific to Wisconsin.  These maps have allowed WI conservation managers to visualize how conservation practices would be prioritized under various ranks of biological and social values. The WI DST will assist state managers with redistributing priority regions based on eco-physiographic boundaries and quantitative ranking based on the underlying biological and social data of the tool. The DST of UMRGL JV and WI demonstrate the value of incorporating spatio-temporal variation of biological and social data for conservation managers to prioritize practices.

Monday January 28, 2019 2:40pm - 3:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

3:20pm EST

(CANCELLED) (SYMPOSIA-06) River Restoration in Iowa ... Is There Anything Fishy Going on Here?
AUTHORS: Jeff Kopaska, Iowa Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Historical accounts of Iowa’s aquatic resources paint a picture of what Iowa’s rivers, streams and lakes were like at the time of settlement. Unfortunately, the physical and biological components of these aquatic systems had already been degraded by the time of the first scientific surveys in the late 1800s. Erosion and sedimentation issues that began in the 1800s still plague Iowa’s rivers and streams today, in the form of streamside alluvial deposits that are phosphorus laden and subject to streambank erosion. Iowa currently is undertaking efforts to reduce nutrient flux out of the state via our streams and rivers, but restoration of other components of stream ecosystems such as hydrology, geomorphology and biology is lacking. Including nutrient reduction/stream restoration practices that enhance fish populations and fish habitat can provide short term and long term measureable improvements to Iowa’s aquatic resources, as well as those downstream.

Monday January 28, 2019 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM A/B

4:00pm EST

(FISHERIES: INVASIVE SPECIES 1) History and Issues in Controlling the Bighead and Silver Carps in the Mississippi Basin
AUTHORS: Maurice Sadowsky, President, MJSTI Corp.

ABSTRACT: The bighead and silver carps (combined bigheaded) are an alien invasive species that escaped from aquaculture around 1980.  About 35 years later an estimated 12 to 30 million fish inhabit about 6,400 miles of the Mississippi Basin.  Every year the fish expand their territory and or their bio-mass density on the margins of their habit.The paper uses literature and Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ACRCC) and other government reports to review the programs to control these fish.  The ACRCC funds three major efforts: barriers, education/early detection/enforcement and population control.  Each division will be reviewed.The paper will then discuss the realities of controlling the bigheaded carp.

Monday January 28, 2019 4:00pm - 4:20pm EST
HOPE BALLROOM C

4:00pm EST

(FISHERIES: HABITAT) Comparing the Effects of Artificial Habitat and Coarse Woody Habitat on Macroinvertebrate Communities and Largemouth Bass Growth
AUTHORS: Eric J. Gates, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Anthony Porreca, Illinois Natural History Survey; Joseph Parkos III, Illinois Natural History Survey; David H. Wahl, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

ABSTRACT: Lentic ecosystems are negatively affected by habitat degradation due to reservoir senescence and riparian zone development. The addition of coarse woody habitat (CWH) and artificial habitat (e.g., plastic fish attractors) is a popular management strategy used to enhance systems that have experienced declines in habitat availability. However, the mechanisms by which CWH and artificial habitat additions influence aquatic food webs remain understudied. We introduced either artificial habitat structures or CWH (Quercus alba) into ten 0.04-ha experimental ponds to test whether macroinvertebrate communities and largemouth bass growth differed between introduced habitats. The experiment ran for three months and structures were allowed to condition for one month prior to stocking juvenile largemouth bass. Macroinvertebrate communities were similar between habitat types. However, more taxa were found on the artificial structures and macroinvertebrate communities colonizing CWH appeared to increase relative to artificial habitat by the end of experiment. Largemouth bass growth did not differ between CWH and artificial habitat. Although not specifically tested, macroinvertebrate communities appeared to be influenced by the presence and amount of periphyton colonizing habitat structures. Our results indicate that habitat material itself was not as important as providing a stable substrate for primary production and subsequent macroinvertebrate colonization. Longer experiments may be necessary to determine the maximum influence of these habitats on primary and secondary productivity, particularly as CWH conditions.

Monday January 28, 2019 4:00pm - 4:20pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM B

4:20pm EST

(FISHERIES: FISH CONSERVATION) Successful Translocation of Bluebreast Darters: A Case Study from the Upper Licking River, Ohio
AUTHORS: Brian J. Zimmerman, S. Mažeika P. Sullivan – The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: Aquatic ecosystems of Ohio historically supported diverse and abundant stream and river fish communities.  Loss and fragmentation of high-quality aquatic habitat and impairments in water quality have led to significant alterations in the diversity, composition, and productivity of native fish communities. The Bluebreast Darter (Etheostoma camurum), for example, was extirpated from many Ohio river systems over a century ago. In June of 2016 and 2017, 974 and 924 adult Bluebreast Darters, respectively, were translocated from the greater Muskingum River basin into the upper Licking River. Translocated individuals were marked with visible implant elastomer (VIE) tags. Translocated individuals from both events continue to be recaptured in follow-up surveys, most recently in late August 2018. VIE tags revealed minimal movement between release sites, however a few individuals have traveled as far as nine river kilometers following translocation. Natural reproduction by translocated fish has been documented by the capture of untagged individuals beginning in the first follow up surveys in 2016 and continues to be observed in subsequent years.

Monday January 28, 2019 4:20pm - 4:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM C

4:40pm EST

(FISHERIES: INVASIVE SPECIES 1) Selective, Safe and Low Cost Piscicide
AUTHORS: Maurice Sadowsky, President, MJSTI Corp.

ABSTRACT: MJSTI proved a selective, safe and low-cost fish pesticide with the goal of controlling the bighead and silver carps (bigheaded carps).  The technology and experiments will be discussed and compared to the USGS antimycin A/beeswax formulation (with patent lawyers’ approval).  The US patent should be submitted in 2018.  The formulation is selective as a digestive poison.  It is safe using FDA additives.  The average raw material cost is 1/12 to 1/30<sup>th</sup> of MJSTI’s estimated USGS antimycin A/beeswax raw material cost.  The EPA registration should be for a new formulation since the component chemicals are all EPA registered pesticide ingredients.  The technology has application for other fish including common carp and potentially grass carp.

Monday January 28, 2019 4:40pm - 5:00pm EST
HOPE BALLROOM C
 
Tuesday, January 29
 

10:40am EST

(SYMPOSIA-08) Evolution of Wetland Conservation and Policy: Developing Programs and Partnerships
AUTHORS: Steven A. Gray, Retired Ohio Division of Wildlife; Gildo M. Tori, Ducks Unlimited; David Brakhage, Ducks Unlimited;

ABSTRACT: Wetland conservation in the Lower Great Lakes region occurred shortly after European settlement.  The rich marshes provide excellent waterfowl hunting, spurring the growth of private duck hunting clubs, maintained and managed the land for hunting, fishing and trapping. These early sportsmen spawned the development of early conservation groups like Ducks Unlimited and state Fish and Wildlife Agencies in the early 1900s.  With the initiation of funding mechanisms like duck stamps, hunting licenses and excise taxes on sporting equipment, lands were purchased as state and national wildlife areas and opened to the general public for outdoor recreation.  As populations expanded, conservation became more sophisticated with the development of flyway councils to regulate harvest of migratory birds, but conservation of habitats did not keep pace.  As a result the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and habitat joint ventures was born aimed at dramatically increasing wetlands and associated habitats throughout North America.  Subsequent policy efforts created the North American Wetlands Conservation Act in 1989, which encouraged partnerships and provided federal grants to advance conservation.  The lower Great Lakes region was a focal area and received many grants to facilitate wetland restoration, on both public and private lands.  The 1985 and 1991 Farm Bills created programs such as the Conservation and Wetland Reserve Programs that conserved soil, water and wildlife.However, wetland loss and need continued to grow. In May 2004 President George Bush issued an Executive Order, which recognized the Great Lakes as a "national treasure” and in 2010, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was launched out of the collaboration, and President Barack Obama and Congress provided federal funding to support habitat conservation efforts.This presentation will focus on the historical development, challenges and opportunities, and advancement of wetland conservation in the lower Great Lakes region.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 10:40am - 11:00am EST
HOPE BALLROOM B

11:20am EST

(HUMAN DIMENSIONS: POLICY & ENGAGEMENT) Investigating Perceptions of Wildlife and Vegetation in Urban Vacant Lots
AUTHORS: Andrew Mallinak, Charles Nilon, Robert Pierce – University of Missouri

ABSTRACT: Vacant lots are a prevalent issue in many urban, residential areas nationwide, causing property value declines and further neighborhood blight. These lots are often targeted by city officials to become planned greenspaces, though nearby, marginalized residents may not adequately be involved in the process. This exclusion disempowers residents and provides greenspace that while ecologically useful, may not benefit residents. St. Louis, Missouri is one of /many Midwest cities dealing with a large number of vacant lots, with most of the vacancy concentrated in the predominantly low-income, African-American north side. The city has selected several lots in two north side neighborhoods to implement various management strategies for storm water control and biodiversity conservation. To understand residents’ management preferences for the lots, I administered semi-structured interviews combined with vacant lot photo-evaluation surveys to residents in both neighborhoods. I created themes from the interview transcripts and photograph scores that explain how residents perceive the wildlife and vegetation in their neighborhood vacant lots and how that perception affects their preferred lot management and use. Top ranked photograph scenes exhibited a clear line of sight and signs of care such as mowing, fencing and litter absence. Bottom ranked photographs exhibited blocked line of sight and signs of neglect such as litter, patchy vegetation, and unmown or untrimmed vegetation. Themes surrounding management perception and preference included sense of safety, maintenance effort, and community needs. While wildlife was sometimes seen as tolerable or appreciated, most wildlife was viewed negatively as a form of nuisance or danger. Vegetation was pivotal in how residents felt an area was cared for and whether a vacant lot was seen as being safe and usable, with low, uniform vegetation preferred.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 11:20am - 11:40am EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM C/D

11:40am EST

(CANCELLED) (SYMPOSIA-08) A Decade of Privately Owned Wetland Restorations in the Lake Erie Marsh Focus Area
AUTHORS: Jeff Finn, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Mark Witt, Ohio Division of Wildlife, Joe Uhinck, Ottawa County Soil and Water Conservation District

ABSTRACT: The wetland habitat of the Western Basin of Lake Erie has endured significant loss since the settlement of Europeans in the area. Some estimates put the loss at over 90%. The area is listed as a crucial element in the U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan and significant in the Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes Joint Venture plans of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. The importance of coastal and interior wetlands has become increasingly apparent due to recent water quality issues within the Western Basin of Lake Erie. There are a variety of agencies and organizations that have been working together to restore wetlands within the Lake Erie Marsh Focus Area. Ohio Division of Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, and Ottawa County Soil and Water Conservation District have worked together to create a cumulative effect that is transforming much of this area from farmed or degraded land, to productive wetland habitat. Accomplishments are often measured on an annual basis, taking a snapshot of what has occurred within a given year. The cumulative effect of restoration efforts is not readily apparent unless one takes the time to capture and quantify what each organization or agency has accomplished over a longer period of time. The most important factor may not be the influx of government agencies but the willingness of landowners to restore wetland habitat on privately owned land. What motivates each of these landowners can be vastly different. Monetary incentives, recreational opportunities like hunting and trapping, or simply having a conservation ethic to restore habitat are all drivers that motivate landowners to restore habitat.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
HOPE BALLROOM B

11:40am EST

(FISHERIES: LAKES & RESERVOIRS) Quantifying Fish Habitat Impairment in Iowa's Lakes and Reservoirs
AUTHORS: Erin Haws, Iowa Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Freshwater ecosystems provide a diverse and extensive supply of resources to fauna and flora living within, to surrounding ecosystems, and human economies. As bodies of water evolve, so do the methods used to protect and restore them. Over the past decade, emphasis on sustaining freshwater ecosystems has led to a large expansion in the development of protective policies and restoration programs aiming to improve aquatic habitat. A recurring challenge to fish habitat restoration lies in defining impairment factors, their scale and the rate at which they are occurring in a system. Comprehensive assessments are therefore needed to identify impairments, prioritize waterbodies in need of restoration, and provide improved methods to measure local fish habitat using feasible metrics. This study provides an expansive look into lake and reservoir fish habitat in Iowa based on a survey reporting on all significant publicly owned lakes recognized by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The survey asked Iowa DNR Fisheries Biologists to report the degree of impairment of a set of variables for each individual waterbody in their management area. Multivariate factors were classified using the methods of Krogman and Miranda (2016), characterizing twelve broad constructs of fish habitat impairment. Study objectives include describing fish habitat impairment trends and identifying differences across lake type, watershed location, and status in the Lake Restoration Program. Future research plans aim to quantify relationships between fish habitat impairment constructs and measured water quality, physical, and biological parameters within existing datasets to evaluate the resources available to adequately measure fish habitat.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM C

1:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-08) Waterfowl Ecology and Management in the Lower Great Lakes
AUTHORS: Matthew Palumbo, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; Jacob Straub, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, David Luukkonen, Michigan State University; John Coluccy, Ducks Unlimited

ABSTRACT: Abstract: Applied scientific research has been an underpinning of sound waterfowl and wetland conservation for decades. The Lower Great Lakes (LGL), especially wetland and adjacent upland habitats near Lakes Erie, St. Clair, and Ontario, were historically and remain a critical region for waterfowl of the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways. In fact, hundreds of thousands of waterfowl use this landscape as their primary breeding location and millions use the resources of the region during migration between breeding and wintering areas. Waterfowl managers and researchers in the LGL have strong partnerships and have largely focused efforts in this region on studies that improve understanding of the overall ecology of the species and how management actions can influence these birds. Specifically, the LGL have been the home to seminal studies on waterfowl bioenergetic modeling during spring migration, habitat use and movement for key focal species (e.g., mallards), monitoring and evaluation of diving sea duck distributions on the Great Lakes, studying the potential limiting factors for Great Lakes mallard populations, and influence of weather, wetland availability, and mallard abundance on productivity of Great Lakes mallards. Importantly, these studies have critical linkages to management which have serviced wetlands conservation. Our objective is to synthesize recent research that has improved our understanding of waterfowl ecology and habitat management in the region. Additionally, we will identify future research needs and information gaps to expand waterfowl conservation in the LGL.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
HOPE BALLROOM B

1:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-12) What Makes for a Good Restoration Project
AUTHORS: Devin Schenk, The Nature Conservancy

ABSTRACT: There is a lot of interest and effort spent on stream and wetland restoration across the nation. Restoring these aquatic systems is widely recognized as a positive countermeasure to past landuse impacts and degradation; however, research has found that restoration failures are pervasive. It is therefore critical for practitioners, land managers, grantors, and decision-makers to be able to recognize the common challenges associated with stream and wetland restoration and what a successful project looks like. This talk will take a categorical stroll through the restoration landscape providing insight into ,what to look for in determining the goals of a restoration project, assessing a site’s restoration potential, evaluating its design, and measuring its success.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM C

1:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-12) The Importance of Soil Health in Ecological Restoration
AUTHORS: Bill Schumacher, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency

ABSTRACT: Frequently, stream and wetland restoration projects pay little attention to on-site historical disturbances to soils. However, an accumulating amount of research points to substrate disturbance as one of the primary causes of site failure. Investigations of several restoration projects have indicated that in many cases, when there is a failure in site hydrology and/or plant community development, a specific underlying soil disturbance, such as changes in physical soil properties or excessive nutrient buildup, can be identified. Diagnosing these potential disturbances prior to selection or construction is essential to ensuring that site development is not hampered by these underlying issues.This talk will focus on research conducted by the Ohio EPA Wetland Ecology Group on soils, in both reference and disturbed wetland and riparian habitats. Several studies have been conducted since 2011 that focus of soils as they relate to the overall ecological condition of a site. These include: 1) An intensification of the USEPA National Wetland Condition Assessment, in which a random set of 50 wetlands was assessed to compare soil factors with the overall ecological condition of the plant community; 2) A survey of reference condition riparian habitats to correlate high quality riverine flora with soil health; and 3) A paired soils study, in which identical mapped soils were analyzed in undisturbed forest habitats and adjacent heavily disturbed row cropping to illustrate variation in soil parameters between divergent levels of disturbance.Results of these studies will be discussed to illustrate how consideration of soil information may be used to assist in in the development of restoration projects.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM C

2:00pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-12) Keys to Successfully Establishing a Native Plant Community on Wetland and Stream Restoration Projects
AUTHORS: Brian Gara, The Nature Conservancy

ABSTRACT: Plants are outstanding indicators of environmental quality. Extremely small variations in physical site parameters, such as water depth and duration, soil health, and temperature can lead to significant differences in the plant community structure. Many plant species have very narrow ranges of tolerances to these factors which result in extreme habitat affinities. Others are generalists that can thrive under a wide range of habitat types and disturbances. Unfortunately, a majority of the more undesirable, non-native, “invasive” species, are highly adapted to sites that are heavily disturbed by human activities. In most cases, restoration projects involve sites that have been subjected historically to significant levels of anthropogenic disturbance. These projects are also exposed to a high level of mechanical disturbance during construction. Additionally, many riparian restoration projects have limited performance goals that only target the planting of tree species, disregarding the other critical strata (e.g. shrubs and herbs) generally present within native plant communities. This practice severely reduces the long-term habitat potential for these sites. Because of these limitations, establishing a robust, diverse, and sustainable native plant community on restoration projects can be challenging.Several research studies have been conducted by the author that focus on the ecological condition of the plant communities associated with riparian and wetland restoration projects. Results of these studies will be discussed to focus on key factors that can be implemented to ensure a functional, native plant community is successfully established.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM C

2:00pm EST

(WILDLIFE: UPLAND 1) Effects of Pipeline Right-of-Way Habitat Management on Early Successional Songbirds in Eastern Ohio
AUTHORS: Lewis M. Lolya, Gabriel Karns, Stephen N. Matthews –The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: Early successional bird species have exhibited population declines across Ohio, coinciding with a state-wide loss in young forest and shrub-scrub habitats. Additionally, forest fragmentation and land use conversion has increased with accelerating shale gas development. Pipeline right-of-ways (ROWs), which represent the largest proportion of the shale gas footprint, hold potential for early successional habitat management. This potential has been demonstrated for analogous electric ROWs, but minimal research is available for corridors with underground infrastructure. Our goals are to assess early successional avian response to forest edge-cutback techniques along pipeline ROWs and to understand avian utilization of the pipeline-forest interface. Forest-edge plots (control=11, experimental=12) were established at 10 sites across four counties in Eastern Ohio. Avian point counts, nesting surveys, and vegetation sampling were conducted within each plot. A total of 93 nests of 13 species were monitored. The proportion of failed to fledged nests was 47%, with EATO showing low nest success across sites (Fail=62%). Overall incidence of nest parasitism was higher in edge treatment ROWs (n=9) than in control (n=6). 79 total species were observed across all sites during point counts. Several species showed increased occurrence in ROW plots compared to forest plots ([alpha codes] BHCO, COYE, EATO, FISP, INBU, and NOCA) while others were more prevalent in interior forest (ACFL, OVEN, and REVI). SCTA, EAWP, and ACFL were more prevalent in experimental ROW plots than control. The opposite trend was seen for INBU, potentially due to limited forest regrowth following recent treatments. These results may demonstrate that birds exhibit species-specific selectivity for habitat structure characteristics along pipeline corridors. Although pipeline edges may provide nesting habitat, high occurrence of nest parasitism may indicate the presence of habitat traps. Furthermore, as experimental cutback zones regrow, we hypothesize increased use over time of those edges by shrub-scrub dependent birds. 

Tuesday January 29, 2019 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

2:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-10) A Partnership to Recover Ohio’s Giant Salamander, the Eastern Hellbender
AUTHORS: Gregory Lipps, Jr., Nicholas Smeenk – Ohio Biodiversity Conservation Partnership, The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: The Eastern Hellbender is a large, completely aquatic salamander that inhabits lotic waters, spending most of its life under large rocks.  Surveys from 2006-2009 found that the relative abundance of Hellbenders in Ohio declined by over 80% with most populations having reduced recruitment of young.  A diverse group of individuals representing state and federal wildlife and environmental agencies, zoos, soil and water conservation districts, and academic researchers have met regularly for the past decade under the umbrella of the Ohio Hellbender Partnership to develop and implement plans to recover the species and its habitat.  Since 2011, we have collected eggs from 27 nests for head-starting in biosecure facilities, resulting in the release of 960 individuals into Ohio waterways. While water quality in the state greatly improved after the passage of environmental legislation in the early 1970s, increases in sedimentation and conductivity still pose major impediments to maintaining suitable habitat and establishing self-sustaining populations, especially in areas of increased oil and gas exploration.  While the future of the Hellbender in Ohio is far from certain, the diverse partnership has become a model for addressing the multitude of challenges associated with the recovery of endangered species.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM A/B

2:20pm EST

(WILDLIFE: UPLAND 1) Effects of Conservation Practice and Site Age on Vegetation Structure and Avian Habitat Use in Fields Enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program
AUTHORS: Bryan M. Reiley, T.J. Benson – Illinois Natural History Survey

ABSTRACT: Farmland set aside programs provide important habitat for many wildlife species, yet little information exists regarding how vegetation structure and species respond to conservation practice and site age. This information could provide managers with a guide for how to implement, enhance, and maintain wildlife benefits of these programs. Here, we describe how avian species respond to conservation practice and time since restoration at 172 sites enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) in Illinois. To do this we surveyed sites enrolled in four different conservation practices (CPs) within CREP during the breeding seasons of 2012 – 2015 using point counts and vegetation surveys. Vegetation structure and composition varied among CPs with hardwood tree plantings having the greatest amount of understory vegetation, tree and shrub cover, and lowest distance to nearest tree. Conversely, permanent wildlife habitat had the greatest distance to nearest tree, grass cover, and least tree cover. Cover of tree and live vegetation increased and distance to nearest tree decreased with site age and there were conspicuous differences among CPs and site age for these variables and bare ground cover. Avian densities varied among CP types, however only Dickcisselswere significantly greater in sites enrolled as permanent wildlife habitat and, similarly, Bell’s Vireo and Field Sparrow  were greater in hardwood tree plantings. Dickcissel density decreased and Field Sparrow density increased as fields aged, but these relationships were not consistent among CP types. Differences among CPs largely resulted from differences in dominance in woody vegetation due to differing management goals. Interestingly, many of our focal species had wider successional tolerances than previously suggested. Our results demonstrate that conservation benefits change over time depending on the starting CP and this information can be used to predict temporal changes in habitat suitability and target conservation benefits toward conservation priority species.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

2:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-12) The Power of Partnering with State Agencies to Achieve Conservation
AUTHORS: Matthew Perlik, Ohio Department of Transportation

ABSTRACT: Over the last 10 years, Ohio DOT has spent over $40 million on landscape conservation and restortation projects. This money provides an enormous contribution to protected and restored lands throughout the 34th smallest state (by area) in the US with less than 5% public lands. ODOT has developed a program that works with non-profits, for profits, universities, federal agencies, and fellow state agencies to deliver aquatic and terrestrial conseration that is lower cost, exceeds ecological improvement requirements, and is delivered faster than traditional methods. This process has expanded preserved lands, lands for recreation, and the holdings of entities dedicated to conservation. Using recent case studies, this paper will focus on the challenges and successes of working with a state DOT to deliver successful conservation within a highly developed state landscape.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 2:40pm - 3:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM C

2:40pm EST

(FISHERIES: EARLY LIFE HISTORY) Maturation of Artificial Fish Spawning Reefs in the St. Clair-Detroit River System
AUTHORS: Jason L. Fischer, University of Toledo, Lake Erie Center; Edward Roseman, US Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center; Christine Mayer, University of Toledo, Lake Erie Center; Todd Wills, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Lake St. Clair Fisheries Research Station

ABSTRACT: Artificial rock reefs have been used to remediate spawning substrates for lithophilic spawning fishes (e.g., Lake Sturgeon, Acipenser fulvescens;Lake Whitefish, Coregonus clupeaformis; and Walleye, Sander vitreus) in the St. Clair-Detroit River System. Early projects used species specific metrics (e.g., proximity to historic spawning locations) to guide reef placement. However, long-term success of some of the initial reefs was compromised by accumulation of fine sediments. Therefore, to improve the likelihood of successful reef function, project managers incorporated geomorphological criteria in 2013 to avoid placing reefs in areas near sediment sources and depositional zones. To evaluate the effectiveness of the revised placement process, we quantified physical maturation of artificial reefs using 1) annual down-looking and side-scan sonar surveys beginning in 2014 to measure reef areas and bottom roughness and 2) underwater video surveys beginning in 2015 to quantity sediment composition. Roughness of reefs constructed after 2013 remained greater than bottom roughness in areas adjacent to the reefs thru 2017, however, roughness of the Hart’s Light Reef was significantly lower in 2017 than in 2014, indicating some sediment accumulation. Similarly, sediment composition of the reefs remained similar thru 2017 and prevalence of reef rock was high, except at Hart’s Light Reef, where dreissenid mussel shells composed 32% of the substrate by age three. However, in 2018 reef rock was less prevalent at all reefs, due to accumulation of shells, fine sediments, and gravel. Despite the use of geomorphic criteria to identify areas most suitable for reef construction, sediment composition of the reefs has changed and long-term evaluation is required to determine if the changes observed in 2018 are temporary or representative of a longer trend. Nevertheless, our evaluation indicates future reef restoration projects could benefit by incorporating methods for maintenance, in addition to using geomorphic criteria to identify restoration sites.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 2:40pm - 3:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM B

3:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-08) The Effect of Hydrological Restoration on Nutrient Concentrations and Macroinvertebrate Communities in Lake Erie Coastal Wetlands
AUTHORS: Elizabeth A. Berg, Lauren M. Pintor – Ohio State University, School of Environment & Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Growing concern over the occurrence of harmful algal blooms has prompted efforts to reconnect coastal wetlands to Lake Erie and its tributaries in order to restore ecosystem functions and provide biodiversity support. In particular, stakeholders have collaborated to hydrologically reconnect approximately 2,397 acres of protected, diked wetlands in Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge in an effort to reduce nutrient inputs from the Maumee Area of Concern and improve habitat for economically important fisheries and wildlife. However, hydrologic connection to Lake Erie and impaired tributaries within the watershed may expose biota in previously diked wetlands to new stressors such as nutrient enrichment and invasion of non-native species. Here we examined the effect of hydrologic reconnection of diked wetlands on nutrient concentrations and macroinvertebrate biodiversity. Specifically, our objectives were to: 1) compare phosphorous and nitrogen concentrations between diked and reconnected wetlands,  2) compare taxonomic and functional trait diversity of macroinvertebrates between diked and reconnected wetlands, and 3) examine the relationships between nutrients and macroinvertebrate communities. If the reconnection of coastal wetlands had an effect on nutrient levels and macroinvertebrate communities, we predicted that 1) nutrients and macroinvertebrates would differ in reconnected and diked wetlands, and 2) macroinvertebrate communities would be impaired in wetlands with higher nutrient concentrations. We found total nitrogen was lower in reconnected wetlands, but total phosphorus was similar in reconnected and diked wetlands. All macroinvertebrate taxonomic metrics and most functional metrics were similar in reconnected and diked wetlands. Nutrient concentration gradients and yearly nutrient fluctuation, rather than wetland restoration, drove shifts in macroinvertebrate community structure.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
HOPE BALLROOM B

3:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-12) Working with the United States Army Corps of Engineers for Aquatic Resource Restoration and Enhancement
AUTHORS: Cory Wilson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntington District

ABSTRACT: Aquatic resource restoration and enhancement projects, though beneficial, are often subject to the United States Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) regulatory authority under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and/or Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. This portion of the symposium will provide a general overview of these Acts and the types of activities that do, and do not, require Department of the Army permits. In addition, a description of the typical Corps permitting/approval mechanisms for implementing these types of projects will be provided (e.g. Nationwide Permits and Mitigation Banking Instruments). Finally, a summary of the Ohio Stream and Wetland Valuation Metric and the Ohio Interagency Review Team guidelines for stream and wetland mitigation banking and in-lieu fee programs in the State of Ohio will be provided. Participants in this symposium will gain a general understanding of the requirements and tools necessary for implementing aquatic resource restoration and enhancement projects under the Corps regulatory authority.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM C

3:20pm EST

(WILDLIFE: UPLAND 2) Does Land Management Have Detectable Effects on Species Richness?
AUTHORS: Jay Vecchiet, Richard B. King – Northern Illinois University

ABSTRACT: Agencies across the United States rely on data driven management practices. Whether or not those practices are successful can be ambiguous because variables other than management also shape population and community responses. Here, we test whether the effects of preserve size, preserve land cover, surrounding land cover, habitat quality, and management history have a detectable effect on species richness. We focus on amphibians and reptiles in grassland-dominated preserves in northern Illinois.  Species lists were compiled for 15 preserves ranging in size from 7 ha to 1460 ha. Habitat quality and land cover (open water, wetland, grassland, wooded, agriculture) of all preserves were analyzed using ArcMap 10.4.1. Preserves were also classified by age, prior land use, and intensity of management actions (seeding, prescribed fire, chemical and mechanical controls). Across preserves, a total of 31 amphibian and reptile species were documented, including 8 frogs and toads, 2 salamanders, 2 lizards, 6 turtles, and 13 snakes. Of these, 7 are considered Endangered, Threatened, or Species in Greatest Conservation Need in Illinois. As management is carried out, there are obvious positive effects on the environment (soil composition, plant communities, water quality), but demonstrating a positive effect on organisms with cryptic life histories, such as amphibians and reptiles, is challenging.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

3:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-12) Identify Aquatic Restoration Priorities Using GIS and the Watershed Approach
AUTHORS: August Froehlich, The Nature Conservancy in Ohio

ABSTRACT: Our current era of stream and wetland mitigation began with the publication in 2008 of “Compensatory Mitigation for Losses of Aquatic Resources,” aka the 2008 Mitigation Rule. By publishing this document, the USEPA and the USACE established a new paradigm for the entire process of mitigating impacts to the nation’s streams and wetlands. One of the main concepts originally proposed was the watershed approach. The watershed approach is comprised of 5 elements to drive the strategic selection of compensatory mitigation and ensure the likelihood of a mitigation plan being both successful and sustainable. Each of the 5 elements are well suited for spatial analysis. From evaluating the landscape context of a HUC-6 watershed to identifying the potential project parcels, GIS analysis allows efficient implementation of all 5 of the elements. This presentation will use the identification of a stream restoration site to provide examples of the watershed approach. Data sources, analysis methods, and supporting documents will all be discussed.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM C

4:00pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-12) Reading the Riverine Landscape and Learning From Past Restoration Designs
AUTHORS: Dana Ohman, The Nature Conservancy

ABSTRACT: There are many riverine factors that need to be scrutinized for stream restoration.  Some of these factors are fluvial processes, riverine channel characteristics, thermal regimes, longitudinal and lateral connectivity, water quality and quantity, aquatic ecology, and physical habitat characteristics.  All too often streams and rivers are restored based on a cookbook approach without addressing the causes of degradation or individual needs of the stream.  Unfortunately, this approach creates a stream condition that does not match the natural integrity of the stream thereby creating a restoration project that will end up failing.  Learning from past incompatible designs and stream restorations create a learning opportunity to develop more dynamic restoration designs that will keep that natural integrity of the stream intact.  This talk will focus on stream characteristics, identification of a reference reach to mimic stream restoration design components, and lessons learned from past stream restoration designs. 

Tuesday January 29, 2019 4:00pm - 4:20pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM C

4:00pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-13) Communication and Outreach Lessons from a Unique Fish Spawning Habitat Restoration Project
AUTHORS: Rhett Register, Michigan Sea Grant

ABSTRACT: In 2001 Michigan Sea Grant began a project to restore fish spawning habitat in the St. Clair – Detroit River System. Rocky habitat needed by key species — including lake whitefish, lake sturgeon, and walleye — had been removed to increase the depth of the rivers for shipping, impacting fish populations.The restoration effort relied on a unique partnership between agencies, universities, and NGOs. Because of the scale, the multiple partners, and the adaptive management methods used on the project, communication (both internal and external) and outreach were key.Michigan Sea Grant was vital to keeping partners, stakeholders, and the general public informed, aware of activities, and involved. A Michigan Sea Grant Extension educator took leadership roles in river partnership and restoration groups, worked with fishing groups, gave numerous tours and interviews, contacted legislators, and worked with the news media to communicate about the project. Michigan Sea Grant Communications supported the project group, creating outreach and education materials, including news releases, web messaging, graphics, signage, and photos, and hosted public events.This presentation will give an overview of the activities and lessons learned regarding outreach and communications for a unique, long-running project that had multiple partners working together to restore fish spawning habitat in the St. Clair – Detroit River System.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 4:00pm - 4:20pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM C/D

4:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-12) Keys to Successful Dam Removal and River Restoration
AUTHORS: Amy Singler, The Nature Conservancy & American Rivers

ABSTRACT: Dam Removal is arguably the most effective tool we have for restoring river habitat and fish passage. The benefits of many dams may no longer outweigh the significant impacts to fisheries and habitat. Following dam removal we see rapid improvement in water quality, return of riverine species, restored habitat downstream and upstream of the former dam. Dam removal also eliminates maintenance requirements for owners and the potential danger of failure at unmaintained dams during floods. As the rate of dam removal has increased we are seeing positive results to fish and river habitat, and we are learning just what it takes to make projects successful.Dam removal design needs to focus on river processes and account for the dynamic nature of the rivers, while taking into account infrastructure, appropriate sediment management, and threatened and endangered species. Less can often be more when we approach dam removal engineering design. Increasingly, practitioners and regulators are finding the balance of acceptable short-term impacts and long term benefits. Using project examples this presentation will address: 1.) How to recognize and address key issues at dam removal projects in order to design projects that are self-sustaining and create lasting benefits for the suite of aquatic species in the river system; 2.) How to collaborate with regulatory agencies to address concerns of impacts from dam removal construction.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 4:20pm - 4:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM C

4:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-12) Restoring Streams, Wetlands, & Floodplains in an Agricultural Landscape
AUTHORS: Amy Brennan, Lake Erie Conservation Director for The Nature Conservancy; Jessica D'Ambrosio, Western Lake Erie Basin Agriculture Director for The Nature Conservancy

ABSTRACT: The Nature Conservancy will share lessons learned and partnerships necessary to restore wetlands, floodplains and streams throughout the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) to reduce nutrient loads to Lake Erie and her tributaries and restore natural infrastructure throughout the Western Lake Erie Basin.  TNC is working with conservation and agricultural community partners to restore natural infrastructure, including wetlands, riparian corridors, and floodplains in the Western Lake Erie Basin to expand, improve, and connect wildlife habitat.  TNC established a goal of restoring 1% of the agricultural acres in the WLEB to natural infrastructure – wetlands, floodplains and riparian corridors that help to manage nutrients and water more effectively.  We have completed initial modeling and mapping to identify the highest nutrient loading areas, best areas for restoring wetlands, and watersheds where stream improvement is likely if nutrients are reduced.  We are currently working with partners on 6 restoration sites from engineering and design to full implementation to convert 500 acres of current agricultural lands to natural wetlands, riparian corridors and floodplains.  In order to reach our goal of restoring 1% (56,000 acres) of agricultural lands, we will continue to engage and support partners and systematically build partnerships to scale up our restoration activities.   This involves a combination of mapping to identify project areas and target areas that will have the most impact on downstream resources, building capacity among our traditional and nontraditional conservation partners and completion of engineering and design for restoration projects.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 4:40pm - 5:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM C