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01.07.2003 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2003

Environmental Management 1/2003

Agricultural Land Use Effects on Sediment Loading and Fish Assemblages in Two Minnesota (USA) Watersheds

Zeitschrift:
Environmental Management > Ausgabe 1/2003
Autoren:
Julie K. H. Zimmerman, Bruce Vondracek, John Westra
Wichtige Hinweise
The Minnesota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit is jointly sponsored by the US Geological Survey, the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and the Wildlife Management Institute.

Abstract

We examined the relationship between water quality and fish communities within two agricultural areas using a computer simulation model. Our analyses focused on a coolwater stream, Wells Creek in southeastern Minnesota, and a warmwater stream, the Chippewa River in western Minnesota. We used the Agricultural Drainage and Pesticide Transport (ADAPT) model in relation to land use to calculate instream suspended sediment concentrations using estimates of sediment delivery, runoff, baseflow and streambank erosion, and quantified the effects of suspended sediment exposure on fish communities. We predicted the effects of agricultural practices on stream fish communities under several possible land use scenarios, with reference to current conditions. Land use changes led to reductions in sediment loading of up to 84% in Wells Creek and 49% in the Chippewa River. The reduction in sediment loading across scenarios may be directly related to a reduction in runoff by about 35% in both study areas. We found a 98% decrease in “lethal” concentrations of suspended sediment on fish in Wells Creek with an increase in conservation tillage, riparian buffers, and permanent vegetative cover. However, the effects of suspended sediment did not significantly decrease in the Chippewa River. This difference between study areas was likely due to differences in tolerance to suspended sediment between coolwater and warmwater fish communities and differences in topography, runoff and bank erosion between the two streams.

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