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Monday, February 6 • 3:20pm - 3:40pm
Technical Session. Application of Off-channel Mapping Methodology for Identifying and Rating Oxbow Habitats for Federally Endangered Topeka Shiners (Notropis topeka)

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AUTHORS: Courtney L. Zambory, Iowa State University Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management; Harvest Ellis, Iowa Flood Center; Clay L. Pierce, U.S. Geological Survey, Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Kevin J. Roe, Iowa State University Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management; Michael J. Weber, Iowa State University Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management.

ABSTRACT: The Topeka Shiner (Notropis topeka) is a small, federally endangered minnow that occupies a range spanning six Midwestern states: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota. Populations have been in decline throughout their range, and current distribution of known populations in Iowa are primarily believed to occur in the North Raccoon, Boone, and Rock River Watersheds. Habitat loss is one of the primary reasons for the decline of Topeka Shiner populations in Iowa. Once an expansive wetland and prairie ecosystem with meandering streams and countless off-channel habitats, Iowa is now dominated by row crop agriculture and channelized waterways. Off-channel habitats, such as oxbows and livestock watering ponds, play an important role in the Topeka Shiner life cycle throughout its range. Restoration of these habitats, particularly oxbows, has become the primary method of Topeka Shiner conservation in Iowa. Yet with limited resources available for conservation, it is critical to prioritize restoration efforts so they are both financially and ecologically effective. The objective of this study is to expand, refine, and apply a methodology developed by the Iowa Flood Center to map potential oxbows and their level of connectivity to the stream, which in turn can be used to detect and rate oxbows as potential restoration sites. Methods include filtering landscape depressions by depth and bounding geometric shape. Potential restoration sites are then prioritized based on landscape variables such as oxbow connectivity to the stream, neighboring stream characteristics, and proximity to detected potential source populations. This work will provide much needed guidance for future oxbow restoration projects to optimize their cost and ecological effectiveness.

Monday February 6, 2017 3:20pm - 3:40pm CST
Grand Ballroom F