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Tuesday, January 26 • 2:20pm - 2:40pm
Monitoring A Re-Connected Chute On The Lower Platte River, Nebraska

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AUTHORS: Caleb Uerling, Univeristy of Nebraska - Lincoln; Dr. Martin Hammel University of Nebraska - Lincoln; Dr. Mark Pegg, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

ABSTRACT: Large river ecosystems are a complex system made up of a wide range of habitat types that support an abundance of biota. The existence of some of these habitat types (i.e. side channels, backwaters, and wetlands) is highly dependent on the rivers ability to interact with its floodplain. Many rivers around the world are being disconnected from their flood-plain due to increased anthropogenic changes to the system. Restoring river connectivity to its floodplain after anthropogenic alteration is often a challenge. A mitigation technique to artificially increase connectivity is through the construction of side channels, backwater areas, and other floodplain habitats. In this study, we examined the change is stream biota from a re-connected side channel pre- and post-construction, and compared these results to a backwater area that runs parallel to the restored side channel and the main channel of the lower Platte River. From October 2014 through October 2015, we sampled for fish, macroinvertebrates and water quality characteristics monthly among site locations. Following the re-connection of the side channel, the fish community assemblage shifted from mostly non-native species consisting of little diversity to a diverse community of primarily native species, including several large-river specialists. Despite the infancy of the re-connected side channel, the adjacent backwater area had a higher diversity of fish species than the side channel or the main stem Platte River. Continued monitoring will provide insight into the biotic changes of the side channel as it continues to evolve and will provide comparative results to the adjacent backwater area to determine the optimal type of off-channel habitat to construct for future mitigation projects.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
Gerald Ford

Attendees (3)