Fish and Amphibian Response Trajectories in Reconnected Coastal Plain Stream Floodplain Valleys

Track 3C: Gaining Insights from Vertebrate Organisms
Thursday, October 12, 2017, 3:40 pm – 5:10 pm

Will Saffell
Environmental Scientist
Environmental Systems Analysis

Sixteen Chesapeake Bay coastal plain valleys were surveyed for presence, richness, and evenness of breeding amphibians from 2013-2016, and fish in 2015 and 2016 to assess the responses of biotic communities to stream restoration efforts. Each of these valleys in Anne Arundel County, MD, features a surface water drainage and floodplains that are either connected or disconnected during 1-year storm events (Rosgen F and G), often referred to as “abandoned” floodplains. Studied valleys with disconnected floodplains (10) are slated for floodplain reconnection to mimic habitat functions of pre-disturbance systems. Reconnected floodplain sites (9) ranged in age from <1 year to 15 years. Baseline data indicate that floodplain reconnection of degraded streams typically results in improvements to richness and evenness of anuran and fish species, indicating a level of recovery. The greatest increases occurred within two years after a valley is rehydrated. After which anuran richness remains consistent whereas in some cases, target fish species do not appear until 10+ years after restoration. Community assemblages appear depended on the historic disturbance to adjacent populations.