Saturday, November 7th
All events are held virtually via Zoom.
Conducting Field and Laboratory Research in the Midst of Pandemics
9:00 – 10:00 AM
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone’s lives and this session is a way for everyone to share their stories and ideas about ways to advance research when one can’t be in the field or laboratory.
Session Leaders: Mohamed Khalequzzaman (Lock Haven University) and Benjamin Hayes (Bucknell University)
Eliminating Racism and Increasing Diversity in the Watershed Sciences
10:00 – 11:00 AM
Listen to stories “from the field” and identify actions the watershed sciences and environmental conservation movement should take to reduce racial discrimination and eliminate individual and systemic racism. Generate and share strategies that your organization has been able to improve diversity and inclusion, phase out microaggressions, and create a healthy environment for all.
Session Leaders: Tanisha M. Williams (Bucknell University) and Milton Newberry III (Bucknell University)
Communicating your science to the public, policy makers, voters, reporters, and other key audiences
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Explore ways to better disseminate and communicate your science to the public, policymakers, reporters, voters and other key audiences. How to use social media and other platforms to disseminate information and promote watershed sciences, environmental restoration, and many other issues associated with sustainability.
Session Leaders: Christopher Martine (Bucknell University), Justin Mando (Millersville University), and John Zaktansky (Middle Susquehanna River Keeper)
“Clean Water Grows on Trees: Finding Roots through Collective Impact “
Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
12:00 – 1:00 PM
The collective strength of our experience, initiative, and ideas is necessary for us to create systemic change in Pennsylvania and plant 10 million trees by 2025. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation supports the current K10M Partnership strategy assists agencies, businesses, organizations and landowners with funding for tree plantings and innovative ideas that lead to increased demand and guarantee supply of native trees. This session will showcase how partners are collaborating across the Commonwealth to meet the challenges and opportunities towards the Chesapeake Bay Blueprint and Pennsylvania clean water goals.
Oral Session #1A
Ecology I – Native Plant Communities
1:00 – 2:00 PM
1:00 – 1:20 PM
Moore, C.; McDonnell, A.; Schuette, S. and Martine, C.
Conservation genomics of Pennsylvania-threatened Baptisia australis var. australis: an investigation in riparian gene flow
The perennial wildflower, Baptisia australis var. australis (L.) R. Br. is found along only four waterways in Pennsylvania: the Allegheny River, Youghiogheny River, Clarion River, and Red Bank Creek. Because of its limited distribution and small number of extant populations, B. australis var. australis is considered state-threatened in Pennsylvania. In addition, the riparian prairie habitat that Pennsylvania Baptisia australis var. australis is restricted to is also in decline and considered vulnerable in the state. Because of conservation concerns for Baptisia australis var. australis in Pennsylvania, gaining insights into the natural history and genetics of the taxon is useful for conservation practitioners. This project seeks to determine the genetic structure and health of known native populations and apply that information to understanding riparian gene flow, as well as establishing conservation units. Genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) was used to collect genomic data for use in population genetics analyses. My work synthesizes these data to gain insight into the metapopulation dynamics of this riparian system and examine patterns of gene flow. We found that there are three genetic groups of Baptisia australis var. australis in Pennsylvania, with one of these showing internal genetic structure. This finding can be applied to management units for the taxon. Some Pennsylvania populations are becoming increasingly isolated as well as dwindling in population size, making now an ideal time to collect seeds and facilitate gene flow while levels of inbreeding are relatively low. My research will inform the conservation status of Baptisia australis var. australis in Pennsylvania, as well as clarify lingering uncertainties about gene flow in riparian plant populations.
metapopulation Natural Heritage Program
1:20 – 1:40 PM
Hayes, J.; Williams, T.; McDonnell, A.; Goad, R.; Schuette, S. and Martine, C.
Genetic diversity & connectivity of Chasmanthium latifolium (Poaceae) in Pennsylvania & the effect on conservation status
Chasmanthium latifolium (Poaceae) is a rhizomatous perennial plant species that lives in close proximity to rivers and streams, making it fittingly referred to as river oats. Native to the southern midwest and the eastern half of the United States, C. latifolium reaches the northeastern edge of its range in Pennsylvania. Chasmanthium latifolium (Poaceae) is comprised of two metapopulations that exhibit an east-west disjunction within Pennsylvania, one metapopulation around the Allegheny River, and one around the Susquehanna River. Due to the limited and isolated distribution of the species within the state, as well as declining populations, C. latifolium is considered a critically imperiled (S1) plant in Pennsylvania by the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program (PHNP) but is ranked as tentatively undetermined by the state. My study aims to achieve two main objectives: 1) investigate the genetic diversity and connectivity of the two metapopulations, and 2) revise the conservation status and develop scientifically informed policies to better conserve this species. This research utilizes a genotype-by-sequencing (GBS) approach to generate genomic data for use in population genetics analyses. By employing iPyrad and packages in the R statistical computing software to synthesize these data, I will gain insight into gene flow and the genetic stability of these metapopulations. Ultimately, my research will provide an updated, scientifically-backed conservation status assessment of C. latifolium in Pennsylvania. This project will combine rare plant survey protocols by the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program and Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and genetic work at Bucknell University to address broad conservation questions.
1:40 – 2:00 PM
Carrying Capacity in Suburban Ecological Communities
Regionally in the northeastern hardwood forest ecosystems, the use of alien plants for ornamental horticulture, the escaping of those plants as invasive species, and the deliberate removal of native vegetation in the process greatly limits carrying capacity for migratory birds. Invasive plant species disrupt the natural succession of unused farmlands and open spaces. Before suburban sprawl, the spaces between cities were greater and provided a corridor between natural areas. The carrying capacity of highly developed areas can be improved by directly improving the abundance and biodiversity of native vegetation in the first trophic level. By eliminating invasive plant species, replacing alien ornamental species with native alternatives for specialist and generalist insect species, and reducing lawn area, native insect populations increase thereby improving carrying capacity and breeding success of migratory birds. This also has implications for mitigation efforts for other ecosystem processes affected by anthropogenic and environmental risks.
Oral Session #1B
Ecology II – Aquatic Ecosystems & Restoration
2:00 – 3:00 PM
2:00 – 2:20 PM
Bjordahl, B.; Okada, S.; and Takahashi, M.
Assessment of small tributaries as possible habitats for larvae and juveniles of Japanese giant salamanders, Andrias japonicus, by coupling environmental DNA with traditional field surveys
Demographic assessments of all four cryptobranchid salamander species have continued to indicate declines over the past several decades. One of the conservation challenges facing all cryptobranchid salamanders is the paucity of information about larvae and juveniles. Larvae and juveniles have only rarely been encountered during field surveys, even in streams where adults have commonly been found. In the case of the Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus), several lines of evidence imply that larval and juvenile age classes use different habitats than adults such as small tributary streams, which have been overlooked by conservation monitoring surveys in Japan. We examined small tributary streams as possible habitats for young A. japonicus by integrating eDNA analysis with traditional field surveys. During the summer of 2018, we surveyed three first-to-third order tributaries of the Ichi River in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, and collected water samples from each stream (Stream A: 465 m stretch, N=8; Stream B: 955 m stretch, N=21; Stream C: 2,331 m stretch, N=22) for eDNA analyses. Although no A. japonicus were observed during the eDNA water sampling, we repeatedly detected A. japonicus eDNA in all streams. Given this result, we conducted field surveys in the summer and fall of 2019, consisting of a daytime survey and a nighttime survey for each of the three streams. During the daytime surveys, we found no A. japonicus in Streams A and B, whereas in Stream C we found one larva, one juvenile, and one new nest with a large adult male actively guarding, from sampling sites that showed notably higher eDNA concentrations. During the nighttime surveys, we found five adults and one juvenile from Stream A, one adult from Stream B, and 13 adults from Stream C. These results suggest the importance of small tributary streams for A. japonicus, especially for smaller breeding adults and likely for larval and juvenile development. There are numerous previously unsurveyed small tributary streams throughout the range of A. japonicus. Our results suggest that the coupling of eDNA analysis with field surveys provides an efficient monitoring tool to examine those overlooked habitats, which would further emphasize the importance of including small tributaries in the conservation management of A. japonicus and potentially the other cryptobranchid salamanders.
2:20 – 2:40 PM
Billé, K.; McTammany, M.; Wan, B.; K. Chase, ; and A. Busato
Improving stream restoration projects: how instream habitat influences recruitment and distribution of aquatic insects
Aquatic insects have complex life cycles which often involve interactions with aquatic and terrestrial environments. Many insects rely on the presence of instream habitats, like riffles, to successfully complete multiple life stages. Riffles are particularly important for recruitment of insects that exclusively oviposit (lay eggs) on microhabitat like rocks or organic material. Riffles are also home to diverse larval communities that often serve as a source of individuals to proximal downstream habitat. We sought to investigate the extent to which instream habitat limits recruitment and community diversity of aquatic insects due to lack of suitable oviposition habitat and isolation of instream habitat patches.
To accomplish this, we constructed nine gravel and cobble riffles in a small central Pennsylvania stream previously lacking coarse inorganic and emergent substrate. These riffles were constructed in sets with different inter-riffle distances (15, 10, or 5 m) to determine if distance to upstream riffle and oviposition habitat affected downstream benthic invertebrate density. Benthic and drift samples were collected directly below each riffle and set of riffles every two weeks from September-October 2019. Riffles were also sampled for aquatic insect eggs, which were reared to adulthood in the lab. Composited Surber samples were also taken from constructed riffles and non-riffle habitat at the end of the experiment to compare community diversity between habitat types. Initial results suggest that addition of emergent substrate increased insect recruitment to our stream, as 88% of egg masses were found on emergent rocks in riffles compared to 12% of egg masses on fully submerged rocks. Egg masses from Hydropsyche sp. (Trichoptera) and Chironomidae (Diptera) were found on both types of substrate, while Baetis sp. (Ephemeroptera) egg masses were only found on emergent rocks, which suggests that recruitment of taxa with selective oviposition behaviors could be limited by availability of emergent rock substrate. Additionally, larval insect densities were higher in reaches with riffles spaced 5 m apart (276.3 +/- 29.6) than in the control reach upstream of the constructed riffles (mean 113.7 +/- 7.6; ANOVA with Tukey’s pairwise comparison, p < 0.05). This study increased our knowledge of insect oviposition behavior and showed that providing oviposition and riffle habitat for aquatic insect taxa could improve recolonization and ecological recovery following restoration of habitat-limited streams. We suggest strategic riffle addition, including emergent substrate, as an augmentation of conventional structural restoration practices in streams.
Oral Session #1C
10 Million Trees Partnership, Chesapeake Bay Foundation
3:00 – 3:40 PM
3:00 – 3:20 PM
Wise, D.; Dow, C.; and Wylie, C.
Research on Methods for Forested Buffer Restoration: Stone Mulch and Tree Tubes
Stone Mulch as an Alternative to Herbicide Spots in Buffer Plantings: For forested buffer restoration, protecting sheltered trees from rodent damage with 2A modified stone provides a cost-effective alternative to glyphosate herbicide applications. For roughly 15 years, herbicide applications have been a standard prescription for this protection. Concerns for workers, environment and cost led Stroud Water Research Center to test alternatives beginning in 2013, including vole guards, 2” clean stone, and 2A modified stone, which is a mix of particle sizes from very fine to roughly ¾” long dimension. Second generation trials tested 2A modified stone mulch vs. herbicide application. Two stone mulch amounts were tested: 20” diameter x 2” thick (roughly 40 lb) and 12” diameter x 2” thick (roughly 20 lb). Herbicide spots were 36” in diameter, applied 2x/year. Through three growing seasons, either 2A modified stone treatment was as effective as herbicide spots on survivorship, with a slight decline in growth rate for stone treatments. Stone mulch costs roughly 1/3 the cost of typical four-year herbicide applications, and requires 1 mobilization vs. 8 for herbicide use. Loss of stone due to flooding appears to be a minor concern. Access/logistics of getting stone to some sites can be challenging. Trials of Tree Shelters – Tubex Combitube TM, Plantra TM and Suregreen TM: Tree shelters are commonly used in hardwood plantings to aid growth and survivorship. Stroud Center’s tests of Tubex Combitube (vented), Standard Tubex (non-vented) and Plantra (vented) – all 5’ tall – showed no significant differences in growth or survivorship through three years. Tests of Combitube vs. Plantra vs. Suregreen TM (vented) showed no significant differences after one growing season. Among these commonly used shelters, data to date show that secondary considerations (cost, ease of use, availability and other aspects of performance) can guide selection.
3:20 – 3:40 PM
Reforesting Reclaimed Mine Lands in Pennsylvania
The Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI) of the Federal Office of Surface Mining (OSM) is an effort to return mining sites into a forested land use through their recommended Forest Reclamation Approach (FRA). This approach includes working with mining companies to plant trees instead of the creation of compacted grasslands upon reclamation OR reverting previously compacted reclaimed mine lands to forest through site preparation which can include herbicide competitive grasslands, the reduction of compaction through soil-ripping, and the replanting of tree seedlings at a minimum of 700 per acre. An ad-hoc group comprised of members from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Pennsylvania Game Commission, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC), and the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds have begun to coordinate yearly site preparation and reforesting projects particularly focusing on the later of the two approaches; reverting previously compacted mine lands to forest. Tom Clark, Mine Drainage Program Coordinator for the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, will describe that process, give project examples, and explain how you can become a part of the reforestation solution in Pennsylvania.
Oral Session #2A
Hydrology I – Floods & Hydrography
1:00 – 2:00 PM
1:00 – 1:20 PM
Pennsylvania Elevation-Derived Hydrography Data
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Bureau of Geological Survey (BGS) has compiled a comprehensive workflow that will be used to generate hydrography data for the new elevation-derived Pennsylvania Hydrography Dataset (PAHD). This workflow relies primarily on geomorphon classification of (QL Level 2) lidar-derived elevation data as a means of identifying potential flowpath geometries which are subsequently winnowed to remove artifacts and other irrelevant features. The geomorphon areas that remain are further processed to create a vector flowpath network. Final steps in the workflow assign attributes, some from the NHD, others by running specific tools. The end goal is a scale-equivalent and dynamic hydrography dataset for the state of Pennsylvania, created using derivatives created from quality level (QL) 2 Light Detection and Ranging (Lidar) elevation data. For the purposes of this project, “scale-equivalent” is defined as horizontal accuracy to one meter and vertical accuracy to half a meter at a 1:2,400 scale with reference to the most current elevation data. This presentation briefly examines the major components of the most current methodology for producing flowpath geometries.
1:20 – 1:40 PM
How a Karst Watershed Swallowed Half of the Excess Rainfall in Its Wettest Year Ever
63.75 inches of rainfall and snowmelt water made 2018 the wettest year in 122 years of record for the Spring Creek Watershed in Centre County, PA. Yet it experienced very limited overbank stream flooding even though its 30-year average annual precipitation of 40.66 inches was exceeded by 57%. This presentation will explain how the unique combination of its hydrogeologic characteristics enabled this karst watershed to convert the excess rainfall into stored groundwater recharge instead of floodwater runoff. Much of the storm-water runoff from the watershed’s surrounding mountain ridges flowed into sinkholes at the base of the ridges and was directly converted into groundwater recharge, thereby mitigating storm-water flooding. You will learn the details of how this watershed’s unique carbonate flow systems took in and stored 38 billion gallons of groundwater recharge from the 70 billion gallons of above-normal precipitation for a capture ratio of 55%.
1:40 – 2:00 PM
Sharma, S.; Keller, K.; and Nicholas, R.
Improving Riverine Flood Hazards Estimation Using an Integrated Modeling Approach
Floods drive devastating climate-related disasters. These risks are expected to rise with environmental and demographic changes. A sound understanding of dynamic flood hazards is crucial to inform the design and implementation of flood risk management strategies. We develop a framework to assess riverine flood risks for current and projected climate conditions. We implement the framework for rivers across the state of Pennsylvania, United States. Our projections suggest that flood hazards across Pennsylvania are overall increasing with future
climate change. The analysis requires an integrated approach since the uncertainty in flood inundation projections is impacted by uncertainties surrounding climate change, and hydrodynamic model structure and parameter. We will discuss how this framework can provide regional and dynamic flood-hazard assessments and help to inform the design of risk management strategies.
Oral Session #2B
Hydrology II – Stormwater
2:00 – 3:00 PM
2:00 – 2:20 PM
Stormwater Offsets: Applying Agricultural BMPs to help meet Municipal Obligations
This presentation will summarize the findings and recommendations of a USDA NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant that explored the feasibility of municipalities achieving required stormwater pollutant reductions by implementing select best management practices on agricultural lands. project team worked directly with four municipalities in Lancaster County to gauge municipal interest in these types of partnerships, identify potential projects, and develop preliminary cost comparisons between agricultural stormwater projects and urban stormwater projects. Project partners included representatives of CBF, RETTEW Associates, Red Barn Consulting, Land O Lakes, and Quantified Ventures.
2:20 – 2:40 PM
Rieck, L.; Carson, C; Hawley, R.; Heller, M.; Paul, M.; Scoggins, M.; Smith, R.; and Zimmerman, M.
Challenges, barriers, and misunderstandings for implementing small-municipality MS4 programs
Federal regulations for municipal separate storm sewers (MS4) in the United States have been in place since 1990 as part of the Nation Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), aiming to reduce sediment and pollutant loads originating from urban areas. However, small-municipality MS4 permittees frequently face several common challenges, barriers, and misunderstandings in their efforts to regulate stormwater. We summarize common challenges and misunderstandings concerning MS4 management and offer real-world examples of effective approaches for satisfying MS4 requirements. For example, many municipalities see no funding mechanism for implementing stormwater plans, and small municipalities are at a particular disadvantage in the absence of direct federal or state funding. Taxes are a potential mechanism yet often unpalatable to local municipalities. Grants or the creation of a stormwater utility can offset costs to local communities but also face barriers to implementation. Additionally, best management practices (BMPs) can improve stormwater quality but benefits to the local community from improved water quality are often poorly understood or mischaracterized. In spite of this, there are several MS4 management approaches that may be more approachable, including forming coalitions, forming stormwater utilities, and establishing monitoring programs. Small municipalities can benefit greatly from a realistic, facts-based clarification of MS4 policies and practices that lays out all of the options available to achieve NPDES requirements.
2:40 – 3:00 PM
Schwenk, B. and Smith, R.
GIS-Based Prioritization System for MS4 Compliance Projects
The Clean Water Act regulates discharges of pollutants into streams and rivers, which includes point source discharges. Thus, local governments and other entities that manage municipal stormwater systems must meet certain requirements for mitigating stormwater through the MS4 program. This research aims to determine a framework for prioritizing best management practices (BMPs) and locations in urbanizing areas to fulfill the MS4 requirements. This work is part of a broader initiative to build a college-community partnership and improve local water quality. A list of criteria for BMP selection and placement was generated and GIS data consistent with the criteria were created to generate a spatial model identifying ideal BMP locations. The criteria chosen included the areas outside of combined sewer systems, land outside the floodway, areas of existing BMPs, land parcel size, public ownership of land, impervious and pervious surfaces, and land within MS4 urban areas. Suitable locations for BMP’s are limited in river-towns such as Williamsport, PA. Working with local managers can improve models to help identify unintuitive locations for BMP locations, but overall prioritization systems are useful for MS4 regulated regions.
Oral Session #2C
3:00 – 3:40 PM
3:00 – 3:20 PM
Aquatic Warming Stripes: Visualizing Climate Change Impacts to Freshwater Ecosystems
Warming stripes plots are a simple yet powerful way to convey large amounts of data. These plots show a series of bars filled with colors that represent annual temperatures, which allows clear communication of temperature changes throughout time. To date, air temperature data has most often been portrayed using warming stripes plots. I have adapted this concept to visualize water temperature data in rivers and streams. I acquired U.S. Geological Survey water temperature data across the U.S., comprised of >2.2 million observation from 224 stations across the U.S. that have been continuously monitoring water temperature for ≥10 years. These observations were summarized into mean annual temperature and presented in a website (https://fweco.shinyapps.io/gageTemp_RMd/) that allows users to view sites interactively on a map, and then view warming stripe plots of their choosing. The results demonstrate that although freshwater ecosystems are complex and dynamic, water temperatures are rising rapidly. This is consistent for watersheds in arctic and tropical climates alike. This presentation will provide an overview of the methods employed, a tutorial of the interactive website, and an invitation for those with additional data to contribute so that spatial coverage is enhanced. Currently, stations available within Pennsylvania are limited to the Delaware River watershed; datasets within the Susquehanna River are of significant interest.
3:00 – 3:20 PM
Marino, N. and Jacob, R.
Unmanned Arial Infrared and Visual Light Data Collection on the West Branch Susquehanna
One of the most crucial processes that occurs in the environment is the movement of groundwater and surface water from high elevation to low elevation. This process would not be possible without rivers like the Susquehanna River, draining both ground water and surface water from the central- western areas of Pennsylvania into the Chesapeake Bay. With this being said, it is very important that we understand the processes by which rivers gain or lose water, in order to better understand the watershed as a whole. One of the best ways to better our knowledge of a river is by understanding how they gain or lose water. Finding areas of surface water discharge into river is fairly straight forward but identifying areas where groundwater discharges into the river is much more difficult. Recent technological advances have allowed for the use of thermal drone imaging to detect sites of ground water discharge into rivers by detecting differences in temperature signature within the river. This method works for giving us a better idea of where groundwater discharges, but the cameras ability to see changes in heat signature, as well as quality of the thermal image typically set an obstacle since these zones of discharge are mostly small and the thermal imaging doesn’t have high enough resolution to be able to see small regions of discharge.
We have collected airborne thermal data using a drone (Ebee) along a 2230-meter stretch of the West Branch Susquehanna River adjacent to Bucknell University. 2830 photos were acquired as both visible light images and thermal images over an area of 1.59 km2 for an estimated 2.6 cm/pixel visible light resolution and 15 cm/pixel thermal resolution. The images are being processed and analyzed to evaluate drone infrared imaging and its ability to detect changes in heat signature in the river. The stretch of the river investigated includes definitive surface water tributaries into the river and sections with no tributaries. Given that the locations where surface water discharge enters the river is known, it is possible to use this information to detect other temperature changes within the river in order to find areas where ground water may be discharging into the river. This could help us pinpoint where groundwater discharge may be occurring, and then in the future, it would be possible to carry out geophysical testing of sediment and rock permeability and therefore develop an accurate understanding of where permeable areas reside near the Susquehanna River The initial evaluation of the data indicates that there are significant changes in the temperature of earth’s surface related to buildings, as well as subtle changes within the river. We expect to present available results and interpretations based on the available processed data and relative potential contribution of surface water temperature changes in ground water.
Oral Session #3A
Stream Restoration I – Live Staking / Riparian Corridor Management
1:00 – 2:00 PM
1:00 – 1:20 PM
Gemberling, A., Mills, E., and Mays, M.
Restoration Reports: A landowner outreach and communication tool from design to farmer outreach
If you are a landowner interested in installing conservation practices on your property, it can be daunting to figure out the full scope of options and who to contact to start this process. This challenge has been known to inhibit many individual property owners who own farms, woodlands, or residential property from pursuing conservation practices on their land, because the number of opportunities are overwhelming and a starting point is hard to identify. Chesapeake Conservancy and American Farmland Trust have partnered to create a science-communication tool to summarize opportunities in an easy-to-digest printout for restoration practices specific to a landowner’s property. Restoration Reports.com is an easy-to-use online tool where a landowner can enter their address and management priorities, and receive a customized, understandable report of potential conservation and restoration practice options. Using high-resolution data and the latest geospatial technology, the Conservancy can tailor each report to the property level, and suggest appropriate points of contact for a landowner to get started. This presentation will discuss the challenge of reaching property owners in conservation and present a case study of how this tool was developed using GIS technology and applied to American Farmland Trust’s Women for the Land Initiative to reach women landowners and land managers. Restoration Reports is now available for landowners in nine Pennsylvania counties.
1:20 – 1:40 PM
Wetzel, R.; Niles, J.; Gemberling, A.; and Wilson, M.
Viability of live stake species: bud production, herbivory, and the effects of rooting hormone and herbicide treatments
Live stakes are woody cuttings from wetland tree species that can root naturally when pounded into the ground. The use of live stakes in riparian and wetland restoration is becoming an increasingly popular technique because of its relatively low costs and maintenance requirements. However, the success of live stakes depends on species, environmental conditions, and planting conditions such as artificial rooting hormone or weed control strategies. The impact of such factors has not been widely studied, and much more research is available for western species and conditions than for those of eastern North America. We collected data in May 2020 using a common garden experiment with 1,550 stakes of nine native Pennsylvania species, where manipulated variables included the use of herbicide to control invasive species and rooting hormone to encourage root growth of stakes. Stakes were randomly blocked by species, and we examined what effect the use of herbicide, the use of rooting hormone, herbivory, presence of poison hemlock, species, stake diameter, and planting depth of stakes had on survival and number of buds produced. Our preliminary mixed effects model suggests that there is a positive relationship between stake diameter and number of buds and that when rooting hormone was used, stakes had more buds on average. It also suggests that most the species had similar high initial survival rates (>80%), except northern spicebush (57%), and that most species were consumed by herbivores at similar rates, except elderberry, which had more than twice the herbivory of any other species. When poison hemlock was present, stakes also had more buds on average. We hope to provide an analysis that will help conservation professionals gain insight into which local live stake species are most able to survive and quickly produce buds, and whether the use of rooting hormone or presence of poison hemlock impact survival or growth. Due to the global coronavirus pandemic, our site was not maintained this summer and is significantly overgrown. Therefore, we will repeat data collection in the coming months to identify which species are likely to have the greatest success at sites where maintenance is difficult or impossible.
1:40 – 2:00 PM
Haas, E.; Chamberlin, E.; and Parrish, S.
Evaluating the Impact of Stream Restoration Techniques on Bank Erosion and Stream Morphology at an Unnamed Tributary of Pine Creek near Woodward, Central Pennsylvania
Soil bioengineering techniques are commonly used and effective in stream restoration projects in the United States. Live staking, specifically, is a soil bioengineering technique that is considered to be an economically viable and easy technique for stream restoration. Evaluations of restoration success rarely focus on the geomorphology of a stream, and commonly focus on the riparian ecosystem. This research project is investigating the impact of live staking on bank erosion and stream morphology in an unnamed tributary of Pine Creek near Woodward, Central Pennsylvania, approximately 20 miles west of Bucknell. This tributary has both
a restored section that has undergone live staking, and an unrestored section. It is also the subject of ongoing ecological studies by the Penn’s Valley Conservation Association (PVCA), but there have not yet been any studies implemented on the geomorphology of the tributary. For this research project, we are comparing the restored section to the unrestored section of the tributary to evaluate how live staking is affecting bank erosion, stream morphology, and soil organic matter (SOM). Field methods we are using include drone-based photogrammetry, surveying with a terrestrial LiDAR Scanner, high-resolution GPS data with a Trimble Real-Time Kinematic GPS unit, and soil sampling along the floodplain of the tributary using a soil corer. Preliminary results suggest that the range of soil organic carbon in the floodplain soils is 0.5 to 2 percent. The soils are primarily a silty loam containing significant amounts of orange mottles and rootlets. The current state of the stream includes silt on the stream bed, undercut banks, and a very low current. This baseline data will be a fundamental part of a long-term study of the geomorphic processes acting in a bioengineered riparian ecosystem.
Oral Session #3B
Stream Restoration II – Improving Stream – Floodplain Connectivity
2:00 – 3:00 PM
2:00 – 2:20 PM
Bobnar, L.; Keeports, C.; Hayes, B.; Tillotson, G.; and Dempsey, C.
Adaptive Management of Aquatic and Riparian Ecosystems Utilizing Large Woody Materials on the Allegheny National Forest: Setting the Stage for the Little Arnot Run Watershed Restoration Project
Trees and fallen woody materials in streams and floodplains create a diversity of habitats for many species. Centuries of removing wood to straighten streams and reduce localized flooding have negatively impacted aquatic and riparian habitats, as well as have exacerbated flooding downstream. The U.S. Forest Service at the Allegheny National Forest (ANF), Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, and other partners are utilizing adaptive management restoration techniques to reestablish historic densities of woody materials in streams across the ANF to restore pre-disturbance ecological conditions. In the Little Arnot Run watershed, project partners are intensively monitoring physical (e.g. streamflow, water table depth, and water quality) and biological (e.g. fish, aquatic insects, and riparian vegetation) parameters to quantify the adaptive management restoration technique’s effects on aquatic and riparian ecosystems. The focus treatment reach on Little Arnot Run is moderately incised and has a relic railroad grade that has cut off the stream from the floodplain. This project will utilize excavators to harvest logs and rootwads materials from local uplands and utilize them to build large wood structures (e.g. cross-channel jams) to raise the bed of the stream in key locations. In addition, barriers such as berms and railroad grades will be removed or cut through to create side channels and reconnect flood flows to the floodplain. The goals of the project are to restore fluvial processes and aquatic habitat, improve water quality, improve distribution of gravel and fines, reconnect floodplains and hyporheic zones, and sequester carbon. This presentation will discuss the location, history, and ecology of the watershed, proposed restoration techniques and goals, and briefly outline several monitoring parameters being developed and implemented.
2:20 – 2:40 PM
Hayes, B.; Keeports, C.; Tillotson, G.; and Dempsey, C.
Fluvial geomorphology and hydrology of Little Arnot Run, Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania
To help direct stream restoration activities scheduled to begin in 2021 in the Little Arnot Run (LAR) watershed of the Allegheny National Forest (ANF), we have been characterizing the factors controlling geomorphic processes operating with the watershed. Baseline hydroclimatic data are recorded every 15 minutes using a network of instruments, including a weather station, piezometers, stream gages, water quality sonde, and temperature sensors placed on the bed of the stream. A survey of stream and floodplain features along a 6.8 km length of the lower and middle reaches of the valley was conducted to characterize the stream at the reach- and channel-unit scale. The survey included inventory of large woody debris (LWD), the dimensions of bedforms and channel features such as pool/riffle/run/glide/cascades, width/depth measurements, pebble counts, and observations of channel bed and bank material, root strength, bank height and cohesiveness, evidence of historic alteration, etc. Synoptic measures of flow velocity, shear stress, and discharge are also being collected at selected locations in the channel.
At the watershed scale, geologic factors are the dominant influence on the valley width, channel slope, sediment supply, and water chemistry of the fluvial system. The perimeter of the watershed is underlain by the Pennsylvanian Pottsville (Pp) formation, a clastic sandstone and conglomerate underlying the tops of the drainage divides. The valley hillslopes are underlain by the Mississippian age Shenango Formation and the Devonian age Corry Sandstone through Riceville Formation. Both are siltstone, with steep re-entrants along the valley sides that contain low-order tributaries that are transport-limited, delivering pulses of clay, silt, and sand to the main channel during storm events. The middle and lower reaches of the valley are underlain by Devonian Catskill Formation, a siliciclastic unit forms steep hillslopes adjacent to the broad Quaternary alluvium overlying the Devonian Venango Formation The low gradient of the channel (1.1 to 1.2) near its confluence with Arnot Run results in the lower kilometer being a zone of deposition, characterized by wide channels, shallower depths and bank heights, an elevated groundwater table, and wetland habitats in areas adjacent to the stream. There are no carbonate rocks in the watershed to provide buffering capacity, so pHs are somewhat low, gradually increasing from 6.1 in the headwaters to 6.7 near its downstream confluence with Arnot Run. Longitudinally, the most distinct hydraulic geometry changes are increases in channel W/D ratios and discharge; as saturated thickness (b) of the valley alluvium, unconfined aquifer specific yields (Sy) are estimated to be as high as 25% through the channel bed and banks of the stream. As a result, groundwater return flows help buffer pHs and reduce average conductivity from 32 μS cm-1 to 28 μS cm-1 along a 4 km length of stream, from the project area downstream to its confluence with Arnot Run.
A survey of stream and floodplain features along a 6.8 km length of the lower and middle reaches of the valley was conducted to characterize LAR at the reach- and channel-unit scale. The survey included inventory of LWD, the dimensions of channel features such as pool/riffle/run/glide/cascades along with width/depth measurements, pebble counts, and additional notes on channel bed and bank material, evidence of historic alteration, etc. Average fast water depths ranged from 0.5 to 1.2 ft; pool depths ranged from 0.6 to 2.1 ft; average wetted widths ranged 14.1 in upper reaches to 16.2 in lower reaches. Average woody material in size class/500 ft was 2.3 in steep upper reaches and increased to 6.5 in lower reaches, with distinctly less woody material <<1.6) in the proposed restoration reach, where the channel was dredged, straightened, and modified for log drives and construction of a steam railroad in the 19th century.
At the reach scale, anthropogenic factors are the dominant influence on the channel morphology, which remains in a protracted phase of adjustment to alterations done during the 19th and 20th century. Relic logging berms, steam railroad grades, and oil infrastructure can be found throughout its lower and middle reaches. In many places the stream was dredged, straightened, and converted to a single-thread channel that is narrow and deep and remains disconnected from side channels up on the floodplain. Relic oil pipes and exploration pits are scattered throughout the floodplain, with broken pipes spanning the channel in several places; at least 12 oil well pads with J-pumps are active today. All these factors are under consideration as part of the restoration strategy.
At the channel unit scale, hydrologic factors are the dominant influence on channel morphology and hyporheic exchange, including bank cohesiveness (% silt and clay), root strength, channel slope, abundance of large woody material, and water and sediment discharge. Average fast water depths ranged from 0.5 to 1.2 m; pool depths ranged from 0.6 to 1.7 m; average wetted widths ranged 4.2m in upper reaches to 5.1 in lower reaches. Average woody material in size class/150m was 2.3 in steep upper reaches and increased to 6.5 in lower reaches, with distinctly less woody material (<1.6) in the proposed restoration reach. Channel slopes varied from 0.09 to 0.18 and averaged 0.014, hydraulic radius 1.4 and roughness coefficients on the order of 0.042. Bed sediment size decreased in a downstream direction, with pools consisting predominantly of well-sorted sand and fine gravel (D50 = 20 to 80mm) and riffles consisting of cobble-boulder in riffles (D50 = 20 to 80mm). Bankfull velocities are estimated to range from 1 to 2.1 ft s–1, with most bed material and large woody debris mobile.
Most of the stream is shaded completely by mature forests, with little to no direct solar radiation. Diurnally, water temperatures vary between 2 and 4°C, showing the greatest variability during the low-flow periods in late summer and winter, when air temperatures vary considerably and buffering from groundwater inputs are low. Seasonal 2019 stream temperatures varying cyclically, with average temps of 1.1°C during the winter (Dec.-Feb.), 6.4°C during the spring (Mar.-May), 16.1°C during summer (Jun.-Aug.) and 7.8°C during the fall (Sep.-Nov.). During the summer months, temperatures increased 1.2°C/km in a downstream direction, largely the result of long-wave atmospheric radiation during the day.
No overbank floods occurred since monitoring began in Dec. 2018. Flows in the stream are relatively short lived in response to rainfall-runoff and snowmelt events, with a time of concentration of less than 6 hours and long recession curve, depending on the amount and duration of precipitation or snowmelt. Elevations of the stream and groundwater surface are recorded every 15 minutes in a network of piezometers and gage stations installed in the channel and adjacent valley alluvium. Following rainfall-runoff events, as stream levels rise, the groundwater table slopes away from the channel and down-valley, resulting in hydrostatic-driven exchange. This hyporheic exchange is driven by static hydraulic gradients which are determined by changes in water surface elevation in the channel, spatial heterogeneity in saturated hydraulic conductivity of the bed and bank material, and changes in the saturated cross-sectional area of floodplain alluvium through which hyporheic flow occurs. Falling-head tests conducted in three piezometers screened in the valley fill deposits indicate that the hydraulic conductivity (K) of the valley alluvium ranges from 4 x 10-3 m s-4to 8 x 10-2 m s-1, suggesting hyporheic exchange rates could be very high. Limited exposures in well borings and stream banks suggest the valley fill material is laterally heterogeneous and longitudinally anisotropic, with highly permeable gravel/cobble layers likely controlling patterns of interfacial flux and flow paths. Additional work is underway to determine the rates and directions of hyporheic exchange, which greatly influences stream ecosystem processes and bio-geochemical cycles in Little Arnot Run and will be an important component of the restoration and management plan of this watershed and others throughout the Allegheny National Forest.
2:40 – 3:00 PM
McTammany, M. and Billie, K.
Using large woody debris in streams to restore biodiversity of complex valley floor landscapes
Valley floor landscapes contain a variety of aquatic and semiaquatic habitats that depend on interactions between microtopography and the groundwater table. Historical logging in Pennsylvania frequently used stream channels to move timber downstream to mills along rivers, resulting in catastrophic channel erosion that deepened stream channels, lowered groundwater tables, created single-channel streams, and reduced stream-floodplain connections. These hydrologic and morphologic changes reduced the number, complexity, and area of aquatic habitats across valley floors. However, restoring large woody debris to stream channels can reverse these degradation processes by retaining sediment and organic debris, building up stream bed elevations, and elevating the water table, all of which could combine to reconnect stream and groundwater with former aquatic habitats across the valley floor. Increasing the variety and area of aquatic habitats across the valley floor will likely increase local biodiversity of many groups of organisms, from plants to amphibians, and could lead to higher connectivity and gene flow of certain habitat-limited populations across the region. Large woody debris additions are being performed in several streams in Allegheny National Forest to restore natural channel processes, complex valley floor ecosystems, and corresponding biodiversity. This talk will explore some of the possible ecological benefits of large woody debris additions for aquatic communities in Allegheny National Forest and will consider protocols for assessing biodiversity in restored valley floor landscapes.
Oral Session #3C
Science Communications and Education
3:00 – 3:40 PM
3:00 – 3:20 PM
Millisock, B.; Zimmerman, M.; Smith, R.
Outreach, Education, and Curriculum Development for an Urban Stormwater College-Community Partnership
Stormwater runoff can cause poor water and habitat quality in waterways draining catchments with a large percentage of urban development. Afflicted by the urban stream syndrome, federal regulations require local municipalities to mitigate the effects of stormwater as a point-source pollutant. These projects can benefit the environmental condition of urban streams and decrease flood damages for local communities while helping municipalities comply with federal regulations. Local municipalities, however, rarely have the technical knowledge in hydrology, engineering, stream ecology, education, and social science to design a holistic management program. Universities and colleges have the opportunity and expertise needed to help local government a) share with communities the latest research on green infrastructure and b) help them plan and implement projects with effective ecological and regulatory effective outcomes. The Lycoming College Clean Water Institute is developing outreach and education programs and providing technical expertise to support local municipalities. These efforts include developing a stormwater curriculum and an extension website that communicates topics in urban stormwater. This presentation will summarize current progress and future plans for this student-driven interdisciplinary project.
3:20 – 3:40 PM
Wilson, M. and Perkin, E.
Going Rogue: Science communication lessons from Twitter “alt” government accounts
Microblogging platforms provide an opportunity to reach audiences with a speed and scale much greater than traditional communication methods. They also present a vast source of publicly available data to analyze and identify successful or ineffective past practices in communication. Following the 2017 presidential inauguration ceremony, the active restriction of science communication by the Trump administration led to the creation of many unofficial and alternative, or “alt”, Twitter accounts for government agencies to maintain communication. Alt accounts quickly attracted many followers (e.g., 15 accounts with >100,000) and received a large amount of media attention. We analyzed tweets from paired “alt” and official U.S. government agency accounts to compare communication strategies and determine what elements of a tweet make it more likely to accrue attention (likes or shares). We found adding links, images, hashtags, and mentions, as well as expressing angry and annoying sentiments all increased retweets and likes. Evidence-based terms such as “peer-review” had high retweet rates; but linking directly to peer-reviewed publications decreased attention compared to popular science websites. Word choice and attention did not differ between account types, indicating topic was more important than source. The number of tweets generated, and attention received by, alt accounts rapidly decreased after the creation of these accounts, demonstrating the importance of timeliness in science communication on social media. Together our results show potential pathways for scientists to increase efficacy in social media communications. Key Words: Social media, text sentiment, microblogging, mixed models, targeted outreach, science communication, Web 2.0
3:20 – 4:00 PM
After the oral sessions end at 3:40 PM, everyone is invited to gather together for an open discussion to reflect upon events of the symposium and share ideas for next year.
The symposium ends at 4:00 PM.