Year of Publication

2021

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering (MSBiosyAgE)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture; Engineering

Department/School/Program

Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Carmen T. Agouridis

Abstract

Numerous stream restoration projects have been implemented in Kentucky’s Inner Bluegrass region to offset anthropogenic impacts. These projects range from full channel realignments to volunteer-led riparian installations. To assess the ability of said projects to restore stream habitat and biota, full restoration (n=12) and riparian (n=6) sites were compared to reference (n=6) and disturbed (n=12) sites using RBP and SVAP protocols, macroinvertebrate samples, and geomorphology. General trends for SVAP, RBP, and BI scores, starting with highest habitat or biotic quality, were reference sites, full and riparian restoration sites, then disturbed sites. The number of EPT taxa, another indicator of biological health derived from macroinvertebrate sampling, were greatest at reference sites, followed by full, then riparian, and lastly by disturbed sites.

ANOVAs indicated that biological communities are significantly affected by watershed-scale processes that are not altered by stream restoration, such as watershed impervious cover and nutrient enrichment. Because of the steeper bedrock geology associated with reference sites, geomorphic data were interpreted with caution but suggested that efforts to reduce in-channel shear stress by increasing floodplain connectivity would benefit instream biological communities.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2021.463

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