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Watershed Scale Evaluation in a Tri-State Region of the Water Quality Benefits of Self-Forming and Two-Stage Channel Systems


<OL> <LI>Determine the evolution, sediment transport and stability of two-stage and self-forming channels in the tri-state region (Research Objective). <LI>Ascertain the enhanced nitrate removal benefits of two-stage and self-forming channels in the tri-state region (Research Objective). <LI> Demonstrate the water quality or drainage benefits of alternative land management and channel system practices to rural and urban stakeholders using a suite of modeling and management tools (Education and Extension Objective). <LI>Evaluate: (a) the acceptance by stakeholders of alternative land management and channel system practices that improve water quality; and (b) what incentives are needed to enhance implementation of these practices (Research and Extension Objective). <LI>Conduct education activities to enhance the knowledge of stakeholders on alternative land management and channel system practices that improve water quality (Education and Extension Objective).

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Non-Technical Summary: The proposed study focuses on two innovative channel system practices that, when used in conjunction with appropriate land management practices, will improve water quality and result in more self-sustaining systems. Utilization of these practices permanently retires some land from agricultural use. The proposed study will incorporate research, educational and extension activities that will expand knowledge of these practices and the measures necessary to enhance their acceptance and implementation. The proposed project will be conducted in subwatersheds of the Upper Miami, Upper Scioto, and Tippecanoe rivers (each are tributaries of the Ohio River) and the St. Joseph, Maumee, Blanchard, and Portage rivers (each discharge to Lake Erie). <P> Approach: Study sites will be selected to encompass three basic experimental groups: (1) constructed two-stage channels (2) constructed self-forming channels; and (3) control conditions that lack good bench development naturally or related to channelization and regular ditch maintenance (i.e., trapezoidal one-stage channels). Objective 1: Sites will be assessed for physical condition, stream bed/bank erodibility, channel morphology. Statistical analysis will be performed to relate these characteristics. Objective 2: We will use sediment denitrification assays, water chemistry and sediment characteristics, habitat surveys, and whole stream metabolism to determine water quality condition of each channel type. Objective 3: Use CONCEPTS, HEC-RAS, and SWAT modeling tools to demonstrate water quality benefits of different land management practices. Objective 4: Use social science data collection techniques such as surveys and interviews to create a model of adoption of land use practices. Objective 5: Create educational and outreach opportunities targeted at rural communities to enhance acceptance and adoption of concepts. Includes field days, workshops, and multimedia educational materials.

Ward, Andrew
Ohio State University
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