, Volume 494, Issue 1-3, pp 251-257

Response of fishes and aquatic habitats to sand-bed stream restoration using large woody debris

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Effects of habitat rehabilitation of Little Topashaw Creek, a sinuous, sand-bed stream draining 37 km2 in northwest Mississippi are described. The rehabilitation project consisted of placing 72 large woody debris structures along eroding concave banks and planting 4000 willow cuttings in sandbars. Response was measured by monitoring flow, channel geometry, physical aquatic habitat, and fish populations. Initially, debris structures reduced high flow velocities at concave bank toes, preventing further erosion and inducing deposition. Physical response during the first year following construction included creation of sand berms along eroding banks and slight increases in base flow water width and depth. Fish collections showed assemblages typical of incising streams within the region, but minor initial responses to debris addition were evident. Progressive failure of the structures and renewed erosion were observed during the second year after construction.