Graduate Research Looks at Impact of Hardened Shorelines on Fisheries

Jun 5, 2017 | Healthy Habitats, Old Woman Creek, Ohio

Ohio has more than 300 miles of coastline along Lake Erie. Much of this land has been altered or has infrastructure in need of repair or replacement. As local communities plan for the future, they need to better understand how shoreline armoring and existing vegetation impact recreational and commercial fisheries.

Graduate student Marty Simonson from the University of Toledo has been working with the Old Woman Creek Reserve, the Ohio Division of Wildlife and the Coastal Program to study this issue. For Marty, the Old Woman Creek has been a great base of operations for field work and an integral partner in engaging stakeholders in discussions about coastal land design.

Marty’s research found that wave energy is negatively correlated with fish species diversity, and in some cases, shoreline armoring has created higher energy habitats for fish. Low wave energy environments often have more vegetation and habitat complexity, which leads to more fish. These findings have already been used in the design of coastal training workshops focused on nature-based shorelines and will inform shoreline practice design and review along Lake Erie.

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