Professional interests include riparian ecology, management and restoration, especially in agricultural landscapes, hydrology and soils, agroforestry. Research emphasis focuses on the design and function of riparian management systems that reduce the movement and remediate the impact of non-point source pollutants from croplands and pastures to adjacent streams. Presently we are also studying the impact of riparian buffers on stream bank stability and quantifying the proportion of stream sediment that originates from bank erosion and surface erosion. Most of our buffer designs use perennial woody and forb species that are functionally effective and provide potential alternative income to land owners.
Dr. Schultz has been a principal investigator in the Bear Creek Buffer Project, a long-term research effort (started in 1990) to implement and measure the effects of riparian buffer zones. The work as Bear Creek has shown that riparian buffers can cut sediment in surface runoff as much as 90 percent, cut nitrogen and phosphorus in runoff by up to 80 percent, entice and support five times as many bird species as row-cropped or heavily grazed land, cut streambank erosion by as much as 80 percent from row-cropped or heavily grazed land, reach maximum efficiency for sediment removal in as little as five years, reach maximum nutrient removal efficiency in 10 to 15 years, and increase soil organic carbon up to 66 percent.
Herring, J., R.C. Schultz and T.M. Isenhart. 2006. Watershed-scale inventory of existing riparian buffers in northeast Missouri using GIS. Journal of American Water Resources Association 42:145-155
Zaimes, G.N., R.C. Schultz and T.M. Isenhart. 2006. Riparian land-uses and precipitation influences on stream bank erosion in central Iowa. Journal of American Water Resources Association 42:83-97
Abdelkadir, A. and R.C. Schultz. 2005. Water harvesting in a ‘runoff-catchment’ agroforestry system in the dry lands of Ethiopia. Agroforestry Systems 63:291-298
Schultz, R.C., T.M. Isenhart, W.W. Simpkins, and J.P. Colletti. 2004. Riparian forest buffers in agroecosystems – lessons learned from the Bear Creek Watershed, central Iowa, USA. Agroforestry Systems 61:35-50