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Tuesday, January 30 • 4:20pm - 4:40pm
SYMPOSIA-07: Patterns and Trends in the Fish Assemblage of a Floodplain Lake, Ten Years of Restoration

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AUTHORS. Olivea M. Mendenhall; Daniel K. Gibson-Reinemer - Illinois River Biological Station, Illinois Natural History Survey; Andrew F. Casper, Daniel P. Haerther - Center for Conservation and Research, John G. Shedd Aquarium

ABSTRACT. Emiquon Nature Preserve (Emiquon) is a restored backwater floodplain in the Illinois River Valley that provides 6,700-acres of habitat for waterfowl, plants, and fish communities. As part of the restoration process, fish assemblages have been monitored from 2007-2017, tracking changes in fish communities over a decade of restoration efforts. Fish community composition has been assessed using Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program, Long Term Resource Monitoring programs (LTRM) methods and protocols of mini-fyke nets, fyke nets, and electrofishing. Sampling is conducted April through October with four replicates taken with each gear type (i.e., three random and one fixed site) each month. Here we focus on the status of three highly valued sportfish in Emiquon, largemouth bass, bluegill, and black crappie tracking trends and size distribution, then compare the La Grange reach of the Illinois River by assessing size distributions. In Emiquon, the largemouth bass population is stable but skewed to larger size classes, bluegill populations are rising and increasing in size, black crappie populations are stable and represent all size classes. The La Grange supports a smaller size class of largemouth bass and bluegill. The sportfish of Emiquon are abundant and represent most all year classes for the selected species, making this backwater a highly productive system that benefits the Illinois River fish community when it is connected through added nutrients and fish. 

Tuesday January 30, 2018 4:20pm - 4:40pm CST