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Tuesday, January 30 • 9:00am - 9:20am
RIVERS & OXBOWS: Backwater Fish Community Response to Habitat Restoration on the Upper Mississippi River: 30 Years of Successful Projects

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AUTHORS. Jeff Janvrin, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Kirk Hansen, Iowa Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT. Many backwater fishes of the Upper Mississippi River migrate in late fall to overwintering sites in off channel areas within the floodplain.  Restoration of centrarchid overwintering habitat has been an objective for 21 projects implemented along Wisconsin’s border under authority of the Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program since 1986.  All of these projects have been monitored for fisheries response to a variety of management actions used independently or in combination.  The three most common management actions are: island reconstruction, flow modification and dredging.  Fall electrofishing has been used to assess fisheries response to restoration measures.  Pre-project catch per unit effort (CPUE) of age 1+ target species (i.e. bluegill, largemouth bass and crappie) were near zero in many project areas due to lack of over wintering habitat which requires adequate depth (> 1.3 m), undetectable flow, winter water temperatures ranging from 1 – 2 degrees C, and DO > 3.0 ppm.  Post project sampling shows a similar population response pattern within many of the restored backwaters.  Populations are initially dominated by age 1 fish that successfully overwintered the first-year post project.  CPUE then continues to increase over the next 5-9 years after which CPUE becomes more stable.  Evidence indicates these are new populations of fish that have become established based on no observed change in CPUE within existing overwintering areas and changes in size structure within the project areas over the first several years following construction.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 9:00am - 9:20am
103E

Attendees (1)