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Tuesday, January 30 • 2:00pm - 2:20pm
RIVERS & OXBOWS: Occurrence, Abundance, and Habitat Use of Topeka Shiners in Restored and Unrestored Oxbows in Iowa and Minnesota

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AUTHORS. Nicholas T. Simpson, Alexander P. Bybel, Michael J. Weber - Iowa State University; Clay L. Pierce, Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Kevin J. Roe, Iowa State University

ABSTRACT. The Topeka Shiner (Notropis topeka) is a federally listed endangered species that has been in decline for decades. A key reason for the decline is the alteration of naturally flowing streams and associated oxbow habitats due to land use changes. In areas where Topeka Shiners are still known to persist, previous research has shown them to be nearly six times more likely to be sampled in oxbows than streams. Thus, the focus of recent efforts in Topeka Shiner conservation has been restoration of off-channel oxbow habitats. Oxbow restoration involves removing sediment from natural oxbows until a groundwater connection is reestablished. This restoration practice is common throughout the Boone River, North Raccoon River, and Rock River watersheds in Iowa and southwest Minnesota. However, little is known about use of restored oxbows by Topeka Shiners or which oxbow habitat variables are associated with Topeka Shiner presence. The goal of this study is to compare available habitat and fish communities of restored oxbows to unrestored, or natural, oxbows and examine under what conditions Topeka Shiners were more likely to be present. We sampled 34 unrestored and 64 restored oxbows in 2016-2017 using bag seines. We also measured several habitat variables at each oxbow at the time of fish sampling. Topeka Shiners were collected at 40 oxbows, including 45.3% of restored oxbows compared to 32.4% of unrestored oxbows. At oxbows containing Topeka Shiners, 9.9 Topeka Shiners per 100m2 were collected in the first seine pass at restored oxbows compared to 2.7 Topeka Shiners per 100m2 at unrestored oxbows. Our work demonstrates the use of oxbow habitats by Topeka Shiners, and increased occurrence and abundance of Topeka Shiners in restored oxbows compared to unrestored oxbows.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 2:00pm - 2:20pm CST