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Tuesday, January 30 • 4:40pm - 5:00pm
RIVERS & OXBOWS: The Importance of Field Assessments in Modeling Fish Passage of Barriers in Great Lakes Tributaries

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AUTHORS. John Rodstrom, Austin Milt, Allison Moody - University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Limnology; Matt Diebel, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Ellen Hamann, University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Limnology; Peter B. McIntyre, University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Limnology

ABSTRACT. A landscape-based predictive model has been used to predict that only 14% of the total tributary length in the Great Lakes Basin is available to migratory fish due to dams and road crossings. This model estimates fish passability for 268,818 road crossings and forms the core of an online decision support tool (“Fishwerks”, publicly available at greatlakesconnectivity.org) that evaluates alternative barrier removals to optimize habitat gain per removal cost at any scale within the Great Lakes Basin. However, a limitation of the model is that it treats all dams as impassable to fish because the underlying database of dams lacks current information regarding fish passage structures. We comprehensively surveyed dams within the Lake Michigan Basin outside the migratory fish spawning season using a qualitative metric for fish passability to evaluate dams that are more likely to block fish passage. Results from these field surveys have implications for interpreting modeled passability and for improving the management value of the decision support tool.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 4:40pm - 5:00pm CST