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Wednesday, January 31 • 8:00am - 8:20am
FISH HABITAT & GENETICS: Effectiveness of Shallow Water Habitat Restoration in the St. Clair River

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AUTHORS. Jason Fischer, University of Toledo; Ed Roseman, US Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center; Christine Mayer, University of Toledo; Song Qian, University of Toledo; David Mifsud, Herpetological Resource Management; Stacey Ireland, US Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center; Robin DeBruyne, University of Toledo; Melanie Foose, Department of Environmental Quality, Office of the Great Lakes; Rosanne Ellison, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Great Lakes National Program Office; Greg Kennedy, US Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center

ABSTRACT. Shoreline restoration projects have been completed along the St. Clair River to remediate losses of shallow water habitat historically used by fish as nursery areas and refuge. Evaluation of restoration projects should always be carried out, however there is no standard sampling protocol for shallow habitat in large rivers, especially when both adults and juvenile fishes should be targeted. Therefore, in order to assess restoration effectiveness and suggest appropriate sampling techniques for this habitat type, we employed a multi-gear sampling strategy targeting multiple fish species and life stages at five shoreline restoration and four control sites. We collected juvenile fishes with minnow traps and backpack electrofishing and adult fishes with gillnets. Species catches were pooled by taxonomic group and management priority to use Bayesian Poisson models to evaluate differences in catch per unit effort (CPUE) between restoration and control sites. The Poisson-multinomial connection was then used to calculate relative abundances of species groups using posterior estimates of group CPUE at each site type. Results indicated that electrofishing CPUEs of darters, Mottled Sculpin (Cottus bairdi), rare threatened and endangered species, juvenile and adult and juvenile Centrarchidae were higher at restoration sites than at control sites. Additionally, juvenile non-Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu) Centrarchidae and Mottled Sculpin had a higher relative abundance in electrofishing collections at restoration sites than at control sites. In contrast, CPUEs and relative abundances were similar for all taxonomic and management priority groups of fish collected in minnow traps and gillnets. Electrofishing captured more species and more individuals and is therefore a valuable sampling technique for large-river shorelines. Electrofishing collections suggest shoreline restoration projects were beneficial to recreational and ecologically important species in the St. Clair River.

Wednesday January 31, 2018 8:00am - 8:20am CST