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Tuesday, January 30 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. Quantifying Physical Maturation of Artificial Fish Spawning Reefs in the St. Clair-Detroit River System

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AUTHORS: Jason L. Fischer, University of Toledo Lake Erie Center, Department of Environmental Sciences; Todd Wills, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Lake St. Clair Fisheries Research Station; Edward Roseman, US Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center; Greg Kennedy, US Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center; Christine Mayer, University of Toledo Lake Erie Center, Department of Environmental Sciences; Dylan Jones, University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment, Michigan Sea Grant

ABSTRACT: Artificial reefs have been used to restore spawning substrates for lithophilic spawning fishes (e.g., Lake Sturgeon, Acipenser fulvescens; Lake Whitefish, Coregonus clupeaformis; and Walleye, Sander vitreus) in the St. Clair-Detroit River System. Early projects used species specific metrics (e.g., proximity to historic spawning locations and habitat characteristics at known spawning sites) to guide reef placement. However, long-term success at some of the initial artificial reefs was compromised by fine sediments which filled the interstitial spaces needed by developing eggs. Therefore, in order to improve the likelihood of successful reef function, geomorphological criteria were incorporated into site assessments of reefs constructed after 2013 to identify sediment sources and depositional zones. To evaluate the effectiveness of the revised placement process, we quantified physical maturation of artificial reefs using down-looking sonar and underwater video surveys. Sonar allowed large areas to be quickly surveyed and provided a hardness index that was used to track changes in reef hardness and infilling by fine sediments. Underwater video surveys covered a smaller extent of the artificial reefs, but provided quantitative information on sediment sizes and percent composition of substrate type at reef sites. Sonar surveys began in 2014 and underwater video surveys in 2015, both surveys have continued to through 2017. Initial assessments indicated that reefs constructed using geomorphological placement criteria have experienced limited accumulation of fine sediments. Reef materials remain exposed and available to spawning fishes for at least 3 years following construction. Therefore, incorporation of geomorphological placement criteria has improved the longevity of reef restoration projects in the St. Clair-Detroit River System.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 6:00pm - 9:00pm CST
Ballroom C & Foyer

Attendees (4)