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Wednesday, February 8 • 9:20am - 9:40am
Technical Session. Northern Madtom (Noturus stigmosus) Use of Artificial Reefs in the St. Clair – Detroit River System

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AUTHORS: Jennifer L. Johnson, Justin Chiotti, Andrew Briggs, James Boase - U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Ed Roseman, US Geological Survey; Jan-Michael Hessenauer, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: The Detroit and St. Clair rivers historically supported an abundant fishery; however like many river systems, these rivers have been greatly altered. The creation of navigation channels and other anthropogenic disturbances have resulted in the decline of native fish populations and loss of fish and wildlife habitat. In order to restore these beneficial use impairments, artificial fish spawning reefs have been constructed in the Detroit and St. Clair rivers. One species to potentially benefit from the construction of artificial reefs is the Northern Madtom (Noturus stigmosus). Northern Madtom are a small Ictalurid catfish endangered in the state of Michigan and Province of Ontario. Not much is known about this species as it is historically found in small, isolated populations. In the summer of 2016, we sampled artificial reefs and nearby control sites in the Detroit and St. Clair rivers to compare the relative abundance of Northern Madtom and other small benthic fishes. Minnow traps were deployed overnight at three reef and control sites in each river. A total of 429 minnow traps were deployed using four different bait types (cheese, night crawlers, dog food, no bait) to determine bait preference. Water quality data, current velocity, and substrate information was collected at each site. A total of 51 Northern Madtom were caught, 47 of which were caught in the St. Clair River. Relative abundance did not differ between reef and control sites. However, Northern Madtom statistically preferred night crawlers over any other bait types. This work provides insight regarding sampling strategies to target Northern Madtom in large river systems and future sampling will occur over a longer temporal scale to identify seasonal patterns in habitat use.

Wednesday February 8, 2017 9:20am - 9:40am
Grand Ballroom A

Attendees (4)