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Wednesday, February 8 • 9:00am - 9:20am
Technical Session. Methods for Evaluating Shallow Water Habitat Restoration in the St. Clair River

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

ABSTRACT: Shoreline development along the St. Clair River has reduced availability of shallow water habitat and connectivity between aquatic and terrestrial zones, contributing to the loss of fish and wildlife habitat beneficial use impairment in the system. Restoration projects carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency along the river’s U.S. bank are key to remediating critical shallow water habitat. However, restoration sites are physically distinct and deployment of many standard gears is unfeasible at some sites, necessitating the use of different suites of gears at different sites. Here we evaluate our multifaceted and adaptive sampling strategy that included egg mats targeting spawning fishes, light traps targeting larval fishes, and minnow traps, electrofishing, and gillnets targeting juvenile and adult fishes at restoration and control sites. During the ice-free period, gears were sampled weekly (egg mats and light traps) to monthly (electrofishing and gillnets). Few eggs were collected and larval fish samples were dominated by invasive round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) and tubenose goby (Proterorhinus semilunaris) at restored and control sites. However, native species in spawning condition were collected with all other gears at restoration and control sites. Multiple life stages of native species, including valuable sportfish (e.g., yellow perch (Perca flavescens) and smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu)) and sensitive species (pugnose minnow (Opsopoeodus emiliae) and mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus)), were observed at restoration and control sites, indicating the fish community is using these sites as nursery, refuge, and foraging areas. Therefore, we were able to demonstrate that the differing suites of gear deployed can detect sensitive species of concern and that we can detect qualitative differences between restoration and control sites with this approach.

Wednesday February 8, 2017 9:00am - 9:20am CST
Grand Ballroom A

Attendees (6)