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Jackson, MO, United States

Tripp S.,Big Rivers and Wetlands Field Station | Jack Killgore K.,U.S. Army | Garvey J.E.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale
River Research and Applications | Year: 2016

The St. John's Bayou water control structure near New Madrid, MO, connects the main Mississippi River to two large backwater areas called the New Madrid Floodway and St. John's Bayou. While this area has been altered, the New Madrid Floodway and St. John's Bayou account for the only substantial portion of the historic Mississippi River floodplain that remains and provides the only critical connection between backwater/floodplain habitat and the river. Fish passage was evaluated during April-December 2010 using ultrasonic telemetry. Stationary receivers were placed strategically at five locations above and below the structure in St. John's Bayou, in the floodway and the outlet to the Mississippi River. A total of 100 individuals representing 14 species were tagged. Total number of detections during an 8-month period was 1264717. Fifteen individuals representing five species moved into the Mississippi and Ohio rivers; seven individuals returned to St. John's Bayou. Thirteen of the 14 species moved upstream through the structure. Of the 85 individuals that stayed in the bayou, 29 fish passed through the structure for a total of 92 passage events. The downstream:upstream passage was roughly 50:50. Passage was correlated with river rise, with frequency of passage being higher in spring, but passage occurred each month during the study. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Source

Tripp S.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale | Herzog D.,Big Rivers and Wetlands Field Station | Garvey J.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale
River Research and Applications | Year: 2014

Dams have been implicated in the alteration of natural river processes. Quantifying spatial and temporal movement and passage patterns of large river fishes are critical for determining the extent of restricted passage and the needs for fish passage improvements. However, limited information regarding this topic exists because of the inherent difficulties associated with large river systems and assumptions associated with movement studies. Because of this lack of information, we investigated broad scale passage patterns of several riverine fish species through seven locks and dams complexes of the Upper Mississippi River using telemetry. Over the course of our 5-year evaluation, we observed species-specific movement and passage patterns, and how these trends were affected by factors such as water level and lock and dam management. Stationary receivers placed in a monitoring array detected a total of 1036 passage events. Eighty-four percent of the passage occurred through all but one of the lock and dam structures during both open and closed river conditions. While 70% of the passage occurred during open river conditions, further investigation of passages that occurred during closed river conditions (when gates are extended into the water column at some level) revealed that the majority of passage occurred when the average opening for all gates ranged from 0.6 to 1.2m. Lock usage was also quantified, and most species were not routinely using the lock chambers for passage. Ultimately, these data have shown that individuals of each study species were able to negotiate most of the locks and dams during open and closed river conditions in both directions. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Source

Hupfeld R.N.,Big Rivers and Wetlands Field Station | Hupfeld R.N.,Southeast Missouri State University | Phelps Q.E.,Big Rivers and Wetlands Field Station | Phelps Q.E.,Southeast Missouri State University | And 2 more authors.
River Research and Applications | Year: 2015

Rivers worldwide have experienced changes through habitat modifications and are likely further exacerbated with the onset of climate change. The coupling of these anthropogenic disturbances has reduced the ability of river ecosystems and associated biota to adjust. The aforementioned human-induced habitat perturbations coupled with high summer river temperatures have been associated with an increased frequency of fish kills. Recently, shovelnose sturgeon Scaphirhynchus platorynchus have experienced numerous events of excessive summer mortality in rivers across the USA. During the summer of 2012, multiple fish kills occurred on the lower Des Moines River. During one of these events, we collected numerous dead or dying shovelnose sturgeon (N=132) to explore factors causing mortality. Water temperatures were exceedingly high (29-35°C), while dissolved oxygen levels varied between 4 and 10mgL-1. Based on population simulation modelling, only ~14% mortality would need to occur to reduce the reproductive potential below sustainable levels, which was likely exceeded. The results of our controlled experiment demonstrate that the high temperature in the Des Moines River was likely the mechanism initiating mortality. Future climate projections indicate that increases in temperature on the Des Moines River are possible thus, the population may be at risk in the future. Through our microchemistry investigation, immigration from the Upper Mississippi River appears to be common and may be a source population to the Des Moines River. Despite immigration, the influence that these mortality events have on the Upper Mississippi River is unknown. Thus, proactive management efforts are needed to ensure sustainability of this population. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Source

Phelps Q.E.,Big Rivers and Wetlands Field Station | Phelps Q.E.,Southeast Missouri State University | Tripp S.J.,Big Rivers and Wetlands Field Station | Herzog D.P.,Big Rivers and Wetlands Field Station | Garvey J.E.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Restoration Ecology | Year: 2015

Studies have demonstrated the importance of the synergistic relationship between large rivers and adjacent floodplain connectivity. The majority of large rivers and their associated floodplain have been isolated through a series of expansive levee systems. Thus, evaluations of the relative importance of floodplain connectivity are limited due to the aforementioned anthropogenic perturbations. However, persistent elevated river levels during spring 2011 at the confluence of the Mississippi River and Ohio River prompted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to create large gaps in the levee system producing an expansive floodplain (i.e. the New Madrid Floodway). Specifically, the New Madrid Floodway (approximately 475 km2) in southeast Missouri was created to divert part of the Mississippi River flow during catastrophic floods and thus alleviate flood risk on nearby population centers. Given the historic flooding of 2011, the floodway was opened and provided an unprecedented opportunity to evaluate the influence of floodplain inundation on fish species diversity, relative abundance, and growth. We sampled the floodplain and the adjacent river at three stratified random locations with replication biweekly from the commencement of inundation (late May) through early October. Overall, we found that species diversity, relative abundance, and growth were higher in the floodplain than the main river. Our data support previous examinations, including those outside North America, that suggest floodplain inundation may be important for riverine fishes. Given these apparent advantages of floodplain inundation, restoration efforts should balance benefits of floodplain inundation while safeguarding priority needs of humans. © 2014 Society for Ecological Restoration. Source

Haupt K.J.,Big Rivers and Wetlands Field Station | Haupt K.J.,Southeast Missouri State University | Phelps Q.E.,Big Rivers and Wetlands Field Station
Aquatic Invasions | Year: 2016

Fish community structure is a complex and integrated part of an aquatic ecosystem; a balanced system is often rich in species diversity and abundance. Invasive species can alter this balance, and the expansion of invasive silver carp may have similar deleterious effects. Recently, catches of silver carp in the Midwestern United States have increased and there is evidence of successful spawning and recruitment. However, early life history attributes of silver carp have not been fully evaluated within the Mississippi River Basin. A thorough understanding of early-life history is imperative to facilitate control efforts for silver carp populations. Furthermore, age-0 silver carp survival and subsequent recruitment may be regulated by habitat availability during this critical life stage. Thus, the objective of this study was to evaluate age-0 silver carp mesohabitat (i.e., depth, velocity, and substrate) use in three reaches of the Mississippi River Basin and potential habitat overlap with two native planktivorous fish species, gizzard shad Dorosoma cepedianum and emerald shiner Notropis atherinoides. Using data collected from the three lower most reaches of the Long Term Resource Monitoring Program (Pool 26 at Alton, Illinois, USA; Open River at Cape Girardeau, Missouri, USA of the Mississippi River; and the LaGrange reach at Havana, Illinois, USA of the Illinois River), we investigated age-0 silver carp, age-0 gizzard shad and age-0 emerald shiner habitat associations from 2007 to 2012. Overall, 79,358 age-0 silver carp, 89,990 gizzard shad and 41,119 emerald shiner were captured with mini fyke nets during this long-term study. Generally, all three species were collected most frequently in shallow (< 1.5 meters), low velocity (<0.6 meters/second) habitat with greater variability in substrate use ranging from silt to rock. Given the scarcity of these habitat types in the channelized Mississippi River Basin, our results suggest that invasive silver carp exhibit habitat overlap with gizzard shad and emerald shiner. This overlap may result in reduced growth and body condition of these fishes. To this end, this extensive data set has provided new information about silver carp early life history mesohabitat use and overlap occurring between two age-0 native planktivores in the Mississippi River Basin and potential consequences of this association. © 2016 The Author(s). Source

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