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CONFERENCE SCHEDULE UPDATES & CHANGES: As a result of the prolonged government shutdown, we experienced a number of cancellations and changes to the schedule. Cancellations and changes are listed here (as of January 26, 2019). 
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Monday, January 28 • 10:50am - 11:00am
(FISHERIES: LIGHTNING TALK) Effects of Dam Removal on the Community Structure of Micropterus Species in Two Midwestern Rivers

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AUTHORS: Reuben D. Frey, Eastern Illinois University; Cassi Moody-Carpenter, Eastern Illinois University; Shannon Cassandra Frary Smith, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff; Robert E. Colombo, Eastern Illinois University

ABSTRACT: Flow regimes have been altered by the construction of dams on many lotic systems in the United States. Physical habitat changes within these systems in response to changed hydrology have been observed to affect the community structures of fish species therein. Removal of dams may revert the physical habitat characteristics of an impounded reach towards that of a free-flowing river system and subsequently invite a fish community shift. I investigated the effects of two separate low-head dam removals on the Vermilion River and North Fork Vermilion River in eastern Illinois on the community structure of Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu), Spotted Bass (Micropterus punctulatus), and Largemouth Bass (Mictropterus salmoides). Data were collected from 2012 to 2015 using multiple gear types at six study sites on each river; two sites in the below-dam reach, two sites within the impounded reach, and two sites upstream of the impounded reach. Proportional abundance (pa) of each study species was observed to differ between each reach. Smallmouth Bass in both rivers were observed to have lower proportional abundance within the impounded reaches (pa = 0.005382) and higher proportional abundance in the below-dam (pa = 0.006611) and upstream (pa = 0.007102) reaches. In contrast, Largemouth Bass showed higher proportional abundance in the impounded reaches (pa =0.018838) and lower proportional abundance in the below-dam (pa = 0.010105) and upstream (pa = 0.005356) reaches, with Spotted Bass showing a similar pattern in the Vermilion, but not in the North Fork Vermilion. Variation in proportional abundance of fish may be driven by physical habitat requirements of each species. Future research will investigate the effect of changed flow regime on available physical habitat and Micropterus species community structure following dam removal.

Monday January 28, 2019 10:50am - 11:00am EST