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Monday, January 28 • 4:20pm - 4:40pm
(FISHERIES: HABITAT) The Influence of Season and Streamflow on Habitat Selection of Spotted Bass and Shorthead Redhorse Downstream of a Hydropeaking Dam in Central Missouri, USA

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AUTHORS: Elisa Baebler, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, The School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri; Craig Paukert, U.S. Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, The School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri

ABSTRACT: Downstream of hydropeaking dams, water depth and velocity fluctuate rapidly, which leads to short-term changes in physical habitat supporting aquatic organisms. While some fish species have been extirpated from flow-regulated systems, other species flourish, which may be related to the persistence of critical habitats complementary to these life histories. We used radio telemetry to evaluate the influence of season and streamflow on the habitat selection of two common, native fishes downstream of Bagnell Dam in central Missouri from April 2016 to June 2017. We studied Spotted Bass (Micropterus punctulatus), nest-guarding, sight feeding, habitat generalists and Shorthead Redhorse (Moxostoma macrolepidotum), fluvial dependent, migratory, benthic feeders. Spotted Bass selected moderate depths near submerged cover in all seasons and slow velocities during spring and summer. Conversely, Shorthead Redhorse preferred moderately deep and faster flowing habitats during spring and summer and used slow velocities and shallow depths during winter. Spotted Bass and Shorthead Redhorse selected velocity, depth, submerged cover, and distance to shore during stable and/or fluctuating flows, suggesting that fish may respond to streamflow over short time periods (daily). Spotted Bass used slow velocities (less than 0.4 m/s) in both fluctuating and stable flows, whereas, Shorthead Redhorse preferred fast velocities (greater than 1.0 m/s) in stable flows but did not select velocity during fluctuating flows. Shorthead Redhorse and Spotted Bass habitat selection illustrates that even native fish that prosper in regulated rivers have habitat requirements which may be better met through managing flow releases to maintain river habitats that support native fish of multiple guilds.

Monday January 28, 2019 4:20pm - 4:40pm EST