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Welcome to the interactive web schedule for the 2019 Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference! Please note, this event has passed. To return to the main Conference website, go to: www.midwestfw.org.

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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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Great Lakes [clear filter]
Monday, January 28
 

10:20am EST

(FISHERIES: GREAT LAKES 1) Can Otolith Microchemistry Be Used to Delineate Natal Origin of Larval Lake Whitefish in the Lower Waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan?
AUTHORS: Lydia R. Doerr, Dr. Patrick Forsythe, Dr. Christopher Houghton – University of Wisconsin-Green Bay; Scott Hansen, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Dr. Kevin Pangel, Central Michigan University

ABSTRACT: Much remains unknown regarding the early life history of Lake Whitefish in the Great Lakes despite their ecological and economic importance. The capture of larval Lake Whitefish in four major Green Bay tributaries (Fox, Menominee, Peshtigo, and Oconto Rivers) indicates the re-establishment of potamodromous stocks and suggests that these tributaries contribute to the overall metapopulation. The collection of larvae from the Sturgeon Bay shipping canal and the other reefs throughout Green Bay provides evidence that Lake Whitefish are also spawning in nearshore habitats. The ability to identify natal origin of a specific population is essential to creating effective stock-specific management plans; capable of protecting various sub-population that make up the larger Lake Whitefish metapopulation. Larvae collected during 2017-2018 were used to examine whether otolith microchemistry can accurately determine natal origin of these individuals. Preliminary analyses found significant differences in the ratio of strontium and barium to calcium in riverine and offshore water chemistry for Green Bay and Lake Michigan.  The incorporation of these and other trace elements in larval otoliths allowed for the identification of natal origins of Lake Whitefish sub-populations. Otolith microchemistry proved successful at delineating natal origins at both broader level (i.e. tributary vs. open water) and at the site-specific scale.

Monday January 28, 2019 10:20am - 10:40am EST
CENTER STREET ROOM A

10:20am EST

(WILDLIFE: WETLAND CONSERVATION) Multi-scale Habitat Associations with Marshbird Occupancy and Abundance in the Great Lakes Region
AUTHORS: Sarah Saunders, National Audubon Society; Kristin Hall, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Nina Hill, University of Minnesota; Nicole Michel, National Audubon Society

ABSTRACT: Intensifying wetland stressors in the Great Lakes region of the United States have hastened the need to identify local and landscape-scale habitat characteristics important to marsh-dependent wildlife to inform conservation prioritizations. The optimal spatial scale for assessing species-habitat relationships is not always apparent, but may affect inference about wetland use and suitability. We developed occupancy and abundance models, while accounting for imperfect detection, for nine marshbird species breeding in Minnesota. We evaluated species-specific wetland cover associations at three spatial scales (12.6 ha, 50.3 ha, and 4000 ha), quantified sensitivity to anthropogenic disturbance (developed land and agriculture), and evaluated ecoregional variation in marshbird occupancy and abundance. Emergent vegetation was positively correlated with occupancy rates of 89% of species, emphasizing the conservation value of this land cover type for sustaining breeding marshbird populations in the state. Agriculture was negatively associated with occupancy for three species, and positively associated for three other species, especially at the landscape scale. Development was negatively related to occupancy for five species, but positively related for Marsh Wren. Occupancy of all species was highest in the Prairie Pothole ecoregion, and Pied-billed Grebe and Sora were most abundant at wetlands in this region. Restoration efforts targeted within the western portion of the state are most likely to boost marshbird populations and use conservation resources effectively. Future applications of our modeling framework at broader spatial extents will contribute to the conservation of marshbirds in a region where rates of wetland loss and degradation are high.

Monday January 28, 2019 10:20am - 10:40am EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

10:30am EST

(FISHERIES: LIGHTNING TALK) Movements and Habitat Use of Muskellunge in Green Bay, Lake Michigan
AUTHORS: Robert Sheffer, Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; Daniel Dembkowski, Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; Steven Hogler, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Joshua Raabe, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Daniel Isermann, U.S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

ABSTRACT: Green Bay and its tributaries support a world-class fishery for trophy muskellunge that attracts anglers from across North America. The Lower Fox River and Green Bay muskellunge population is largely supported by stocking because natural recruitment is limited, possibly due to habitat limitations. While previous work has identified potential spawning locations, it is unknown whether muskellunge hatch at these locations and habitat attributes associated with successful hatching have not been determined. Our objectives are to: 1) determine the proportion of muskellunge spawning in tributaries to lower Green Bay or in Green Bay proper; 2) determine the proportion of adults that return to stocking locations to spawn; 3) determine if muskellunge return to the same spawning locations in consecutive year; 4) define habitat conditions that result in successful hatching and 5) characterize general movement patterns of muskellunge. We will identify spawning sites of tagged muskellunge (N = 60) using radio and acoustic telemetry and conduct spawning habitat surveys. Presence or absence of eggs and larvae at spawning sites will be used to develop predictive maps of suitable habitat throughout the Green Bay ecosystem.

Monday January 28, 2019 10:30am - 10:40am EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM A/B

11:00am EST

(CANCELLED) (FISHERIES: GREAT LAKES 1) Quantifying Oxythermal Habitat Availability for Coldwater Species in the Central Basin of Lake Erie
AUTHORS: Joseph D. Schmitt, Christopher S. Vandergoot, Richard T. Kraus – USGS Great Lakes Science Center, Lake Erie Biological Station

ABSTRACT: Populations of coldwater fishes such as burbot Lota lota, lake whitefish Coregonus clupeaformis, and lake trout Salvelinus namaycush have declined in Lake Erie, while cisco Coregonus artedi have been extirpated. Warming temperature regimes and the re-eutrophication of Lake Erie have increased the frequency of harmful algal blooms and hypoxic events, which can reduce oxythermal habitat availability. Using vertical profile data collected in the central basin from 2008-2017, we developed generalized additive models to explore spatial, seasonal, and interannual trends in oxythermal habitat availability for lake trout, cisco, lake whitefish, and burbot based on published oxythermal niche benchmarks. Habitat availability was usually temperature-limited rather than oxygen-limited, and significant (P<0.05) monthly and interannual variations in habitat availability were detected for most species. In general, oxythermal habitat was most limited during August and September; moreover, significant interannual trends in habitat availability were also detected, with 2016 having the most extreme habitat reduction for many species due to record high temperatures. Understanding the spatiotemporal dynamics of oxythermal habitat availability will be important for the conservation and restoration of these fishes in our changing climate. Moreover, these models can be integrated with climate predictions to better understand how warming temperatures will affect coldwater habitat in the future.

Monday January 28, 2019 11:00am - 11:20am EST
CENTER STREET ROOM A

11:20am EST

(FISHERIES: GREAT LAKES 1) Mark-Recapture Validation of Pectoral Fin Ray Age Estimation for Lake Sturgeon
AUTHORS: Brad Utrup, Jan-Michael Hessenauer, Andrew S. Briggs, Todd Wills, Michael Thomas (retired) – Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Age estimation is a fundamental part of fisheries management; critical for evaluations of growth, mortality and recruitment.  Validation of ages obtained from age estimation of hard structures is a necessary part of the ageing process in order to better understand the magnitude of error and bias associated with structure interpretation.  Validation studies on large-bodied and long-lived species such as Lake Sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens are challenging.  We utilized a 20-year mark-recapture dataset from Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River, Michigan, USA to validate pectoral fin ray age estimates from 51 individuals that were sampled twice. The time at large ranged from 2 to 17 years between capture-recapture events.  All fin rays were aged by two separate readers (agreement rate 94.1%).  Samples were divided into four quartiles based on mean annual growth rates during their time at large.  Age error was defined as the difference between the age of the fish at first and second capture and the number of years at large.  No difference in time at large existed among the four groups, but age error differed among the four groups.  Furthermore, age error did not differ from zero for the two fastest growing quartiles but did differ significantly from zero for the two slowest growing quartiles.  We conclude that for Lake Sturgeon growing faster than 3 cm/year (generally less than 100 cm in TL) pectoral fin rays provide valid age estimates.  Managers should consider the growth rates of Lake Sturgeon in their populations for determining a size threshold for utilizing fin rays for age estimation.

Monday January 28, 2019 11:20am - 11:40am EST
CENTER STREET ROOM A

11:40am EST

(CANCELLED) (FISHERIES: LIGHTNING TALK) Location, Location, Location: Identifying Preferential Drifting and Swimming Paths for Grass Carp Eggs and Larvae Under Different Flow Conditions
AUTHORS: Andres Prada, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Amy George, Ben Stahlschmidt, Duane Chapman – USGS Columbia Environmental Research Center; Rafael O. Tinoco, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

ABSTRACT: To monitor and control the spread of invasive fish species, such as grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella), we need to know where to find them. Natural streams have complex cross sections with varied bed roughness and in-stream obstructions that alter flow conditions and influence the transport of grass carp during its early life stages. To identify how changes in mean velocity, vorticity, and turbulence levels affect the drifting and swimming patterns of eggs and larval grass carp, we conducted a series of laboratory experiments in a recirculating flume. Live diploid grass carp eggs were stocked and monitored for 80 consecutive hours. We investigated three scenarios: 1) a gravel bump, 2) vertical rigid pier, and 3) rigid submerged vegetation. We used quantitative imaging to track eggs and larvae throughout the duration of each test, obtaining their preferred spatial distribution, as well as drifting and swimming trajectories under each flow scenario. We found clear correlations between the larval spatial distributions and flow conditions characterized through particle image velocimetry. Differences between identified trajectories for eggs and larvae at various developmental stages show a clear active response to spatially heterogeneous flow fields, where larvae actively avoided areas of high shear, preferring zones of lower turbulence and low vorticity levels. Data show that there is not only a threshold mean velocity which exceeds the swimming ability of the larvae, but also thresholds for turbulence statistics that define whether the eggs or larvae can be found at specific zones in natural streams. Since the three chosen scenarios generate turbulence and coherent flow structures at multiple scales at various orientations, our findings can be applied to inform detection and capture methods in natural streams.

Monday January 28, 2019 11:40am - 11:50am EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM A/B

11:40am EST

(HUMAN DIMENSIONS: FISHERIES 1) Fishing for Answers: Restoration in the St. Clair-Detroit River System Improves Angling Opportunities
AUTHORS: Dana Castle, Central Michigan University, Tracy Claramunt, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Ed Roseman, U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center, Tracy Galarowicz, Central Michigan University

ABSTRACT: Within the St. Clair-Detroit River System (SCDRS), fish and wildlife habitat and water quality have historically been degraded, however in 2004, extensive restoration projects began on this system to remediate past degradation. Post-monitoring of restoration areas conveys improving biota of the region, including improvement in Burbot, Lake Sturgeon, Walleye, and Lake Whitefish. Although species are improving in the region, the response of anglers in the region remains unknown. In 2002-2005, an extensive creel survey was conducted, however, since that time, there has been no other extensive analysis of the anglers in the SCDRS. We analyzed post-restoration creel data by calculating interview catch rates, interview harvest rates, and examining supplemental questions collected by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR). We also estimated the economic value of a recent creel survey by using estimated lodging and gas expenses of interviewed anglers in the SCDRS. We examined interest in fishing in the SCDRS by examining Google Trends data. For Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River, there were larger interview catch and harvest rates in post-restoration periods than in pre-restoration periods. We determined that the 2017 open water fishery on Lake St. Clair was worth approximately $11.87 million. Search terms related to the Detroit River and show a significant upward trend, indicating a rise in fishing interest in the region. Because of the increased travel, interview catch, interview harvest rates, and interest in Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River, anglers are likely capitalizing on increased fishing opportunity in these parts of the system. Another extensive creel survey, similar to the one conducted in the early 2000s, would be helpful in further determining the influence of restoration on angling opportunities in the SCDRS and if anglers are acting to remediate restoration costs.

Monday January 28, 2019 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM B

1:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-04) Toward Examining Climate Effects on Yellow Perch Recruitment: How Do Lake Erie Larval Yellow Perch Diets Vary Within a Year?
AUTHORS: Luke A. Bobay, L. Zoe Almeida, Elizabeth A. Marschall, Stuart A. Ludsin – The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: A full understanding of how climate change affects the recruitment process of fish is lacking for most populations. The possibility exists that altered temperature and precipitation patterns could interact with other factors (e.g., photoperiod) to reduce the availability of zooplankton prey to pre-recruited individuals. If preferred prey sizes or taxa are unavailable during critical periods of development (e.g., larval stage), foraging success, growth, and survival might decline. As a first step toward understanding how climate variation influences larval yellow perch (Perca flavescens) success in Lake Erie, we processed the diets of larvae captured during spring 2017 from several nearshore areas of the western basin. While we expected average zooplankton prey size in the diet to increase with yellow perch size, we were uncertain as to how availability of prey of different sizes and taxa would affect which prey types are consumed. We also did not know if larval yellow perch require a specific size or type of prey during early life, when their ability to catch large, fast prey is limited. Preliminary analyses indicate that the biomass of yellow perch diets varied both through time and between sites (Date: ?<sup>2</sup><sub>4,428</sub>= 114.3, p < 0.001, Site: ?<sup>2</sup><sub>3,428</sub>= 22.7, p < 0.001), with no obvious effect of fish size (Length: ?<sup>2</sup><sub>1,428</sub>= 0.04, p = 0.84). Interestingly, we found that some small prey items (e.g., small Cyclopoida) were primarily consumed by small yellow perch larvae (5 – 9 mm), whereas other small taxa (e.g., Bosmina) were primarily consumed by larger larvae (13 – 18 mm). Future analyses should reveal if these differences in consumption between larvae of different size are due to prey availability or a preference for specific taxonomic groups. Ultimately, these results will direct our impending inter-annual examination of larval yellow perch diets in relation to environmental conditions.

Monday January 28, 2019 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM A

1:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-04) Lake Huron Prey Fish Community Affects Saginaw Bay Predator/Prey Dynamics and Management Implications
AUTHORS: David G. Fielder, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Saginaw Bay historically supported large Walleye and Yellow Perch populations and fisheries. Walleye diet from 1989 to 2002 was dominated by Clupeids (Gizzard Shad and Alewives). Alewives from the main basin of Lake Huron used the bay for spawning and nursery grounds. Alewives disappeared from most of the lake as a result of a profound foodweb paradigm change in 2003. Walleye diet in the bay has become more diverse with age-0 Yellow Perch now comprising a major component. Yellow Perch have exhibited good reproductive success but mortality between age-0 and age-1 is now routinely upwards of 95%, resulting in failed recruitment to the larger population. It appears that Saginaw Bay’s predator/prey dynamics depend on a predation buffer from main basin pelagic planktivores with Cisco historically playing that role. With Alewives largely extirpated and Cisco not recovered, a broken linkage may exist resulting in suppressed Yellow Perch population and fisheries. Fishery managers are commencing a Cisco restoration initiative in Central Lake Huron partly in hopes of addressing this situation.   

Monday January 28, 2019 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM A

2:00pm EST

(CANCELLED) (SYMPOSIA-04) Food Web Interactions Among Walleyes, Lake Whitefish, and Yellow Perch in Green Bay
AUTHORS: Daniel Isermann, Lucas Koenig, Daniel Dembkowski – Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit; Iyob Tsehaye, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Wesley Larson, USGS-Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit; Scott Hansen, Steve Hogler; Tammie Paoli – Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Troy Zorn, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Green Bay supports important fisheries for walleyes, lake whitefish, and yellow perch and these species likely interact in a variety of ways. A better understanding of these interactions is needed to guide management decisions. Specifically, there are concerns that high walleye abundance could negatively influence abundance of yellow perch and lake whitefish, primarily through predation. However, the prevalence of round gobies within the ecosystem may provide a predation buffer for yellow perch and lake whitefish. Moreover, the lake whitefish population in and around Green Bay is comprised of multiple genetic stocks. Consequently, if walleye predation on lake whitefish varies across time and space, this predation could affect certain whitefish stocks to a greater degree than others. To help address some of these uncertainties, our research objectives are to determine if: 1) lake whitefish and yellow perch represent important prey for walleyes in Green Bay; 2) diets of these three species vary spatially and temporally and if diet overlap among species is evident; 3) the extent of walleye predation is sufficiently high to influence recruitment potential of lake whitefish and yellow perch and 4) extent of walleye predation varies among individual stocks of lake whitefish. We are integrating an intensive assessment of diet composition for all three species with bioenergetic modeling and genetic stock identification to address our objectives. We will discuss the innovative experimental framework we are using to address these objectives and provide preliminary results of our diet analyses.

Monday January 28, 2019 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM A

2:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-04) Spatial Patterns and Temporal Trends of Predator Diets in Lake Huron
AUTHORS: Katie Kierczynski, Michigan State University; Brian Roth, Michigan State University; Ed Roseman, USGS Great Lakes Science Center; Robin DeBruyne, University of Toledo/USGS Great Lakes Science Center

ABSTRACT: Lake Huron has undergone dramatic changes in the past few decades. Introductions of non-native species have drastically altered the food web and nutrient pathways. In the mid-2000s, alewife collapsed closely followed by Chinook salmon. Since then, some native prey species (e.g. bloaters) and some invasive species (e.g. round goby) have increased in abundance. Populations of native predators walleye and lake trout have also increased substantially, but there are now questions regarding the sustainability of current predator populations as well as uncertainty regarding connections among food web members given changes in prey populations and shifts in productivity. Predator diets can be used as evidence that could shed light on the sustainability of the food web. However, the last angler-caught predator diet study in Lake Huron was conducted between 2009 and 2011 (Roseman et al. 2014). That study demonstrated increased reliance on round goby for lake trout and walleye, but Chinook salmon continued to be dependent on alewife despite their exceptionally low abundance. The goals of the present study are to investigate how predator-prey relationships have changed since the 2009-2011 study and to determine spatial patterns and temporal trends in diet composition. We hypothesize that a) consumption of round goby will have increased for native predators, b) consumption of bloaters will have increased for all predator species, c) Chinook salmon will continue to be dependent on alewife, and d) diets will be heterogeneous across space and time. This data will give managers a more thorough understanding of predator-prey interactions in Lake Huron, and will be used to update models used by managers to evaluate the sustainability of current predator levels and stocking strategies.

Monday January 28, 2019 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM A

2:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-01) Evaluating a Statewide Yellow Perch Regulation for Michigan
AUTHORS: David Clapp, MDNR, Charlevoix; Andrew Briggs, MDNR, Lake St. Clair; Randall Claramunt, MDNR, Lake Huron; David Fielder, MDNR, Alpena; Troy Zorn, MDNR, Marquette

ABSTRACT: Michigan DNR recently evaluated a revised statewide bag limit for yellow perch using creel survey data, fisheries independent assessments,  and social survey data. We will present an overview of this evaluation, highlighting the advantages and limitations of each of these data sources. This review resulted in a recommendation for regulation change in Michigan, but also resulted in development of a template that can be used in future regulation evaluations for species other than yellow perch. 

Monday January 28, 2019 2:40pm - 3:00pm EST
HOPE BALLROOM A

2:40pm EST

(CANCELLED) (SYMPOSIA-04) Reevaluation of Wild Juvenile Lake Trout Spatial Distribution and Diets in Lake Huron (2008 - 2017)
AUTHORS: Taaja R. Tucker, University of Toledo; Edward F. Roseman, Stephen C. Riley, Timothy P. O’Brien, Darryl W. Hondorp, Dustin A. Bowser, Scott A. Jackson – US Geological Survey

ABSTRACT: Rehabilitation efforts of lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) in Lake Huron have resulted in increased recruitment and capture of young wild lake trout in annual bottom trawl surveys conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey. To better understand the spatial distribution and food habits of wild juvenile lake trout, we performed diet analyses on 311 of 343 fish captured in bottom trawls at six ports in Lake Huron during October/November 2008–2017. Lake trout ranged in size from 27 to 371 mm, representing approximately three age classes. Most of the fish (83%) were captured at 46–64 m depths at the two northernmost ports, typically below the thermocline. Mysis diluviana was the most prevalent diet item, found in 222 of 299 fish with non-empty stomachs (74%), followed by Bythotrephes longimanus (31%), and round goby (Neogobius melanostomus; 11%). Young-of-year lake trout (Mysis and Daphnia, while larger lake trout converted to mostly fish-based diets at age 2+. Compared to a previous diet analysis of young Lake Huron lake trout from 2004–2006, fish in the current study consumed more unique prey items (12 vs. 6) and fish species, although many of the lake trout in the current study were larger than those analyzed in the past (74–120 mm). While the variety of taxa consumed by young lake trout has increased since the last study period, the most commonly observed prey items after Mysis were nonnative taxa. Mysis remain an important early food for lake trout in Lake Huron.

Monday January 28, 2019 2:40pm - 3:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM A

2:40pm EST

(WILDLIFE: WATERFOWL) Stepping down a Regional Waterfowl and Wetlands Conservation Decision Support Tool
AUTHORS: Matthew D. Palumbo, Jacob N. Straub – University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

ABSTRACT: The goals of the 2012 North American Waterfowl Management Plan target a combination of biological and social objectives that are prioritized regionally through Joint Venture (JV) partnerships. The Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes (UMRGLR) JV developed a decision support tool (DST) to assist in implementing these objectives. The DST is based on six spatially explicit model-based maps, each representing a biological or social objective weighted by input from regional decision makers. The DST depicts areas of relative value to meet the combined six objectives and therefore identifies areas for regional managers to target conservation for waterfowl and people. In 1992 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources developed their own state-based conservation plan to achieve waterfowl population and habitat objectives.  This ‘WI Plan’ was based on a spatial hierarchy of priority regions, areas, and townships that were delineated from estimated waterfowl densities and habitat, geo-political boundaries, and expert opinion. Since 1992 managers have been working to implement conservation practices based on this system. However much has changed since this time thus, our objective was to revise the 92 WI Plan and provide an updated spatially-explicit tool to drive waterfowl habitat conservation efforts in the upcoming decades. Using the framework of UMRGLR JV, we developed six updated model-based maps representing waterfowl and human objectives specific to Wisconsin.  These maps have allowed WI conservation managers to visualize how conservation practices would be prioritized under various ranks of biological and social values. The WI DST will assist state managers with redistributing priority regions based on eco-physiographic boundaries and quantitative ranking based on the underlying biological and social data of the tool. The DST of UMRGL JV and WI demonstrate the value of incorporating spatio-temporal variation of biological and social data for conservation managers to prioritize practices.

Monday January 28, 2019 2:40pm - 3:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM D

3:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-04) Diet Complexity of Lake Michigan Salmonids
AUTHORS: Benjamin Leonhardt, Purdue University; Benjamin Turschak, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Austin Happel, Colorado State University; Sergiusz Czesny, University of Illinois, Illinois Natural History Survey; Harvey Boostma, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Jacques Rinchard, SUNY-Brockport; Matt Kornis, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Charles Bronte, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Tomas Höök, Purdue University, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant

ABSTRACT: Documenting trophic relationships in aquatic ecosystems can facilitate understanding of not only system processes, but also the potential responses of food webs to stressors.  In Lake Michigan, the introduction of invasive species (e.g., zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha; quagga mussel, Dreissena bugensis; round goby, Neogobius melanostomus) and reduced nutrient loading has resulted in changes in nutrient dynamics and community composition over the past two decades. As a result, abundances of many forage fish have declined, including alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) which have historically supported the five dominant salmonid species of Lake Michigan (brown trout, Salmo trutta; Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha; Coho salmon, Oncorhynchus kisutch; lake trout, Salvelinus namaycush; rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss). With these ecosystem changes, there is uncertainty as to the extent of how different species of salmonids will transition to alternative prey items (e.g., round goby). We investigated the diet complexity of Lake Michigan salmonids by evaluating stomach content composition, diet diversity, and lengths of alewife consumed. Stomachs collected in 2015 and 2016 in Lake Michigan revealed that Chinook salmon almost exclusively consumed alewife and had a lower diet diversity compared to the other four species, which consumed round goby (brown trout and lake trout), aquatic invertebrates (Coho salmon), and terrestrial invertebrates (rainbow trout) in addition to alewife. Additionally, salmonid species appeared to consume the entire size range of alewife that were available to them despite year to year changes in alewife length availability. Due to their reliance on alewife, it is likely that Chinook salmon may be more negatively impacted than other salmonid species if patterns of alewife decline continue in Lake Michigan.

Monday January 28, 2019 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM A

3:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-01) Opening Lake Erie's Spring Bass Season: Standard Assessments Inform Increased Opportunities for Anglers
AUTHORS: Zak J. Slagle, Travis Hartman – Ohio Division of Wildlife

ABSTRACT: Ohio anglers have historically fished heavily for black bass, leading to record levels of angler effort and harvest in the late 1990’s. Additionally, missing year classes of bass, invasion of non-native nest predators (Round Goby), and resurgence in possible avian predators (Double-crested Cormorant) were all seen as threats to the bass population through the early 2000’s. Ohio Division of Wildlife also lacked yearly surveys of black basses, complicating fishery management decisions. ODW responded by increasing restrictions on bag limits and minimum sizes for black bass harvest; the 14 inch, 5 fish bag limit that currently stands was created in 2000. A seasonal catch-and-release only regulation was added in 2004 to further reduce harvest after the 2000 regulations failed to sufficiently improve size structure. Since then, the increase of catch-and-release ethics have dramatically reduced harvest during the open season, and ODW has added yearly surveys that allow fisheries managers to better evaluate population trends. Ohio’s Lake Erie black bass populations are unlikely to be negatively impacted by newly introduced relaxed regulations (i.e., changing the seasonal closure to a one fish possession, 18 inch minimum size limit). Black bass harvest during the spawning season is unlikely to increase substantially with these regulation changes. However, current levels of bass fishing effort are near historical lows, and liberalization of regulations will allow additional fishing opportunities. The new regulations should expand angler opportunities and allow anglers to keep and weigh in a potential state record fish while conserving the bass population for generations to come.

Monday January 28, 2019 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST
HOPE BALLROOM A

3:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-04) Diet and Niche Overlap of Lake Michigan Piscivorous Fishes as Revealed by Stable Isotopes
AUTHORS: Ben Turschak, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Harvey Bootma, UW-Milwaukee; Chuck Bronte, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Sergiusz Czesny, University of Illinois; Tomas Hook, Purdue; Matt Kornis, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Ben Leonhardt, Purdue; Jacques Rinchard, SUNY-Brockport

ABSTRACT: In the past several decades, the Lake Michigan ecosystem has experienced significant changes at all levels of the food web including major declines in pelagic forage fish biomass. To some degree, loss of pelagic forage has been offset by the invasion of the benthic Round Goby. Several piscivorous species including Lake Trout, Brown Trout, and Burbot have taken advantage of this novel prey source while others such as Chinook and Coho Salmon continue to rely on Alewives and other pelagic forage.  We explored the trophic structure, diet, and potential for niche overlap of Lake Michigan piscivores from 2014-2016 using stable C and N isotopes. To estimate diet proportions among species, Bayesian mixing models were used. Region and year were used as fixed effects with total length as a continuous covariate. Isotopic niche overlap was assessed by fitting Bayesian ellipses to the data and measuring overlap among species. Regional and interannual variability in trophic structure and diet with corresponding changes in niche overlap were observed. Greatest niche overlap corresponded with dependence on Alewife whereas predators that took advantage of other prey sources including Round Goby, and terrestrial invertebrates exhibited lower probability of niche overlap. Degree of overlap also appeared to decrease corresponding to availability of alternative prey sources or reduced alewife abundance.

Monday January 28, 2019 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM A

4:00pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-04) Lake Trout: Not a Picky Eater. Dietary Flexibility and Perseverance
AUTHORS: Dan Traynor, Shawn Sitar – Michigan Department of Natural Resources Marquette Fisheries Research Station; Ji He, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Alpena Fisheries Research Station

ABSTRACT: Lake trout are the dominant piscivore in the upper Great Lakes and are a major focus in fisheries management.  Lake populations underwent catastrophic collapses in the middle of the 20th century but have recovered in Lake Superior due to diligent management actions.  Recently, lake trout recovery has improved in Lake Huron and there are indications that Lake Michigan may be following suit.  Although controls on fishing, sea lamprey suppression, and stocking of hatchery fish were instrumental in lake trout recovery, we pose that dietary flexibility also contributed to its success.  We analyzed the diet of a broad size range of lean and siscowet lake trout from spring and summer gill net surveys conducted in southern Lake Superior and western Lake Huron during 2005-2016.  In addition to categorizing prey items by taxa, we grouped prey items by habitat types to further describe dietary flexibility.  We found that lake trout diet compositions were diverse in both lakes Superior and Huron. Generally, the diet of leans and siscowets in Lake Superior were similar.  We observed ontogenetic diet shifts in both lean and siscowet lake trout with small fish feeding predominantly in the benthos expanding to the pelagic zone as fish grew larger.  Progress in lake trout recovery in Lake Huron coincides with collapses in alewife abundance and declines in Chinook Salmon populations.  We pose that lake trout success in rapidly changing ecosystems is partly due to its high dietary flexibility and declines in Great Lakes Chinook salmon are due to its strong reliance on pelagic prey such as alewife.

Monday January 28, 2019 4:00pm - 4:20pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM A

4:00pm EST

(FISHERIES: INVASIVE SPECIES 1) History and Issues in Controlling the Bighead and Silver Carps in the Mississippi Basin
AUTHORS: Maurice Sadowsky, President, MJSTI Corp.

ABSTRACT: The bighead and silver carps (combined bigheaded) are an alien invasive species that escaped from aquaculture around 1980.  About 35 years later an estimated 12 to 30 million fish inhabit about 6,400 miles of the Mississippi Basin.  Every year the fish expand their territory and or their bio-mass density on the margins of their habit.The paper uses literature and Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ACRCC) and other government reports to review the programs to control these fish.  The ACRCC funds three major efforts: barriers, education/early detection/enforcement and population control.  Each division will be reviewed.The paper will then discuss the realities of controlling the bigheaded carp.

Monday January 28, 2019 4:00pm - 4:20pm EST
HOPE BALLROOM C

4:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-05) Regulation of Single Turbines and Small-Scale Wind Facilities in Ohio
AUTHORS: Donald Bauman, Ken Mauer, Kimberly Kaufman – Black Swamp Bird Observatory

ABSTRACT: Current Ohio law is gravely deficient in providing any review of the biological resource impacts caused by the construction of single commercial-size wind turbines or small-scale multi-turbine wind farms.  This oversight is especially problematic when such turbines are constructed in environmentally sensitive areas, such as the southern shore of Lake Erie and the major migratory flyways associated with the Lake.  As pressure for renewable energy increases it is likely that exploitation of this large regulatory deficiency will increasingly be utilized to the detriment of Ohio’s public trust biological resources.  As such projects are often not publicized in advance of construction and it is very difficult to raise concerns about them in a meaningful way, a systematic means of controlling such wind turbine projects appeared to be necessary.  Accordingly, the Black Swamp Bird Observatory and its Conservation Committee have developed proposed legislation which would provide a mandatory, scientifically-based review process to be implemented in defined geographic areas for construction of commercial-size wind turbines falling below the current 5MW Ohio Power Siting Board review threshold.  Favorable reaction to the proposal has been received from interested legislators and key Ohio government agencies.

Monday January 28, 2019 4:20pm - 4:40pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM C/D

4:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-01) A Portfolio Approach to Integrated Assessment and Research Can Provide a Larger Context for the Successful Evaluation of Fisheries Harvest Regulations
AUTHORS: Martha E. Mather, U. S. Geological Survey, Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Division of Biology, Kansas State University; John M. Dettmers, Great Lakes Fishery Commission; Roy A. Stein, Aquatic Ecology Laboratory, The Ohio State University; Donna L. Parrish, U.S. Geological Survey, Vermont Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Vermont; David Glover, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT: Harvest regulations are essential tools that fisheries managers use to alter fish populations and achieve angler satisfaction. Evaluation of regulations is essential but evaluating all regulations for all species in all systems across multiple time periods is not logistically feasible. Thus, a strategic plan that identifies what regulations need to be evaluated where, when, and how can assist effective decision-making. Specifically, an integrated framework of assessment and research (i.e., the portfolio approach) can provide a larger context in which to design, implement, and interpret harvest regulation evaluations. Using examples, we illustrate this multi-step approach. First, a shared vision for individual fisheries (species, system, individual population, goal) that is jointly created by a collaborative group of researchers and managers is essential. Second, using a series of linked questions, objectives, and goals, the collaborative team can conceptualize (a) desired outcomes of specific harvest regulations given population characteristics, (b) challenges to achieving those outcomes, and (c) data needed to differentiate among population responses to regulations. Third, by applying a portfolio of interacting data types (e.g., assessment, applied research, basic science, synthesis), researchers and managers can operationalize a pathway to achieve the desired angler outcome given existing population conditions. Fourth, by using rigorous scientific principles, the team can improve all aspects of assessment and research. Specifically, a strategic plan that considers multiple starting population conditions, a range of harvest regulations, and different angler outcomes can integrate all assessment and research data to better inform management decisions. Fifth, adhering to a set of agreed-upon, regularly-evaluated 10-year goals allows fisheries professionals to track progress and plan next steps. Although agencies face different challenges across species, systems, and populations, all can advance successful science-based management by utilizing components of this portfolio approach for harvest regulation evaluation.

Monday January 28, 2019 4:40pm - 5:00pm EST
HOPE BALLROOM A

4:40pm EST

(CANCELLED) (SYMPOSIA-04) Density and Biomass of Drifting Macroinvertebrates in the Upper St. Marys River: A Comparison of the Power Canal and Main Rapids
AUTHORS: Tristan Tackman (Student); Dr. Ashely Moerke (Professor/Undergraduate Advisor); Jake Larsen (Graduate) – School of Natural Resources and Environment, Lake Superior State University

ABSTRACT: The St. Marys River is the only outflow of Lake Superior and feeds both Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. The river itself rears a majority of these lakes’ sports fishes by providing ample spawning grounds; these young fish rely on small macroinvertebrates for most of their growth in early years. The objective of this study was to quantify and compare the supply of drifting invertebrates from the main rapids and the hydropower canal in an effort to understand key food sources available for fishes in the river.  To do so, two larval drift nets were set overnight in the rapids and canal to collect drifting invertebrates during the months of May and June 2016.  For each date biomass was calculated asash free dry weight and density was calculated as number of invertebrates per 100m<sup>3</sup>. Densities were the highest for Hydropsychidae and Mysidae at both sites, andcomprised 18% (the remanding 82% being non-dominant taxa) and 9.5% in the rapids and 26.7% and 8.9% in the canal site. Although Mysidaedensities were higher than other taxa, Hydropsychidae contributed more biomass to the system in both sites during May and June of 2016. Additionally, total drift densities were 2.4 times higher in the canal site than the rapids, suggesting that the canal is a better source of invertebrates to the St. Marys River. The canal is likely drawing water from more offshore areas in Lake Superior, which may explain the higher numbers of drifting Mysids in the canal site compared to the rapids.

Monday January 28, 2019 4:40pm - 5:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM A

4:40pm EST

(FISHERIES: INVASIVE SPECIES 1) Selective, Safe and Low Cost Piscicide
AUTHORS: Maurice Sadowsky, President, MJSTI Corp.

ABSTRACT: MJSTI proved a selective, safe and low-cost fish pesticide with the goal of controlling the bighead and silver carps (bigheaded carps).  The technology and experiments will be discussed and compared to the USGS antimycin A/beeswax formulation (with patent lawyers’ approval).  The US patent should be submitted in 2018.  The formulation is selective as a digestive poison.  It is safe using FDA additives.  The average raw material cost is 1/12 to 1/30<sup>th</sup> of MJSTI’s estimated USGS antimycin A/beeswax raw material cost.  The EPA registration should be for a new formulation since the component chemicals are all EPA registered pesticide ingredients.  The technology has application for other fish including common carp and potentially grass carp.

Monday January 28, 2019 4:40pm - 5:00pm EST
HOPE BALLROOM C
 
Tuesday, January 29
 

10:20am EST

(SYMPOSIA-08) Wetland Habitat and Bird Population Changes over Time: the Dynamics of Coastal Wetlands
AUTHORS: John Simpson, Winous Point Marsh Conservancy

ABSTRACT: The lower Great Lakes region has experienced one of the greatest rates of wetland loss in North America. The remaining coastal wetlands, though naturally resilient and dynamic, are subjected to a wide variety of anthropogenic stressors, and losses in both quantity and quality continue. Using western Lake Erie as an example, we can trace changes in wetland habitat and losses since European settlement through a variety of historical records, including changes in wetland-bird, plant abundances and assemblages, and waterfowl populations. While the Great Lakes wetlands remain still under threat, many groups are attempting to restore and protect wetlands throughout the basin and great interest is currently being placed on the role wetlands could possibly have in reducing and mitigating harmful algal blooms that are occurring throughout the lower Great Lakes system.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 10:20am - 10:40am EST
HOPE BALLROOM B

10:20am EST

(FISHERIES: GREAT LAKES 2) Evaluating the Influence of Past and Current Environments on Lake Erie Walleye Growth Rates
AUTHORS: L. Zoe Almeida, Ohio State University; Matthew D. Faust, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife; Stuart A. Ludsin, Ohio State University; Elizabeth A. Marschall, Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: Growth rates of animals are often assumed to be a response to recent environmental conditions; however, there is increasing evidence from numerous organisms that growth in one year may also be reflective of environmental conditions experienced earlier in life. Therefore, large-scale stressors, such as eutrophication and climate change may affect individuals immediately and latently, which is rarely considered in the management of exploited populations. Herein, we examined the factors that may influence growth rates of Lake Erie walleye (Sander vitreus), a system exposed to eutrophication and climate change. We used data from annual fall gillnet surveys (1978-2015) to characterize median size-at-age of individual annual cohorts in response to changes in physical conditions (e.g., temperature) and the food web (e.g., prey availability) during early life (= age-2), which may have arisen due to eutrophication and climate change (i.e., warming and increased precipitation). We hypothesized that environmental conditions in the current year, growth rates during early-life (as a reflection of early-life environmental conditions), and growth rates in the previous year (as a reflection of recent growth) would affect age-specific annual growth rates. We performed preliminary linear mixed model analyses with the median size within cohorts at age-2 representing early life growth, median growth rate in the previous year, and annual average temperatures. Using a model selection approach, no combination of these factors was better able to predict growth rates than the null model. However, we still need to test for effects of age-0 growth on growth rates later in life and for other environmental effects on growth, including annual cumulative degree days, prey-fish availability, and walleye population size. Our analyses will assist Lake Erie fisheries managers by assessing the relative importance of early-life versus contemporary growth conditions on recent growth performance.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 10:20am - 10:40am EST
CENTER STREET ROOM A

11:00am EST

(SYMPOSIA-08) Synthesizing the Science to Support Management of Invasive Plants
AUTHORS: Kurt P. Kowalski, U.S. Geological Survey

ABSTRACT: The invasion of non-native wetland plants is one of the many stressors degrading Lake Erie and surrounding watersheds. Once established, invasive plants often outcompete native plants, impair fish and wildlife habitat, degrade recreational opportunities, increase fire hazard, and reduce property values. Resource managers and regional funding agencies (e.g., the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative) invest a significant amount of resources to address this high priority issue. However, the conventional approaches to invasive plant management (e.g., herbicide, cutting, burning, flooding) often only provide temporary control, are difficult to maintain at the landscape scale, and are not species specific. Efforts to collaborate on a local scale (e.g., Cooperative Weed Management Areas) and at the basin-wide scale (e.g., Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative, Phragmites Adaptive Management Framework) are maximizing the impact of investments, but additional management options are desired by resource managers. Phragmites australis, Typha spp., Butomus umbellatus, Phalaris arundinacea, Hydrocharis morsus-ranae, Hydrilla verticillata, and Myriophyllum spicatum are just a few of the many non-native plant species found in Lake Erie coastal habitats. Although all of these species are being managed at some level, a few widespread species (e.g., Phragmites) are very visible, of great concern to private and public landowners, and targeted for intensive research efforts into new management approaches that can be adapted to the other species. For example, recent advances have revealed the extensive suite of microbes (e.g., bacteria, fungi) that live symbiotically in and around non-native Phragmites. The relationship between microbes and the plant can enhance the plant’s ability to outcompete native plants and is a target for new control approaches (e.g., disrupting important mutualisms). Ongoing research focused on Phragmites is laying the groundwork for application to other undesirable non-native plants and enhancing the growth of desirable native or crop species.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 11:00am - 11:20am EST
HOPE BALLROOM B

11:20am EST

(FISHERIES: GREAT LAKES 2) Smallmouth Bass Population Characteristics in Chequamegon Bay, Lake Superior Under a Unique 22-inch Size Limit
AUTHORS: Dray Carl, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Minimum length limits are the most commonly used regulation for protecting, enhancing, or manipulating black bass recreational fisheries, and most limits are generally set at appropriate lengths to provide harvest opportunities of larger individuals. However, in 1994, growth overfishing and angler outcry led fishery managers from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) to enact a 22-inch (559-mm) minimum size restriction on Smallmouth Bass in Wisconsin waters of Lake Superior. This regulation has essentially created a complete catch-and-release fishery for Smallmouth Bass, as no bass greater than 559 mm have been sampled in the field or observed in creel surveys during the 24-year period. Within Wisconsin waters of Lake Superior, Smallmouth Bass are largely localized to Chequamegon Bay, a 13,750-ha shallow (mean depth 8.5-m) embayment adjacent the Apostle Islands. I used time series data from standardized gillnet samples (3600’, graded mesh) and annual hook-and-line sampling to evaluate trends in population dynamics before and after the regulation change. I also evaluated Smallmouth Bass seasonal movement patterns in Chequamegon Bay using floy tag recapture histories. Immediately following the regulation, Smallmouth Bass size structure and abundance increased dramatically, presumably due to a large decrease in mortality. Overall, annual mortality is now 2.5 times lower than before the regulation change. However, growth remained constant throughout the time series data, suggesting adequate resources to support increased abundance of Smallmouth Bass in Chequamegon Bay. Results from this study provide an example of Smallmouth Bass population dynamic rates from a population suited for a “trophy” minimum length limit, information for adaptive management of Smallmouth Bass in northern climates, and numerous new questions for additional research. Potential community-level effects of increased Smallmouth Bass abundance in combination with an overall warming Lake Superior should be investigated.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 11:20am - 11:40am EST
CENTER STREET ROOM A

11:40am EST

(CANCELLED) (SYMPOSIA-07) Spawning Site Contribution and Movements of Lake Whitefish in Northwestern Lake Michigan
AUTHORS: Daniel Isermann, U.S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit; Tom Binder, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University-Hammond Bay Biological Station; Scott Hansen, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; David Caroffino, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Daniel Dembkowski, Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit; Charles Krueger, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University; Christopher Vandergoot, U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center, Lake Erie Biological Station; Wesley Larson, U.S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit

ABSTRACT: Lake whitefish support important commercial and recreational fisheries on Lake Michigan, with the northern third of the lake supporting the majority of harvest. Previous genetic analyses indicated lake whitefish harvest in northwest Lake Michigan was largely supported (˜ 75%) by fish assigned to Big Bay de Noc (BBDN) and North and Moonlight bays (NMB) genetic stocks. Previous tagging suggested the BBDN stock spawned on reefs within BBDN and were usually recovered by the fishery in Green Bay north of Chambers Island or along the lake side of the Door Peninsula. Most fish from the NMB stock were thought to spawn on reefs along the lake side of Door Peninsula and the majority of tags were recovered along both sides of the Door Peninsula. While these previous studies suggested lake whitefish show relatively high spawning site fidelity, determining whether these two stocks are functionally discrete remains an important question for fishery managers. Additionally, lake whitefish assigning to multiple stocks now spawn in tributaries to Green Bay (primarily the Fox and Menominee rivers) where spawning had not been observed for nearly a century; the movements of these fish are largely unknown. We implanted acoustic transmitters in 400 lake whitefish at four different spawning locations (BBDN, NMB, Fox and Menominee rivers) during November 2017. Use of acoustic telemetry coupled with genomics will allow us to test current understanding of lake whitefish stock structure and describe stock-specific movements and spatial distribution relative to fishing effort. We will present preliminary results from the first year of our assessment.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
HOPE BALLROOM A

11:40am EST

(FISHERIES: GREAT LAKES 2) Changes in Great Lakes Forage Species Abundance and Composition: 25 Years of Trawling on Lake St. Clair
AUTHORS: Jan-Michael Hessenauer, Andrew Briggs, Brad Utrup, Todd Wills – Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: The Laurentian Great Lakes have experienced substantial ecological change over the past 25 years in response to the invasion of non-native species, changes in nutrient fluxes, habitat degradation, and restoration initiatives.  Long term datasets provide a valuable tool to assess the scale of broad ecological change and make predictions about future change in response to perturbation.  The Michigan Department of Natural Resources Lake St. Clair Fisheries Research Station conducts annual spring trawl surveys on Lake St. Clair, using an 8.4 m headrope otter trawl with 0.95 cm codmesh. This survey is part of a continuous monitoring program occurring since 1993 with the goal of assessing the status of the lakes forage fish community and corresponds with the establishment and dominance of dreissenid mussels (first detected in 1986) and Round Goby Neogobius melanostomus (first detected in 1990).  Each spring an index site is trawled for three 10-minute tows.  Captured fish for each tow are graded through a 3.2 cm sorting mesh to separate forage sized individuals from the rest of the catch.  Forage was identified, counted and weighed, and a subset of up to 150 individuals per species were measured for total length to generate length frequency data.  Using these data, we calculated indices of abundance and diversity for the forage fish community and compare trends in these data over the time series.  These data provide useful management benchmarks against which the response to ecological perturbations have on the forage fish community of the Great Lakes.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM A

1:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-08) Waterfowl Ecology and Management in the Lower Great Lakes
AUTHORS: Matthew Palumbo, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; Jacob Straub, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, David Luukkonen, Michigan State University; John Coluccy, Ducks Unlimited

ABSTRACT: Abstract: Applied scientific research has been an underpinning of sound waterfowl and wetland conservation for decades. The Lower Great Lakes (LGL), especially wetland and adjacent upland habitats near Lakes Erie, St. Clair, and Ontario, were historically and remain a critical region for waterfowl of the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways. In fact, hundreds of thousands of waterfowl use this landscape as their primary breeding location and millions use the resources of the region during migration between breeding and wintering areas. Waterfowl managers and researchers in the LGL have strong partnerships and have largely focused efforts in this region on studies that improve understanding of the overall ecology of the species and how management actions can influence these birds. Specifically, the LGL have been the home to seminal studies on waterfowl bioenergetic modeling during spring migration, habitat use and movement for key focal species (e.g., mallards), monitoring and evaluation of diving sea duck distributions on the Great Lakes, studying the potential limiting factors for Great Lakes mallard populations, and influence of weather, wetland availability, and mallard abundance on productivity of Great Lakes mallards. Importantly, these studies have critical linkages to management which have serviced wetlands conservation. Our objective is to synthesize recent research that has improved our understanding of waterfowl ecology and habitat management in the region. Additionally, we will identify future research needs and information gaps to expand waterfowl conservation in the LGL.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
HOPE BALLROOM B

1:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-13) Connecting Communities to Applied Science Across the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network
AUTHORS: Chiara Zuccarino-Crowe, Michigan Sea Grant

ABSTRACT: The Great Lakes Sea Grant Network plays a central role in supplying partners and communities with applied solutions and the science-based information needed to better understand, manage and conserve Great Lakes resources. Operating across eight Sea Grant programs, the network focuses on healthy coastal ecosystems, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, resilient communities and economies, and environmental literacy. Sea Grant’s unique partnerships between state universities and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) allows for collaborative programming that resonates with a diverse suite of stakeholders. This overview will serve as an introduction to the regional network, demonstrate connection mechanisms, and inspire innovative partnerships to better serve end users of Great Lakes science.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM C/D

1:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-07) Acoustic Telemetry and Management of Behaviorally Diverse Lake Sturgeon in the Huron-Erie Corridor
AUTHORS: Scott Colborne, Michigan State University; Darryl Hondorp, US Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center; Charles Krueger, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: Effective management of fishes requires basic understanding of species movements and habitat use at biologically relevant spatial and temporal scales. Conceptualizing the spatial ecology of sturgeon species has proven challenging due to life history characteristics of these species such as long-life, intermittent spawning, and long-distance movements. Through the use of acoustic telemetry individuals can be tracked in aquatic environments over extended time periods and spatial distributions to document broad-scale patterns of habitat use and temporal variation across seasons and years. Within the Huron-Erie Corridor (HEC) of the Great Lakes, the habitat use of 283 Lake Sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens has been monitored 2011-2018 with 10-year tags (V16, Vemco Ltd.). The extensive spatial coverage of acoustic receivers in the HEC has made it possible to document movement patterns of adult lake sturgeon across multiple years to examine seasonal patterns of habitat use and movement between multiple habitat types within the region. Lake sturgeon were present throughout all riverine and lacustrine areas of the HEC but showed preference for Lake St. Clair over either Lake Huron or Lake Erie. In addition, movements differed between fish tagged in the St. Clair River vs. Detroit River from their Lake St. Clair overwintering areas just prior to the spring spawning period. Lake sturgeon activity within sections of both the Detroit and St. Clair rivers extended beyond the spawning period and included overwinter residence of some individuals. This research directly contributes to ongoing lake sturgeon management efforts in the HEC for sustainable populations, but also furthers knowledge about the general movement ecology of sturgeon applicable to populations in other regions.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
HOPE BALLROOM A

1:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-08) Recent Advancements in Our Understanding of Secretive Marshbirds in the Lower Great Lakes
AUTHORS: Brendan Shirkey, WInous Point Marsh Conservancy, Doug Tozier, Bird Studies Canada, Mike Monfils, Michigan Natural Features Inventory

ABSTRACT: Historically, wetland research and management in the lower Great Lakes region has focused on waterfowl given the vested human interest and continental significance of the area as migratory stopover habitat. Recently, additional research focused on secretive marshbirds (e.g., king rails, yellow rails, Virginia rails, sora, least bitterns and American bitters) has gained momentum. Unlike waterfowl populations that are at historically high levels, many secretive marshbird species have experienced significant population decline in the past several decades. However, due to the extremely limited amount of research and secretive nature of many of these bird species, population trend data is lacking and any understanding of habitat associations that might be causing population declines is nonexistent. Many state and federal agencies as well as NGO’s have begun to work collaboratively throughout the Great Lakes region to monitor secretive marshbird populations to fill some of these knowledge gaps. The objectives of this presentation are to: 1) summarize historical marshbird research in the region, 2) highlight recent research that has improved our understanding of secretive marshbirds in the region, and 3) identify future research and information needed to improve our conservation of secretive marshbirds in the lower Great Lakes region. We hope that a continued to effort to understand the life history and habitat associations of secretive marshbirds will ultimately lead to improved habitat management with the potential to benefit waterfowl and simultaneously other wetland-dependent birds and wildlife, including secretive marshbirds.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
HOPE BALLROOM B

1:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-13) Strengthening Ohio’s Lake Erie Fisheries Through Research, Education, and Extension
AUTHORS: Tory Gabriel, Kristen Fussell – The Ohio Sea Grant College Program and Stone Laboratory

ABSTRACT: Ohio Sea Grant and the Ohio State University’s Stone Laboratory engage stakeholders and inform fisheries managers through research, education, and extension; often serving as a liaison between groups. This presentation will emphasize recent programs that have informed fisheries research and conservation, with a particular focus on programs carried out in partnership with resource managers. Ohio Sea Grant funded research and external grants secured by staff frequently focus on Lake Erie’s valuable fishery. Recent examples include examining Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) toxins in fish tissue and the effects of HAB turbidity on fish vision. Stone Laboratory serves as a base for research, but also the heart of our education program. Relevant courses and workshops include AIS-HACCP, Fish Sampling Techniques, and Lake Erie Sport Fishing. The Aquatic Visitors Center at Stone Laboratory, which is a former Ohio Division of Wildlife fish hatchery, is currently run as an education center by Ohio Sea Grant interacting with over 10,000 visitors each summer. Five Extension Educators, along with communicators and other staff, work with a variety of stakeholders and resource managers through various outreach and engagement programs. Examples include the annual Ohio Charter Captains Conference as well as a recent Lake Erie Sport Fish Summit, both carried out in partnership with Ohio Division of Wildlife fisheries managers. Through research, education, and extension, Ohio Sea Grant plays an important role in informing and connecting stakeholders and managers, helping to strengthen Ohio’s Lake Erie fisheries.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM C/D

2:00pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-08) Ecology and Management of Fall and Spring Migrating Shorebirds in the Western Basin of Lake Erie
AUTHORS: Robert J. Gates, Ohio State University School of Environment and Natural Resources; Mark Shieldcastle, Black Swamp Bird Observatory; David Ewert, American Bird Conservancy; Keith Norris, The Wildlife Society; Tara Baranowski, The Nature Conservancy in Ohio

ABSTRACT: The Lake Erie Marsh region, long recognized as a continentally significant migratory crossroad for waterfowl and other migratory birds with a rich tradition of waterfowl hunting was recognized as a regionally significant migration staging area by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN).  Nomination as a WHSRN site was based on counts of 38 shorebird species with minimum known numbers >100,000 birds, compiled from standardized surveys by Black Swamp Bird Observatory during 1993-1999.  Repeated surveys of random plots during springs and autumns 2002-2003 revealed shorebird populations that exceeded 100,000 birds on and near just two major marsh complexes (Winous Point Marsh Conservancy and Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge - Magee Marsh Wildlife Area) in the Lake Erie marsh region.   Shorebird habitats in the region principally comprise managed impoundments where water levels are manipulated to produce food and cover for waterfowl and create hunting opportunity.  Managed marshes were the mainstay for shorebirds during autumn and spring migration in 2002-2003, although estuaries attracted large numbers during seiche events.  Surrounding crop fields were used sporadically after precipitation events in spring but were generally too vegetated to attract shorebirds in autumn.  Four shorebird species gained 0.28–1.49 g body mass/day with invertebrate biomass densities that ranged from 3.7–12.1 kg/ha during fall migration 2006-2013.  Estimated stopover durations were 12-16 days.  The Lake Erie marsh region likely merits WHSRN status as an internationally important shorebird area.  Results from our studies are used to inform habitat conservation planning and management by state and federal agencies and NGOs in the region.  We discuss gaps in our knowledge of migrating shorebirds in the region, including spring vs. fall habitat limitation and energetic carrying capacities of cover types used by migrating shorebirds.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
HOPE BALLROOM B

2:00pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-13) Conserving and Enhancing Pennsylvania’s Fisheries Through Conservation, Education, and Research
AUTHORS: Sean Rafferty, Pennsylvania Sea Grant College Program

ABSTRACT: The Pennsylvania Sea Grant College Program (PASG) strives to conserve and enhance Pennsylvania’s fisheries through extension, education, and research. Extension efforts focus on increasing recreational fishing access along streams in the Pennsylvania Lake Erie drainage through the implementation of the Pennsylvania Erie Access Improvement (EAI) program. Pennsylvania’s Lake Erie tributaries are highly prized for steelhead fishing for the recreational and economic benefits provided to the region. Through the EAI program, PASG has collaborated with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, to permanently conserve and provide public fishing access at 19 locations totaling 7.3 miles of Lake Erie tributary streams. Education efforts focus on providing kinesthetic learning opportunities for underserved youth through Project Fishing and Learning Youth (FLY). Project FLY introduces students in the Lake Erie and Delaware River watersheds to fly-tying techniques, fish identification, fish habitat, and fishing strategies for both fly-fishing and spin casting. Participants develop lifelong outdoor recreation skills and a greater sense of the importance of coastal stewardship. Through Project FLY, PASG has collaborated with the S.O.N.S of Lake Erie, to educate more than 2,800 students. Research efforts focus on understanding the health of fishes (e.g. intersex in smallmouth bass and young of year smallmouth bass mortality), the impact of invasive fishes on native fishes (e.g. flathead catfish), and the economic value of the Pennsylvania Lake Erie sport fishery. This presentation will provide an overview of the EAI program, Project FLY, and research projects PASG staff and collaborators are implementing to conserve and enhance Pennsylvania’s fisheries.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM C/D

2:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-07) Tracking the Movements and Interactions Among Salmonids in Lake Ontario
AUTHORS: Sarah Larocque, University of Windsor; Tim Johnson, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry; Dimitry Gorsky, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Jon Midwood, Fisheries and Oceans Canada; Aaron Fisk, University of Windsor

ABSTRACT: In Lake Ontario, five salmonid species are part of an economically important recreational fishery, with two native species undergoing bi-national restoration efforts. Understanding species distributions, movements, and habitat use can help management in maintaining a sustainable fishery as well as improve native species restoration. Thus, it is important to quantify the salmonid movements in relation to each other in Lake Ontario. Acoustic telemetry enables us to better understand the spatial habitat use of fish, particularly in large lakes where it is difficult to monitor. This endeavor is made possible through a large collaborative effort with academics and government on both sides of the border, unified by the Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observation System (GLATOS). In 2017, 40 individuals across five salmonid species have been tagged in western Lake Ontario, with an additional 50 individuals tagged in 2018. With the ever-expanding receiver array in the western and eastern basins, we are beginning to see lake-wide individual movements of some species, including Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Overall, telemetry data is informative on various levels including describing cross lake and overwintering movements which represents a gap in our understanding of Great Lakes salmonid ecology.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
HOPE BALLROOM A

2:20pm EST

(CANCELLED) (SYMPOSIA-08) Great Lakes Shorelines: Influence on Landbird Distribution
AUTHORS: David Ewert, American Bird Conservancy; Christopher Tonra, The Ohio State University; Tom Will, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT:  The importance of shoreline habitats to landbirds varies with latitude, shoreline substrate, and by season.  Metamorphic bluffs with high gradient bathymetry adjacent to boreal forest along Lake Superior provide strikingly different habitat than low gradient, silty shorelines bordered by deciduous forest and forested wetlands on or near Lake Erie shorelines.  In turn, these ecologically diverse landscapes result in different land-water interactions that influence how landbirds use shoreline habitat. During stationary periods of the annual cycle, breeding and wintering seasons, species characteristic of wetlands or beach and dune habitats may be relatively common near Great Lakes shorelines.   This includes breeding Bank Swallows and Prairie Warblers and wintering Snowy Owls.  Indirect effects of a relatively cool and moist nearshore microclimate also influence distribution and relative abundance of species such as the Northern Parula and Canada Warbler.Perhaps the best known use of shoreline habitat by landbirds is that of fall-out areas, especially for passerines, and as migratory corridors for raptors and diurnally migrating passerines that follow Great Lakes shorelines.  Additionally, during spring and fall migration at least some Great Lakes shorelines and islands provide important refugia, foraging, and molt-migration areas for landbirds.   Conservation efforts for landbirds focused on Great Lakes shorelines have primarily focused on ensuring suitable habitat for migrating landbirds.  This includes formation of the Midwest Migration Network, shoreline protection, habitat restoration near Great Lakes shorelines, lights-out programs, especially in major cities, use of bird-friendly glass, and posting of a Great Lakes migration portal that provides guidance for conservation of stopover sites near the Great Lakes. 

Tuesday January 29, 2019 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
HOPE BALLROOM B

2:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-13) New York Sea Grant and Great Lakes Fisheries: Past, Present, and Future
AUTHORS: Jesse Lepak, New York Sea Grant

ABSTRACT: New York Sea Grant (NY Sea Grant) has sought to protect, maintain, and enhance fisheries resources in the state of New York for almost 50 years. Through a combination of outreach, extension, and education, NY Sea Grant has communicated important messaging and information to recreational and commercial anglers, resource managers and policy makers, as well as coastal residents and business owners to help them make informed decisions. Another primary focus of NY Sea Grant is to support and facilitate research that contributes to addressing the needs of stakeholders. Support comes in many forms including funding from NY Sea Grant large and small grant programs, extension assistance and guidance from NY Sea Grant Extension Specialists, facilitation of synergistic interactions among researchers to enhance their individual work and its impact, connecting researchers and stakeholders to increase the applicability and value of research outcomes, developing networks of experts and communicators as well as other personnel to take research beyond publication to application, identifying funding opportunities and sometimes aiding in the development and execution of grant proposals with stakeholder groups, and much more. A broad overview will be provided describing previous and current NY Sea Grant activities and interests related to fish and fisheries in the Great Lakes. A case study describing a current NY Sea Grant program related to fisheries sustainability and ethics will also be presented with the objective of receiving useful feedback to increase the scope and relevance of the program. The presentation will end with some perspective on potential future initiatives and objectives for NY Sea Grant in the Great Lakes and possibilities for collaboration with other institutes and programs within the Great Lakes basin.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM C/D

2:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-13) Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant-Funded Research to Support the Lake Michigan Fishery
AUTHORS: Tomas O. Hook, Carolyn J. Foley, J. Stuart Carlton – Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, Purdue University

ABSTRACT: Southern Lake Michigan is home to a vibrant recreational fishery, where some of the most productive nursery habitats for key sport fishes are found along the heavily urbanized and industrialized Illinois and Indiana shorelines. Since the late 1990s, the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program (IISG) has funded a variety of original research projects intended to support this fishery as it faces stressors that result in ecological change. This talk will review the results of Sea Grant-funded projects that assess the impact of aquatic invasive species, changing lower food webs, and habitat connectivity for Lake Michigan fishes, as well as projects that estimate the value of the Lake Michigan recreational fishery to Illinois and Indiana coastal communities. We will review how Sea Grant research, communications, and outreach activities helped these projects find new audiences and new collaborators, and discuss how we were able to leverage Sea Grant-funded activities with broader efforts to understand the Lake Michigan fishery.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 2:40pm - 3:00pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM C/D

3:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-08) The Effect of Hydrological Restoration on Nutrient Concentrations and Macroinvertebrate Communities in Lake Erie Coastal Wetlands
AUTHORS: Elizabeth A. Berg, Lauren M. Pintor – Ohio State University, School of Environment & Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Growing concern over the occurrence of harmful algal blooms has prompted efforts to reconnect coastal wetlands to Lake Erie and its tributaries in order to restore ecosystem functions and provide biodiversity support. In particular, stakeholders have collaborated to hydrologically reconnect approximately 2,397 acres of protected, diked wetlands in Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge in an effort to reduce nutrient inputs from the Maumee Area of Concern and improve habitat for economically important fisheries and wildlife. However, hydrologic connection to Lake Erie and impaired tributaries within the watershed may expose biota in previously diked wetlands to new stressors such as nutrient enrichment and invasion of non-native species. Here we examined the effect of hydrologic reconnection of diked wetlands on nutrient concentrations and macroinvertebrate biodiversity. Specifically, our objectives were to: 1) compare phosphorous and nitrogen concentrations between diked and reconnected wetlands,  2) compare taxonomic and functional trait diversity of macroinvertebrates between diked and reconnected wetlands, and 3) examine the relationships between nutrients and macroinvertebrate communities. If the reconnection of coastal wetlands had an effect on nutrient levels and macroinvertebrate communities, we predicted that 1) nutrients and macroinvertebrates would differ in reconnected and diked wetlands, and 2) macroinvertebrate communities would be impaired in wetlands with higher nutrient concentrations. We found total nitrogen was lower in reconnected wetlands, but total phosphorus was similar in reconnected and diked wetlands. All macroinvertebrate taxonomic metrics and most functional metrics were similar in reconnected and diked wetlands. Nutrient concentration gradients and yearly nutrient fluctuation, rather than wetland restoration, drove shifts in macroinvertebrate community structure.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
HOPE BALLROOM B

3:20pm EST

(CANCELLED) (SYMPOSIA-11) Avoidance Behavior of Cold-, Cool-, and Warm-water Fish Species to Zequanox®, a Biopesticide for Dreissenid Mussel Control
AUTHORS: Matthew T. Barbour, James A. Luoma, Todd J. Severson, Jeremy K. Wise – US Geological Survey

ABSTRACT: Zequanox® is an EPA-registered molluscicide for controlling populations of dreissenid mussels (zebra and quagga mussels). Zequanox® has demonstrated selective toxicity to dreissenid mussels. However, recent research indicates Zequanox can impact body condition and even cause mortality in non-target species.  We assessed the avoidance behavior of two species each of cold-, cool-, and warm-water fish (lake trout, brook trout, lake sturgeon, yellow perch, and fathead minnow) to Zequanox® at the maximum concentration allowed by the product label (100 mg A.I./L).  Naïve, juvenile fish were individually (n = 30) observed in a two-current choice tank through which treated and untreated water flowed simultaneously on either side.  Each individual fish was observed during a control period (20 min) with no treatment and two treatment periods (20 min each) between which the treated side was alternated to eliminate bias.  Positional data was collected and tabulated in real time with EthoVision® XT software.  Zequanox® concentrations and water quality (pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and specific conductance) were monitored during each trial.  Results from this research will help inform resource managers of the likelihood of fish to avoid Zequanox® treated areas, thereby assisting in the establishment of treatment-related risk assessments.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM A

3:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-13) Fisheries Extension in Southern Lake Michigan
AUTHORS: Mitchell Zischke, Jay Beugly, Leslie Dorworth, Carolyn Foley – Purdue University, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant

ABSTRACT: Southern Lake Michigan is a complex ecosystem that supports highly valuable recreational fisheries. Located in one of the most heavily populated areas of the Great Lakes, these fisheries experience unique environmental, economic and social challenges. To meet these challenges, Purdue Extension and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) builds relationships among stakeholders to enable education, assessment and effaceable management of fisheries resources. Recreational fisheries extension includes hosting biannual workshops where scientists and managers present important updates and new research on key issues to anglers and other attendees. IISG also produces educational publications on complex issues such as food web dynamics, and develops interactive websites such as anglerarchive.org, fishatlas.org, and iiseagrant.org/tourism. Purdue and IISG deploy and manage two weather buoys that provide real-time data for lake users to determine safe boating and optimal fishing conditions. These buoys are supported by an easy-to-use website and an innovative Twitter account @TwoYellowBuoys. This presentation will summarize the extension and outreach program for anglers and other lake users in southern Lake Michigan and seek discussion on challenges and potential innovations for programs around the Great Lakes.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
VETERANS MEETING ROOM C/D

3:20pm EST

(FISHERIES: INVASIVE SPECIES 2) Spawning Chronology and Environmental Factors Associated with Grass Carp Reproduction in the Sandusky River
AUTHORS: Nicole R. King, University of Toledo Lake Erie Center; Madeline G. Tomczak, University of Toledo; Patrick M. Kocovsky, US Geological Survey; Christine M. Mayer, University of Toledo Lake Erie Center; Song S. Qian, University of Toledo Lake Erie Center

ABSTRACT: Invasive grass carp have been documented in the Great Lakes since 1975. Although occasional individuals have been captured, it was assumed that most were sterile escapees from stocked ponds. However, spawning was documented in the Great Lakes in 2015 with the collection of eight eggs from the Sandusky River, Ohio, a Lake Erie tributary. In 2016 no eggs were found despite extensive effort, likely because no high discharge events occurred, and grass carp, like some other non-native carps, spawn during high flows. Monitoring continued in 2017 with increased sampling effort including the addition of a second net and adaptive sampling after egg detection to follow the spatial extent of the egg mass. In 2017 the Sandusky River yielded 7,000+ eggs during two high flow events. The earliest developmental stage, three (stage one= no cell division, thirty= hatch) occurred at the most upstream site and the latest developmental stage (twenty five) near the river mouth. Egg stages were more variable at downstream sites and during lower flows; slower moving eggs are more likely to hatch in the river and survive to larvae. The pattern of egg stages and spatial distribution over time indicated spawning likely occurred several times or over a prolonged period. Although the hydrograph indicates that grass carp spawn during high flows, it is unknown what proximal cues initiate spawning and what specific conditions increase the likelihood of egg survival. We back calculated spawning time based on egg stage, collection location, and temperature to determine what specific factors may trigger spawning. Furthermore, we examined the conditions that likely support egg hatching and survival within the river. Preliminary analysis indicates several spawning bouts over a <10 hour time period. The ability to predict the timing and location of GC spawning and recruitment potential has implications for future control efforts.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
HOPE BALLROOM C

3:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-11) Invasive Mussel Collaborative: Advancing Dreissenid Mussel Management and Control
AUTHORS: Erika Jensen, Great Lakes Commission; Sandra Morrison, U.S. Geological Survey; Ceci Weibert, Great Lakes Commission

ABSTRACT: The Invasive Mussel Collaborative is working to advance scientifically sound technology for invasive mussel control to produce measurable ecological and economic benefits. The Collaborative provides a framework for communication and coordination and is identifying the needs and objectives of resource managers; prioritizing the supporting science, implementing communication strategies; and aligning science and management goals into a common agenda for invasive mussel control. The founding members of the collaborative are the U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Commission, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. The Great Lakes Commission provides coordination and neutral backbone support for the collaborative. A broad membership base of states, provinces, tribal and other entities and a well-organized communication network facilitates the exchange of information between scientists, managers, and stakeholders. Strong connections with other regions outside the Great Lakes are in place to provide opportunities to share lessons learned. The Collaborative maintains a robust communication network to facilitate information-sharing on priority issues related to management and control of dreissenid mussels. The Collaborative also develops products and tools to support and advance management activities and will soon finalize a regional strategy to advance zebra and quagga mussel management for the Great Lakes region. This presentation will provide an update on these efforts.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 3:40pm - 4:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM A

4:40pm EST

(CANCELLED) (SYMPOSIA-11) Improving Methods to Understand the Role of Predation on Dreissenid Population Dynamics
AUTHORS: Kevin R. Keretz; Richard T. Kraus, Joseph Schmitt – US Geological Survey

ABSTRACT: Ecological and societal impacts of dreissenid mussels (Dreissena spp.) on Great Lakes ecosystems are well documented, and a better understanding of the mechanisms that cause variation in mussel abundance is needed.  An outstanding question is how much mussel biomass is consumed by predation. To date, attention has mainly been focused on invasive Round Goby (genus species) predation of mussels.  We note that the biomass of native mussel consumers, such as Freshwater Drum (Aplodinotus grunniens), may exceed Round Goby biomass by an order of magnitude in some areas.  Thus, the role of predation on mussel population dynamics may be greater than is currently assumed.  A significant difficulty for investigating mussel consumption by native predators is that mussels in stomachs are often a macerated mix of crushed shell and flesh. This prevents counting and measurement of individual prey items as is often performed in diet studies.  Here, we develop an analysis to convert the crushed shell and flesh mixture found in diets of Freshwater Drum to a simple dry weight of mussel flesh.  We then estimate daily ration as a first step in understanding the impact of Freshwater Drum on mussel populations in Lake Erie.  Our results support evaluation of proposed mussel control methods by improving our knowledge of ecological mechanisms that influence mussel abundance.  

Tuesday January 29, 2019 4:40pm - 5:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM A

4:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-12) Restoring Streams, Wetlands, & Floodplains in an Agricultural Landscape
AUTHORS: Amy Brennan, Lake Erie Conservation Director for The Nature Conservancy; Jessica D'Ambrosio, Western Lake Erie Basin Agriculture Director for The Nature Conservancy

ABSTRACT: The Nature Conservancy will share lessons learned and partnerships necessary to restore wetlands, floodplains and streams throughout the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) to reduce nutrient loads to Lake Erie and her tributaries and restore natural infrastructure throughout the Western Lake Erie Basin.  TNC is working with conservation and agricultural community partners to restore natural infrastructure, including wetlands, riparian corridors, and floodplains in the Western Lake Erie Basin to expand, improve, and connect wildlife habitat.  TNC established a goal of restoring 1% of the agricultural acres in the WLEB to natural infrastructure – wetlands, floodplains and riparian corridors that help to manage nutrients and water more effectively.  We have completed initial modeling and mapping to identify the highest nutrient loading areas, best areas for restoring wetlands, and watersheds where stream improvement is likely if nutrients are reduced.  We are currently working with partners on 6 restoration sites from engineering and design to full implementation to convert 500 acres of current agricultural lands to natural wetlands, riparian corridors and floodplains.  In order to reach our goal of restoring 1% (56,000 acres) of agricultural lands, we will continue to engage and support partners and systematically build partnerships to scale up our restoration activities.   This involves a combination of mapping to identify project areas and target areas that will have the most impact on downstream resources, building capacity among our traditional and nontraditional conservation partners and completion of engineering and design for restoration projects.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 4:40pm - 5:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM C