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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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T11: Fisheries: Fish Conservation [clear filter]
Monday, January 28
 

3:20pm EST

(FISHERIES: FISH CONSERVATION) Distributions Across an Island: Using SDMs to Conserve an Imperiled Sucker
AUTHORS: Seth J. Fopma, South Dakota State University; Brian D.S. Graeb, South Dakota State University; Tammy Wilson, National Park Service

ABSTRACT: Described as an “island on the prairie” the Black Hills are a small range of mountains arising from a sea of short and mid-grass prairies. Upwelling from the center of the hills, flowing outward are numerous, cold-water streams lacking connectivity to regional cold-water networks. Many species that inhabit local streams are subsequently isolated from conspecific populations, posing unique management challenges. Climate change, predicted to alter local climatic patterns (intensified wet and dry cycles, general warming), potentially further limits species distributions within the island. Mountain Sucker (Catostomus platyrhynchus) is listed as a management indicator species for the Black Hills of South Dakota by South Dakota’s department of Game Fish and Parks, and is used as a proxy for regional ecosystem health. Surveys conducted between 2008 and 2010 revealed that populations had been in decline in both distribution and local abundance. Population surveys conducted between 2014 and 2017 were used to generate species distribution models (SDMs) for this regionally imperiled species. Model predictions are expected to be driven by stream permanency and connectivity. Predictions were compared to 2018 empirical observations to assess model accuracy. Accurate models allow managers to more efficiently identify local populations, impacts of climate change and target conservation efforts.

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

3:40pm EST

(FISHERIES: FISH CONSERVATION) The Cart Before the Redhorse: Examining Summer Habitat Use of the Threatened River Redhorse (Moxostoma carinatum) to Guide Future Management
AUTHORS: Nicholas Preville, Grand Valley State University

ABSTRACT: The resiliency of our aquatic ecosystems hinges on our ability to protect the native species that reside there. The River Redhorse (Moxostoma carinatum) is one such example and populations have become low enough to warrant listing by the State of Michigan. Causes of decline include overfishing, habitat alteration, and lack of knowledge of basic life-history attributes including the use of non-spawning habitat. In order to aid its recovery, we implanted 15 individuals with radio transmitters and tracked their locations over the course of a summer. Tagged River Redhorse were found to move as far as 50 km down river following spawning and establish themselves in small home ranges. Substrates in these home ranges were dominated by gravel which represented 59 percent of samples. Little preference for depth or velocity was shown among the tracked fish. However, general habitat use was dominated by runs and riffles which represented 58 and 27 percent of tracked locations respectively. Presence of mussels and snails, the River Redhorse’s preferred food source, appeared to be the best predictor for the River Redhorse’s use of an area as they were found at 79 percent of all tracked locations. The recovery of the River Redhorse will likely depend on our ability to protect these newly discovered feeding areas as well as any known spawning sites. Future management should therefore focus on the protection of native mussels and snails and should attempt to maintain connectivity between spawning and summer habitats.

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

4:00pm EST

(FISHERIES: FISH CONSERVATION) Evaluating Remote Site Incubators: Implications for the Reintroduction of Arctic Grayling in Michigan
AUTHORS: Alan J. Mock, Carl R. Ruetz III – Annis Water Resources Institute, Grand Valley State University; Dan Mays, Archie Martell – Little River Band of Ottawa Indians

ABSTRACT: The Arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus) was extirpated from Michigan by 1936, and subsequent efforts to reintroduce the species to Michigan have failed. However, efforts to restore the species in Montana have been successful through the use of remote site incubators (RSIs), which allow Arctic grayling to be reared and stocked at the site of introduction. Due to a renewed interest in reestablishing Arctic grayling in Michigan, we conducted a study using rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) eggs as surrogates for Arctic grayling to evaluate RSIs in three tributaries of the Manistee River to support the reintroduction effort. We installed eight single-tank RSIs (single 19-L bucket) and one stock-tank RSI (265-L trough) at each study stream. Our objectives were to: 1) test whether the removal of dead eggs and alevins from single-tank RSIs affected hatching success, and 2) compare hatching success between two different RSI designs (i.e., single-tank and stock-tank RSIs). Survival—our measure of hatching success that accounted for swim-out and alevins that remained in RSIs—ranged from 40.3% to 42.4% (mean=41.4%) across the three study streams. Mean survival in picked RSIs (45.6%) was not significantly different from unpicked RSIs (44.4%; p>0.1).  Mean survival in stock-tank RSIs was 37.2%. Survival between stock-tank and single-tank RSIs by stream differed from 1.8% to 10.3% (mean=5.3%). Our preliminary results suggests that differences in hatching success may not be biologically relevant between the two RSI designs we tested, and that removing dead individuals from RSIs during incubation did not significantly increase hatching success.

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

4:20pm EST

(FISHERIES: FISH CONSERVATION) Successful Translocation of Bluebreast Darters: A Case Study from the Upper Licking River, Ohio
AUTHORS: Brian J. Zimmerman, S. Mažeika P. Sullivan – The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: Aquatic ecosystems of Ohio historically supported diverse and abundant stream and river fish communities.  Loss and fragmentation of high-quality aquatic habitat and impairments in water quality have led to significant alterations in the diversity, composition, and productivity of native fish communities. The Bluebreast Darter (Etheostoma camurum), for example, was extirpated from many Ohio river systems over a century ago. In June of 2016 and 2017, 974 and 924 adult Bluebreast Darters, respectively, were translocated from the greater Muskingum River basin into the upper Licking River. Translocated individuals were marked with visible implant elastomer (VIE) tags. Translocated individuals from both events continue to be recaptured in follow-up surveys, most recently in late August 2018. VIE tags revealed minimal movement between release sites, however a few individuals have traveled as far as nine river kilometers following translocation. Natural reproduction by translocated fish has been documented by the capture of untagged individuals beginning in the first follow up surveys in 2016 and continues to be observed in subsequent years.

Monday January 28, 2019 4:20pm - 4:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM C

4:40pm EST

(CANCELLED) (FISHERIES: FISH CONSERVATION) Fisheries Evaluation of the Frankenmuth Rock Ramp in Frankenmuth, MI
AUTHORS: Paige Wigren, Justin Chiotti, and James Boase – United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office – Detroit River Substation; Joseph Leonardi, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Bay City Field Office; Tracy Galarowicz, Central Michigan University, Department of Biology

ABSTRACT: The installment of rock ramps to replace failing dams is a fairly new technique in the Midwest and little research has been done to assess the success of fish passage. In 2004, the structural condition of the Frankenmuth Dam was assessed and deemed to be in fair condition, but no longer functional, prompting officials to pursue dam removal. In order to maintain historic water levels in the impounded area above the dam, a thirteen-tier rock ramp was constructed in the fall of 2015 aimed at improving the connectivity and ecology of the Cass River watershed, a tributary to Saginaw Bay, MI. Prior to dam removal, electrofishing surveys were conducted in the spring and summer between 2010 – 2012 to record fish species composition above and below the existing dam. Post removal electrofishing surveys were conducted in the spring and summer between 2016 – 2018 with the goal of tagging fish downstream of the rock ramp and documenting changes in fish community composition. A total of 2,605 fish were tagged and 30 of these fish were recaptured upstream of the rock ramp. Since the construction of the rock ramp, 12 fish species not previously detected upstream have been captured, including freshwater drum, walleye, gizzard shad, flathead catfish, and round goby. Results indicate the rock ramp allows fish to access habitat upstream of the former dam, however passage is likely dependent upon river discharge during migration periods.

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