Fish, especially migratory species, are assumed to benefit from dam removals that restore connectivity and access to upstream habitat, but few studies have evaluated this assumption. Therefore, we assessed the movement of migratory fishes in the springs of 2008 through 2010 and surveyed available habitat in the Little River, North Carolina, a tributary to the Neuse River, after three complete dam removals and one partial (notched) dam removal. We tagged migratory fishes with PIT tags at a resistance-board weir located at a dam removal site (river kilometer [rkm] 3.7) and followed their movements with an array of PIT antennas. The river-wide distribution of fish following removals varied by species. For example, 24–31% of anadromous American Shad Alosa sapidissima, 45–49% of resident Gizzard Shad Dorosoma cepedianum, and 4–11% of nonnative Flathead CatfishPylodictis olivaris passed the dam removal site at rkm 56 in 2009 and 2010. No preremoval data were available for comparison, but reach connectivity appeared to increase as tagged individuals passed former dam sites and certain individuals moved extensively both upstream and downstream. However, 17–28% did not pass the partially removed dam at rkm 7.9, while 20–39% of those that passed remained downstream for more than a day before migrating upstream. Gizzard Shad required the deepest water to pass this notched structure, followed by American Shad then Flathead Catfish. Fish that passed the notched dam accessed more complex habitat (e.g., available substrate size-classes) in the middle and upper reaches. The results provide strong support for efforts to restore currently inaccessible habitat through complete removal of derelict dams.
|Title||Assessing distribution of migratory fishes and connectivity following complete and partial dam removals in a North Carolina River|
|Authors||Joshua K. Raabe, Joseph E. Hightower|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||North American Journal of Fisheries Management|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Coop Res Unit Atlanta|