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Fish assemblages in borrow-pit lakes of the Lower Mississippi River

March 1, 2013

Borrow-pit lakes encompass about a third of the lentic water habitats (by area) in the active floodplain of the Lower Mississippi River, yet little is known about their fish assemblages. We investigated whether fish assemblages supported by borrow-pit lakes resembled those in oxbow lakes to help place the ecological relevance of borrow-pit lakes in context with that of natural floodplain lakes. In all, we collected 75 fish species, including 65 species in eight borrow-pit lakes, 52 species in four riverside oxbow lakes, and 44 species in eight landside oxbow lakes. Significant differences in several species richness metrics were evident between borrow-pit lakes and landside oxbow lakes but not between borrow-pit lakes and riverside oxbow lakes. All three lake types differed in fish assemblage composition. Borrow-pit lakes and riverside oxbow lakes tended to include a greater representation of fish species that require access to diverse environments, including lentic, lotic, and palustrine habitats; fish assemblages in landside oxbow lakes included a higher representation of lacustrine species. None of the fish species collected in borrow-pit lakes was federally listed as threatened or endangered, but several were listed as species of special concern by state governments in the region, suggesting that borrow-pit lakes provide habitat for sensitive riverine and wetland fish species. Differences in fish assemblages among borrow-pit lakes were linked to engineered morphologic features, suggesting that diversity in engineering can contribute to diversity in fish assemblages; however, more research is needed to match engineering designs with fish assemblage structures that best meet conservation needs.

Publication Year 2013
Title Fish assemblages in borrow-pit lakes of the Lower Mississippi River
DOI 10.1080/00028487.2012.760486
Authors Leandro E. Miranda, K. J. Killgore, J.J. Hoover
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
Index ID 70150415
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Atlanta