We examined spawning site selection and habitat use by American shad Alosa sapidissima in the Pee Dee River, North Carolina and South Carolina, to inform future management in this flow-regulated river. American shad eggs were collected in plankton tows, and the origin (spawning site) of each egg was estimated; relocations of radio-tagged adults on spawning grounds illustrated habitat use and movement in relation to changes in water discharge rates. Most spawning was estimated to occur in the Piedmont physiographic region within a 25-river-kilometer (rkm) section just below the lowermost dam in the system; however, some spawning also occurred downstream in the Coastal Plain. The Piedmont region has a higher gradient and is predicted to have slightly higher current velocities and shallower depths, on average, than the Coastal Plain. The Piedmont region is dominated by large substrates (e.g., boulders and gravel), whereas the Coastal Plain is dominated by sand. Sampling at night (the primary spawning period) resulted in the collection of young eggs (≤1.5 h old) that more precisely identified the spawning sites. In the Piedmont region, most radio-tagged American shad remained in discrete areas (average linear range = 3.6 rkm) during the spawning season and generally occupied water velocities between 0.20 and 0.69 m/s, depths between 1.0 and 2.9 m, and substrates dominated by boulder or bedrock and gravel. Tagged adults made only small-scale movements with changes in water discharge rates. Our results demonstrate that the upstream extent of migration and an area of concentrated spawning occur just below the lowermost dam. If upstream areas have similar habitat, facilitating upstream access for American shad could increase the spawning habitat available and increase the population's size.
|Title||Identification of American shad spawning sites and habitat use in the Pee Dee River, North Carolina and South Carolina|
|Authors||Julianne E. Harris, 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|