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Incorporating an approach to aid river and reservoir fisheries in an altered landscape

April 1, 2018

Reservoir construction for human-use services alters connected riverine flow patterns and influences fish production. We sampled two pelagic fishes from two rivers and two reservoirs and related seasonal and annual hydrology patterns to the recruitment and growth of each species. River and reservoir populations of Freshwater Drum Aplodinotus grunniens reached similar ages (32 and 31, respectively). Likewise, longevity of Gizzard Shad Dorosoma cepedianum between the two systems was also similar (7 and 8 years, respectively). However, both species grew larger in the rivers compared to reservoir residents. Recruitment of Freshwater Drum in reservoirs was negatively related to water retention time (r2=0.59) suggesting moving water through the reservoir was beneficial. Riverine recruitment of Freshwater Drum populations was negatively related to the annual number of flow reversals and positively related to prespawn discharge (r2 = 0.33). Unlike Freshwater Drum, there was no relationship between flow metrics and Gizzard Shad recruitment in reservoirs. However, recruitment of riverine Gizzard Shad was positively related to high flow pulses during the prespawn and spawning seasons (r2 = 0.48). The growth of both species in reservoirs was positively related to the number of days each year that water levels were above the conservation pool. Growth of Freshwater Drum was also negatively related to minimum reservoir summer water levels (r2 = 0.84). Growth of both Freshwater Drum and Gizzard Shad occupying lotic systems was positively related to May (r2 = 0.86) and July discharge (r2 = 0.84), respectively. In general, growth and recruitment of the reservoir populations was more related to annual water patterns, whereas riverine fishes responded more to seasonal flow patterns. Results of this study provide important information on the relationship between hydrology and pelagic fish production in both rivers and reservoirs. This information is useful if agencies are interested in developing holistic river-reservoir water-allocation plans.

Publication Year 2018
Title Incorporating an approach to aid river and reservoir fisheries in an altered landscape
Authors Shannon K. Brewer, Daniel E. Shoup, John Dattillo
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Series Title Cooperator Science Series
Series Number 129-2018
Index ID 70196773
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Atlanta