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Movement dynamics of nonnative Burbot in the upper Green River system and implications for management

September 9, 2020

Burbot Lota lota were illegally introduced to the Green River, Wyoming, in the mid-1990s and pose a threat to recreational fisheries and native fish conservation. Although much is known about Burbot population dynamics, little is known about their movement patterns. Our objectives were to describe the movement dynamics of Burbot in the upper Green River system to provide information on the ecology of Burbot and insight on possible management actions. In total, 875 Burbot were tagged with PIT tags in the upper Green River and Fontenelle Reservoir; their movements were tracked from August 2016 to March 2018. Additionally, 22 Burbot were tagged with radio transmitters in Fontenelle Reservoir in November 2017, and 13 Burbot were tagged with radio transmitters in the upper Green River in November 2018. Of these fish, 11 Burbot tagged in Fontenelle Reservoir and all river-tagged Burbot were tracked as they migrated into the Green River and associated tributaries during the spawning season. Upstream and downstream movements of Burbot tagged with PIT tags in Fontenelle Reservoir and the upper Green River peaked during December–January and were synchronized with river temperatures reaching 0°C. Of the total number of PIT-tagged Burbot, 10–15% of those tagged in Fontenelle Reservoir were detected in the Green River during the spawning season and 15% of those tagged in the Green River were detected moving downstream toward Fontenelle Reservoir during the spawning period. Movements of radiotelemetered Burbot were synchronized with river ice-up in mid-December. Maximum upstream distance traveled by adfluvial Burbot was 5.8 km. Fluvial Burbot primarily migrated downstream during the spawning period, and maximum downstream distance traveled was 17.7 km. Detection data suggest that both fluvial and adfluvial Burbot occupy the same reaches during the spawning period and areas near Fontenelle Reservoir are important for spawning. Results of this study will assist with the management of Burbot in this system by shedding light on Burbot movement patterns and identifying areas of high Burbot use for targeted suppression efforts. Results also contribute to our understanding of the variability in Burbot ecology.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2020
Title Movement dynamics of nonnative Burbot in the upper Green River system and implications for management
DOI 10.1002/nafm.10480
Authors Tucker A. Brauer, Michael Quist, Darren T. Rhea, Troy W. Laughlin, Erik Waring
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title North American Journal of Fisheries Management
Index ID 70228358
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Seattle

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