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Review of methods to repair and maintain lithophilic fish spawning habitat

September 8, 2020

Rocky reefs provide important spawning and refuge habitats for lithophilic spawning fishes. However, many reefs have been lost or severely degraded through anthropogenic effects like dredging, channelization, or sedimentation. Constructed reefs have been used to mitigate these effects in some systems, but these reefs are also subject to degradation which may warrant custodial maintenance. Monitoring and maintenance of natural or constructed spawning reefs are not common practices; therefore, few methodologies have been created to test the effectiveness of such tools. We conducted a literature review to assess available information on maintenance of rocky spawning habitats used by lithophilic fishes. We identified 54 rocky spawning habitat maintenance projects, most of which aimed to improve fish spawning habitats through the addition of spawning substrate (n = 33) or cleaning of substrate (n = 23). In comparison to shallow riverine studies focused on salmonids, we found little information on deep-water reefs, marine reefs, or other fish species. We discuss the possible application of potential spawning habitat cleaning methods from other disciplines (e.g., treasure hunting; archeology) that may provide effective means of reef maintenance that can be used by restoration practitioners. 

Citation Information

Publication Year 2020
Title Review of methods to repair and maintain lithophilic fish spawning habitat
DOI 10.3390/w12092501
Authors Audrey Baetz, Taaja Tucker, Robin DeBruyne, Alex Gatch, T. Hook, J. Fischer, Edward F. Roseman
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Water
Series Number
Index ID 70213184
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Great Lakes Science Center