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Fisheries Program

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Our fisheries researchers are world-class scientists. They conduct cutting-edge research to provide fisheries resource managers the scientific information they need in order to protect, restore, and enhance our Nation’s fisheries and their habitats.

Unconventional Oil and Gas Impacts Aquatic Communities

Unconventional Oil and Gas Impacts Aquatic Communities

A new USGS publication evaluates the effects of unconventional oil and gas on streams: Stream Vulnerability to Widespread and Emergent Stressors--A Focus on Unconventional Oil and Gas

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Saving the Salmon

Saving the Salmon

New publication from USGS documents results from a study which shows that infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus may become a major threat to farmed Atlantic salmon in other regions of the world where the virus has been, or may be, introduced.

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Fisheries Research

USGS scientists study life history, population ecology, and conservation and restoration strategies for aquatic species and the habitats that sustain them.

Connectivity & Ecological Flows

Aquatic Health

Aquatic Communities

Advanced Technologies and Tools

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News

Chinook Salmon
March 13, 2017

The water in the Delta arrives primarily from the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, supplying water for more than 22 million people. This water source supports California’s trillion-dollar economy—the sixth largest in the world—and its $27 billion agricultural industry.

A group of Brook Trout swim through a stream.
November 16, 2016

A new USGS study shows non-native Brown Trout can place a burden on native Brook Trout under the increased water temperatures climate change can cause.

Sampling for aquatic invasive species in the Greater Yellowstone Area.
November 8, 2016

Studies on the aquatic food web, tree swallows, and the spread of contaminants take center stage at SETAC 2016.

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A cutthroat trout up close. James Roberts photo. USGS.
August 29, 2016

Piscicides have been used in Rocky Mountain stream and lakes to restore native fish populations. In the last two decades concerns over piscicide effects to non-target organisms, primarily aquatic invertebrates, has increased. Although piscicides have been used for more than 70 years the impact to invertebrate assemblages has not been well studied and is largely unknown. Given the...

USGS science for a changing world logo
February 26, 2016

Understanding disease to support the management and restoration of aquatic species.

USGS science for a changing world logo
February 26, 2016

Research on stressors and habitat requirements of imperiled aquatic species to inform their restoration.

USGS science for a changing world logo
February 26, 2016

Research and technology for restoring aquatic species and aquatic habitats.

USGS science for a changing world logo
February 26, 2016

Aquatic species diversity is the hallmark of healthy aquatic ecosystems.

USGS science for a changing world logo
February 26, 2016

These tools offer invaluable insights into fishery resource problems.

USGS science for a changing world logo
February 26, 2016

Functional relationships among aquatic species for conserving and restoring aquatic community function.

USGS science for a changing world logo
February 26, 2016

Improving fish passage is vital for restoring populations of salmon and other migratory fish.

USGS science for a changing world logo
February 26, 2016

Rivers are the conduit between inland waters and the oceans for fish, nutrients, and sediments

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USGS Dam Removal Information Portal (DRIP) Screenshot
October 31, 2016

USGS Dam Removal Information Portal (DRIP)

The Dam Removal Information Portal is a Web site that serves information about the scientific studies associated with dam-removal projects. It is a visualization tool, including a map and interactive charts, of a dam-removal literature review designed and developed by a working group at the USGS John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis (Bellmore and others, 2015).

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A simple web-based tool to compare freshwater fish data collected using AFS standard methods
Year Published: 2016

A simple web-based tool to compare freshwater fish data collected using AFS standard methods

The American Fisheries Society (AFS) recently published Standard Methods for Sampling North American Freshwater Fishes. Enlisting the expertise of 284 scientists from 107 organizations throughout Canada, Mexico, and the United States, this text was developed to facilitate comparisons of fish data across regions or time. Here we describe a user-...

Bonar, Scott A.; Mercado-Silva, Norman; Rahr, Matt; Torrey, Yuta T.; Cate, Averill
Population trends and survival of nesting green sea turtles Chelonia mydas on Aves Island, Venezuela
Year Published: 2015

Population trends and survival of nesting green sea turtles Chelonia mydas on Aves Island, Venezuela

Long-term demographic data are valuable for assessing the effect of anthropogenic impacts on endangered species and evaluating recovery programs. Using a 2-state open robust design model, we analyzed mark-recapture data from green turtles Chelonia mydas sighted between 1979 and 2009 on Aves Island, Venezuela, a rookery heavily impacted by human...

Garcia-Cruz, Marco A.; Lampo, Margarita; Penaloza, Claudia L.; Kendall, William; Solé, Genaro; Rodriguez-Clark, Kathryn M.
Detection probabilities of electrofishing, hoop nets, and benthic trawls for fishes in two western North American rivers
Year Published: 2015

Detection probabilities of electrofishing, hoop nets, and benthic trawls for fishes in two western North American rivers

Research comparing different sampling techniques helps improve the efficiency and efficacy of sampling efforts. We compared the effectiveness of three sampling techniques (small-mesh hoop nets, benthic trawls, boat-mounted electrofishing) for 30 species in the Green (WY, USA) and Kootenai (ID, USA) rivers by estimating conditional detection...

Smith, Christopher D.; Quist, Michael C.; Hardy, Ryan S.
Assessment of general health of fishes collected at selected sites in the Great Lakes Basin In 2012
Year Published: 2015

Assessment of general health of fishes collected at selected sites in the Great Lakes Basin In 2012

During the past decade, there has been a substantive increase in the detection of “emerging contaminants”, defined as a new substance, chemical, or metabolite in the environment; or a legacy substance with a newly expanded distribution, altered release, or a newly recognized effect (such as endocrine disruption). Emerging contaminants include...

Mazik, Patricia M.; Braham, Ryan P.; Hahn, Cassidy M.; Blazer, Vicki
River mainstem thermal regimes influence population structuring within an Appalachian brook trout population
Year Published: 2015

River mainstem thermal regimes influence population structuring within an Appalachian brook trout population

Brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) often exist as highly differentiated populations, even at small spatial scales, due either to natural or anthropogenic sources of isolation and low rates of dispersal. In this study, we used molecular approaches to describe the unique population structure of brook trout inhabiting the Shavers Fork watershed,...

Aunins, Aaron W.; Petty, J. Todd; King, Timothy L.; Schilz, Mariya; Mazik, Patricia M.
Use of glacier river-fed estuary channels by juvenile coho salmon: transitional or rearing habitats?
Year Published: 2014

Use of glacier river-fed estuary channels by juvenile coho salmon: transitional or rearing habitats?

Estuaries are among the most productive ecosystems in the world and provide important rearing environments for a variety of fish species. Though generally considered important transitional habitats for smolting salmon, little is known about the role that estuaries serve for rearing and the environmental conditions important for salmon. We...

Hoem Neher, Tammy D.; Rosenberger, Amanda E.; Zimmerman, Christian E.; Walker, Coowe M.; Baird, Steven J.
Hoem Neher, T. D., A. E. Rosenberger, C. E. Zimmerman, C. M. Walker, and S. J. Baird. 2013. Use of glacier river-fed estuary channels by juvenile coho salmon: Transitional or rearing habitats. Environmental Biology of Fishes. doi:10.1007/s10641-013-0183-x
A nuclear DNA perspective on delineating evolutionarily significant lineages in polyploids: the case of the endangered shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum)
Year Published: 2014

A nuclear DNA perspective on delineating evolutionarily significant lineages in polyploids: the case of the endangered shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum)

The shortnose sturgeon, Acipenser brevirostrum, oft considered a phylogenetic relic, is listed as an “endangered species threatened with extinction” in the US and “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. Effective conservation of A. brevirostrum depends on understanding its diversity and evolutionary processes, yet challenges associated with the...

King, Timothy L.; Henderson, Anne P.; Kynard, Boyd E.; Kieffer, Micah C.; Peterson, Douglas L.; Aunins, Aaron W.; Brown, Bonnie L.
A nuclear DNA perspective on delineating evolutionarily significant lineages in polyploids: the case of the endangered shortnose sturgeon (<i>Acipenser brevirostrum</i>); 2014; Article; Journal; PLoS ONE; King, Timothy L.; Henderson, Anne P.; Kynard, Boyd E.; Kieffer, Micah C.; Peterson, Douglas L; Aunins, Aaron W.; Brown, Bonnie L.
Channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) leukocytes express estrogen receptor isoforms ERα and ERβ2 and are functionally modulated by estrogens
Year Published: 2014

Channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) leukocytes express estrogen receptor isoforms ERα and ERβ2 and are functionally modulated by estrogens

Iwanowicz, Luke R.; Stafford, James L.; Patiño, Reynaldo; Bengten, Eva; Miller, Norman W.; Blazer, Vicki
Channel catfish (<i>Ictalurus punctatus</i>) leukocytes express estrogen receptor isoforms ERα and ERβ2 and are functionally modulated by estrogens; 2014; Article; Journal; Fish & Shell Immunology; Iwanowicz, Luke R.; Stafford, James L.; Patiño, Reynaldo; Bengten, Eva; Miller, Norman W.; Blazer, Vicki S.
Development and characterization of 16 polymorphic microsatellite loci for the Alaska blackfish (Esociformes: Dallia pectoralis)
Year Published: 2014

Development and characterization of 16 polymorphic microsatellite loci for the Alaska blackfish (Esociformes: Dallia pectoralis)

Campbell, Matthew A.; Sage, George K.; DeWilde, Rachel L.; López, J. Andres; Talbot, Sandra L.
Development and characterization of 16 polymorphic microsatellite loci for the Alaska blackfish (Esociformes: <i>Dallia pectoralis</i>); 2014; Article; Journal; Conservation Genetics Resources; Campbell, Matthew A.; Sage, George K.; DeWilde, Rachel L.; López, J. Andres; Talbot, Sandra L.
Physiological and ecological effects of increasing temperature on fish production in lakes of Arctic Alaska
Year Published: 2014

Physiological and ecological effects of increasing temperature on fish production in lakes of Arctic Alaska

Carey, Michael P.; Zimmerman, Christian E.
Physiological and ecological effects of increasing temperature on fish production in lakes of Arctic Alaska; 2014; Article; Journal; Ecology and Evolution; Carey, Michael P.; Zimmerman, Christian E.
Experimental methods fail to address the questions posed in studies of surgical techniques
Year Published: 2014

Experimental methods fail to address the questions posed in studies of surgical techniques

Mulcahy, Daniel M.
Experimental methods fail to address the questions posed in studies of surgical techniques; 2014; Article; Journal; Fisheries Research; Mulcahy, Daniel M.
Recolonization of the intertidal and shallow subtidal community following the 2008 eruption of Alaska’s Kasatochi Volcano
Year Published: 2014

Recolonization of the intertidal and shallow subtidal community following the 2008 eruption of Alaska’s Kasatochi Volcano

Jewett, S.C.; Drew, Gary S.
Recolonization of the intertidal and shallow subtidal community following the 2008 eruption of Alaska’s Kasatochi Volcano; 2014; Article; Journal; Biogeosciences Discuss; Jewett, S.C.; Drew, Gary S.
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2016 (approx.)

Watch as the USGS Hammond Bay Biological Station water tank and pump house are constructed from the ground up! This short video features time lapse photography of the 1-million gallon water tank and pump house constructed to supply water to a state-of-the-art aquatic science laboratory. Laboratory construction will occur over the next several years and will also be chronicled with time lapse photography. 
 

August 25, 2016

Permanent Site: E2 East Transect; Depth: 14.3 Meters (46.8 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.9 Kilometers (0.5 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15653002,-123.56130401; Site Description: This is one of our deeper sites. Substrate is mainly gravel/cobble with an occasional boulder. A few brown acid kelps (Desmarestia spp. at 0:06 seconds) and red seaweeds are present but only in first ten meters of transect. Featherduster tubes worms Schizobranchia insignis (pale orange blotches at 1:19 seconds) continue to be abundant as well as truncate softshell clams Mya truncata. Red sea urchins are scattered along last ten meters of transect (1:50-2:17seconds).
 

August 25, 2016

Permanent Site: E2 West Transect; Depth: 14.6 Meters (47.8 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.9 Kilometers (0.5 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15653002, -123.56197605; Site Description: This is one of our deeper sites. Substrate is mainly gravel/cobble with scattered boulders. A few small red and brown seaweeds, mainly acid kelp Desmarestia spp. (0:25, 0:47 seconds) have returned. The featherduster tubes worm Schizobranchia insignis is abundant. Red sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus franciscanus) are scattered along entire transect (0:28, 1:22, 1:34 seconds). Others invertebrates seen on video: staghorn bryozoan Heteropora pacifica (yellow clump on boulder at 0:59 seconds).
 

August 24, 2016

Permanent Site: J1 West Transect; Depth: 9.8 Meters (32.3 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 6.6 Kilometers (4.1 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.13607725,-123.48002186; Site Description: This site is medium depth. Substrate is mainly a gravel/sand mixture. Both red (0:25 seconds) and brown seaweed growth is dense and appears to be at pre-dam removal levels. Eight species of brown seaweed were recorded and consist mainly of the perennial seaweed Pterygophora californica, Saccharina spp. (0:36, 1:16 seconds), acid kelp Desmarestia (2:16 seconds) and Laminaria ephemera. Alaria marginata (2:01 seconds) and three-ribbed kelp Cymathere triplicata (0:08 seconds) were also present. Two tubeworm species are still very abundant, Eudistylia vancouveri (0:59, 1:13 seconds) and Schizobranchia insignis, as well as butter clams (Saxidomus gigantea). The siphon of a rough paddock (Zirfaea pilsbryi) is seen on right of tape at 1:23 seconds.
 

August 24, 2016

Permanent Site: D2 West Transect; Depth: 12.8 Meters (41.9 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.3 Kilometers (0.2 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal Lat/Long: 48.15233001,-123.56896603; Site Description: This site is right off the mouth of the river. Substrate is mainly gravel with some cobble. Dead clam shells are scattered everywhere (2:14 seconds). Small woody debris is present (2:08, 2:14 seconds). Both brown and red seaweeds have returned (2:00 seconds) but are not abundant. A few small bull kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana) were noted but do not appear on video. Invertebrates were present but not abundant. Invertebrates seen on video: sand-rose anemone Urticina columbiana (0:41 seconds).
 

August 23, 2016

Permanent Control Site: GP1 East Transect; Depth: 7.5 m (24.7 feet); Distance from river mouth: 19.0 Kilometers (11.8 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long:; Site Description: This site was established as the eastern control. Depth is medium-shallow. Substrate is mainly a gravel/sand/cobble mixture surrounding numerous large boulders. Red (1:34 seconds) and brown seaweed was abundant. Four species of browns were recorded and mainly consisted of the perennial seaweed Pterygophora californica (0:17-0:19seconds), Saccharina spp. (0:29, 1:21 seconds) and Pleurophycus gardneri (1:47 seconds). The pink growth on boulders is crustose coralline algae (1:44, 1:53 seconds). Green sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis) were still very abundant, especially in the last 10 meters of the transect (1:53-2:00 seconds). 
 

August 23, 2016

Permanent Control Site: GP1 West Transect; Depth: 7.9 m (25.9 feet); Distance from river mouth: 19.0 Kilometers (11.8 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.11852521,-123.31605203; Site Description: This site was established as the eastern control. Depth is medium-shallow. Substrate is mainly a gravel/sand/cobble mixture surrounding numerous large boulders. Red (1:58seconds) and brown seaweed was abundant. Eight species of browns were recorded and mainly consisted of the perennial seaweed Pterygophora californica (0:20, 0:25 seconds) and Pleurophycus gardneri (0:29, 2:11 seconds). Bull kelp Nereocystis luetkeana was also present (1:43, 2:03 seconds). Growing on a boulder at 0:28 seconds are pink crustose coralline algae and yellow staghorn bryozoa (Heteropora pacifica). Green sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis) were present (0:26 seconds) but not as abundant as the east transect (see video ‘GP1 East Transect – 2016’). USGS diver Steve Rubin can be seen surveying at 0:59 seconds.
 

August 23, 2016

Permanent Control Site: GP2 East Transect; Depth: 13.2 Meters (43.4 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 18.8 Kilometers (11.7 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.12781102,-123.31645664; Site Description: This site was established as the eastern control. Substrate is mainly a gravel sand mixture. A few large boulders are located off transect. This year red seaweed was absent and brown seaweeds were present but not abundant. Only two species of browns were recorded, consisting mainly of the acid kelp Desmarestia (0:23, 0:54 seconds) and a few Costaria costata. A variety of invertebrates were present. Invertebrates seen on video: green sea urchin Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis (0:54 seconds), red sea urchin Strongylocentrotus franciscanus (0:57 seconds), mottled sea star Evasterias troschelii (1:14, 1:16, 1:45 seconds), sunflower sea star Pycnopodia helianthoides (1:23, 1:53 seconds).
 

August 23, 2016

Permanent Control Site: GP2 West Transect; Depth: 13.0 Meters (42.6 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 18.8 Kilometers (11.6 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.12781102,-123.31712832; Site Description: This site was established as the eastern control. Substrate is mainly a gravel/sand/cobble mixture surrounding boulders. This year red seaweed was absent and brown seaweeds were present but not abundant. Only one species of brown seaweed was recorded, the acid kelp Desmarestia (0:24, 1:03seconds). There were numerous species of invertebrates present. Invertebrates seen on video: staghorn bryozoan Heteropora pacifica (yellow clumps on boulder at 0:36 seconds), moon snail Euspira lewisii (0:26 seconds), egg case of the moon snail Euspira lewisii (1:16seconds), giant sea cucumber Parastichopus californicus ( seconds), blood sea star Henricia leviuscula leviuscula (0:05, 1:20 seconds), sunflower sea star Pycnopodia helianthoides (0:15, 0:31 seconds), red sea urchin Strongylocentrotus franciscanus (0:29, 1:28-1:31 seconds).
 

August 12, 2016

Permanent Site: H1 West Transect; Depth: 5.7 Meters (18.7 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 2.4 Kilometers (1.5 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.14803012,-123.53535558; Site Description: This is a shallow site and one of the farthest removed from the effects of the sediment plume outside of the control sites. Substrate is still mainly gravel with some sand and cobble. Seaweed growth of both reds (0:58 seconds) and browns is profuse and appears to be at pre-dam removal levels. Seven different species of brown seaweeds are present with the three most abundant being Alaria marginata (0:32, 0:52 seconds), three-ribbed kelp Cymathere triplicata (0:27, 1:52 seconds) and the perennial seaweed Pterygophora californica (0:08, 1:00 seconds). Woody debris was also present (1:46 seconds). Horse clams (Tresus capax) were still abundant. No invertebrates are seen on video due to the dense seaweed cover.
 

August 11, 2016

Permanent Site: H1 East Transect; Depth: 5.7 Meters (18.8 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 2.4 Kilometers (1.5 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.1479177,-123.53472865; Site Description: This is a shallow site and one of the farthest removed from the effects of the sediment plume outside of the control sites. Substrate is still mainly gravel with some sand and cobble. Seaweed growth of both reds (1:32 seconds) and browns is profuse and appears to be at pre-dam removal levels. Seven different species of brown seaweeds are present with the three most abundant being Alaria marginata (0:23, 1:56 seconds), three-ribbed kelp Cymathere triplicata (0:34, 0:42 seconds) and the perennial seaweed Pterygophora californica (2:54 seconds). Horse clams (Tresus capax) were still abundant. A large kelp crab (Pugettia producta) can be seen sitting on top of a Pterygophora stalk at 1:32 seconds.
 

August 11, 2016

Permanent Site: A2 West Transect; Depth: 13.2 Meters (43.2 Feet); Distance from river mouth: Kilometers 1.8 (1.1 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.14130295, -123.5883331; Site Description: One of our deeper sites at over 40 feet. Sediment is primarily sand/sandy mud with scattered boulders. Seaweeds are still sparse and mainly acid kelp Desmarestia (0:30, 1:00, 1:13 seconds). Bivalves are abundant, especially geoduck Panopea generosa (siphons visible in large, oval indentations left of tape at 0:18 second) and truncate softshell clams, Mya truncata. Feather duster tubeworms are still abundant, especially the species Eudistylia vancouveri (0:46 seconds), Schizobranchia insignis (0:25 seconds) and Eudistylia polymorpha. Other invertebrates seen on video: egg cases of the moon snail Euspira lewisii (1:41, 1:43 seconds). Fish: small flatfish, species unknown (0:54, 1:23). Elwha River Nearshore, Strait of Juan de Fuca, Washington, USA

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Chinook Salmon
March 13, 2017

The water in the Delta arrives primarily from the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, supplying water for more than 22 million people. This water source supports California’s trillion-dollar economy—the sixth largest in the world—and its $27 billion agricultural industry.

A group of Brook Trout swim through a stream.
November 16, 2016

A new USGS study shows non-native Brown Trout can place a burden on native Brook Trout under the increased water temperatures climate change can cause.

Photo of USGS biologist preparing to release a reproductive female pallid sturgeon.
August 5, 2016

A new fact sheet documenting the development of the Missouri River Pallid Sturgeon Effects Analysis (EA) is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey. The EA is an effort to assess how Missouri River management has affected—and may affect—the endangered pallid sturgeon population.

Floating net pens
July 14, 2016

New USGS and NOAA Collaboration in Alaska Will Help Gain Insight into Juvenile Chinook Salmon Distributions and Migrations.

Green USGS Logo
May 10, 2016

The U.S. Geological Survey is celebrating the success of three distinguished researchers who are recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). This award is the highest recognition granted by the United States government to scientists and engineers in the early stages of their research careers.

Image shows a map with an aerial image of the study site beneath it
May 9, 2016

These are the first published studies to demonstrate water-quality impacts to a surface stream due to activities at an unconventional oil and gas wastewater deep well injection disposal site.

Bald eagle flying over water
April 20, 2016

Researchers have figured out what makes certain chemicals  accumulate to toxic levels in aquatic food webs. And, scientists have developed a screening technique to determine which chemicals pose the greatest risk to the environment.

 

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 21, 2016

The U.S. Geological Survey is playing a role in providing the science being used by agencies to manage the habitat for two threatened California fish species – the Santa Ana Sucker and the Arroyo Chub. Both species, which live in the Santa Ana River Watershed, are of special interest to local, state and federal agencies desiring to protect the fishes’ fragile ecosystem.

USGS science for a changing world logo
February 9, 2016

Reston, VA – Inland capture fisheries are much more crucial to global food security than realized, according to the first global review of the value of inland fish and fisheries.

USGS science for a changing world logo
November 3, 2015

On average, streams in the Niobrara-Mowry Play of eastern Wyoming, Fayetteville Play of Arkansas, and Barnett Play of Texas ranked most vulnerable to unconventional oil and gas development, but for different reasons, according to recent U.S. Geological Survey coauthored research.

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