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Pool‐scale growing‐season water‐level reductions (drawdowns) have been implemented on the Upper Mississippi River in an effort to improve fish and wildlife habitat. Aquatic vegetation is a key habitat component, with perennial emergent species, such as Sagittaria latifolia and Sagittaria rigida, especially important. River managers have assumed the need for continuous drawdown during the growing season with limited reflooding and used this guidance in assessing the potential for an ecologically successful drawdown. However, information on the effects of growing‐season flooding episodes on survival and growth of Sagittaria is limited. To assess the flooding tolerance of S. latifoliaand S. rigida, we evaluated multiple...
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American wildcelery, Vallisneria americana Michx. is an ecologically important component of aquatic communities in the Upper Mississippi River (UMR). We conducted a study in 2002 to determine the association of several abiotic factors on the vegetative growth of Vallisneria in Navigation Pool 8 (Pool 8) of the UMR. We measured turbidity, percent light absorbance, surface water ammonium, surface water nitrate, current velocity, conductivity, pH and water depth throughout one growing season at 56 stratified sites based on where Vallisneria occurred in previous years. Sediment and aboveground biomass samples were collected during peak growth. Sediment was analysed for organic content, particle size, pore water nitrate...
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Dams create barriers to fish migration and dispersal in drainage basins, and the removal of dams is often viewed as a means of increasing habitat availability and restoring migratory routes of several fish species. However, these barriers can also isolate and protect native taxa from aggressive downstream invaders. We examined fish community composition two years prior to and two years after the removal of a pair of low-head dams from Boulder Creek, Wisconsin, U.S.A. in 2003 to determine if removal of these potential barriers affected the resident population of native brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis). Despite the presence of other taxa in the downstream reaches, and in other similar streams adjacent to the Boulder...
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Regional assessment of cumulative impacts of dams on riverine fish assemblages provides resource managers essential information for dam operation, potential dam removal, river health assessment and overall ecosystem management. Such an assessment is challenging because characteristics of fish assemblages are not only affected by dams, but also influenced by natural variation and human-induced modification (in addition to dams) in thermal and flow regimes, physicochemical habitats and biological assemblages. This study evaluated the impacts of dams on river fish assemblages in the non-impoundment sections of rivers in the states of Michigan and Wisconsin using multiple fish assemblage indicators and multiple approaches...
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Cohesive sediment deposits characterized by a high fraction of mud (silt plus clay) significantly affect the morphology and ecosystem of rivers. Potentially cohesive sediment samples were collected from deposits in the Colorado River in Marble and Grand Canyons. The erosion velocities of these samples were measured in a laboratory flume under varying boundary shear stresses. The non-dimensional boundary shear stress at which erosion commenced showed a systematic deviation from that of non-cohesive sediments at mud fractions greater than 0.2. An empirical relation for the boundary shear stress threshold of erosion as a function of mud fraction was proposed. The mass erosion rate was modelled using the Ariathurai-Partheniades...
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We examined impacts of future climate scenarios on flow regimes and how predicted changes might affect river ecosystems. We examined two case studies: Cle Elum River, Washington, and Chattahoochee-Apalachicola River Basin, Georgia and Florida. These rivers had available downscaled global circulation model (GCM) data and allowed us to analyse the effects of future climate scenarios on rivers with (1) different hydrographs, (2) high future water demands, and (3) a river-floodplain system. We compared observed flow regimes to those predicted under future climate scenarios to describe the extent and type of changes predicted to occur. Daily stream flow under future climate scenarios was created by either statistically...
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Sand bars deposited along the lateral margin of a river channel are frequently a focus of recreational activities. Sand bars are appealing sites on which to camp, picnic, fish and relax because they are relatively flat, soft, non-cohesive sand, free of vegetation and near the water's edge. The lack of vegetation and cohesion make sand bars easily erodible. Without appreciable deposition of new material, number and size of bars through a given reach of river will decline substantially over a period of years. We studied 63 beaches and their associated eddies located throughout 10 selected reaches within the designated Wild and Scenic River sections of the Lochsa, Selway, Middle Fork Clearwater, Middle Fork Salmon...
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Floodplains are generally considered to be important locations for nutrient retention or inorganic-to-organic nutrient conversions in riverine ecosystems. However, little is known about nutrient processing in short-hydroperiod floodplains or seasonal variation in floodplain nutrient retention. Therefore, we quantified the net uptake, release or transformation of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and suspended sediment species during brief periods (1-2 days) of overbank flooding through a 250-m floodplain flowpath on the fourth-order Mattawoman Creek, Maryland U.S.A. Sampling occurred during a winter, two spring and a summer flood in this largely forested watershed with low nutrient and sediment loading. Concentrations...
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Many lotic fish species use natural patterns of variation in discharge and temperature as spawning cues, and these natural patterns are often altered by river regulation. The effects of spring discharge and water temperature variation on the spawning of shovelnose sturgeon Scaphirhynchus platorynchus have not been well documented. From 2006 through 2009, we had the opportunity to study the effects of experimental discharge levels on shovelnose sturgeon spawning in the lower Marias River, a regulated tributary to the Missouri River in Montana. In 2006, shovelnose sturgeon spawned in the Marias River in conjunction with the ascending, peak (134 m3/s) and descending portions of the spring hydrograph and water temperatures...
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Larval mussels (Family Unionidae) are obligate parasites on fish, and after excystment from their host, as juveniles, they are transported with flow. We know relatively little about the mechanisms that affect dispersal and subsequent settlement of juvenile mussels in large rivers. We used a three-dimensional hydrodynamic model of a reach of the Upper Mississippi River with stochastic Lagrangian particle tracking to simulate juvenile dispersal. Sensitivity analyses were used to determine the importance of excystment location in two-dimensional space (lateral and longitudinal) and to assess the effects of vertical location (depth in the water column) on dispersal distances and juvenile settling distributions. In our...
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The effects of flow releases (daily during spring and four times weekly during summer) from a small impoundment on macroinvertebrate assemblages in the lower Indian River and upper Hudson River of northern New York were assessed during the summers of 2005 and 2006. Community indices, feeding guilds, dominant species and Bray—Curtis similarities at three sites on the Indian River, below a regulated impoundment, were compared with those at four control sites on the Cedar River, below a run-of-the-river impoundment of comparable size. The same indices at four less-likely affected sites on the Hudson River, below the mouth of the Indian River, were compared with those at an upstream control site on the Hudson River....
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Natural flow regimes represent the hydrologic conditions to which native aquatic organisms are best adapted. We completed a regional river classification and quantitative descriptions of each natural flow regime for the Ozark–Ouachita Interior Highlands region of Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. On the basis of daily flow records from 64 reference streams, seven natural flow regimes were identified with mixture model cluster analysis: Groundwater Stable, Groundwater, Groundwater Flashy, Perennial Runoff, Runoff Flashy, Intermittent Runoff and Intermittent Flashy. Sets of flow metrics were selected that best quantified nine ecologically important components of these natural flow regimes. An uncertainty analysis was...
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The effectiveness of agricultural conservation programmes to adequately reduce nutrient exports to receiving streams and to help limit downstream hypoxia issues remains a concern. Quantifying programme success can be difficult given that short-term basin changes may be masked by long-term water-quality shifts. We evaluated nutrient export at stream sites in the 44 months that followed a period of increased, integrated conservation implementation within the Lower Grand River Basin. These short-term responses were then compared with export that occurred in the main stem and adjacent rivers in northern Missouri over a 22-year period to better contextualize any recent changes. Results indicate that short-term (October...
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The Penobscot River drains the largest watershed in Maine and once provided spawning and rearing habitats to 11 species of diadromous fishes. The construction of dams blocked migrations of these fishes and likely changed the structure and function of fish assemblages throughout the river. The proposed removal of two main-stem dams, improved upstream fish passage at a third dam, and construction of a fish bypass on a dam obstructing a major tributary is anticipated to increase passage of and improve habitat connectivity for both diadromous and resident fishes. We captured 61 837 fish of 35 species in the Penobscot River and major tributaries, through 114 km of boat electrofishing. Patterns of fish assemblage structure...
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Non-physical stimuli can deter or guide fish without affecting water flow or navigation and therefore have been investigated to improve fish passage at anthropogenic barriers and to control movement of invasive fish. Upstream fish migration can be blocked or guided without physical structure by electrifying the water, but directional downstream fish guidance with electricity has received little attention. We tested two non-uniform pulsed direct current electric systems, each having different electrode orientations (vertical versus horizontal), to determine their ability to guide out-migrating juvenile sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Both systems guided significantly more...
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Regional assessment of cumulative impacts of dams on riverine fish assemblages provides resource managers essential information for dam operation, potential dam removal, river health assessment and overall ecosystem management. Such an assessment is challenging because characteristics of fish assemblages are not only affected by dams, but also influenced by natural variation and human-induced modification (in addition to dams) in thermal and flow regimes, physicochemical habitats and biological assemblages. This study evaluated the impacts of dams on river fish assemblages in the non-impoundment sections of rivers in the states of Michigan and Wisconsin using multiple fish assemblage indicators and multiple approaches...
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Water resources and transportation infrastructure such as dams and culverts provide countless socio-economic benefits; however, this infrastructure can also disconnect the movement of organisms, sediment, and water through river ecosystems. Trade-offs associated with these competing costs and benefits occur globally, with applications in barrier addition (e.g. dam and road construction), reengineering (e.g. culvert repair), and removal (e.g. dam removal and aging infrastructure). Barrier prioritization provides a unique opportunity to: (i) restore and reconnect potentially large habitat patches quickly and effectively and (ii) avoid impacts prior to occurrence in line with the mitigation hierarchy (i.e. avoid then...
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Nineteen ecologically relevant streamflow characteristics were estimated using published rainfall–runoff and regional regression models for six sites with observed daily streamflow records in Kentucky. The regional regression model produced median estimates closer to the observed median for all but two characteristics. The variability of predictions from both models was generally less than the observed variability. The variability of the predictions from the rainfall–runoff model was greater than that from the regional regression model for all but three characteristics. Eight characteristics predicted by the rainfall–runoff model display positive or negative bias across all six sites; biases are not as pronounced...
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Although altered streamflow has been implicated as a major factor affecting fish assemblages, understanding the extent of streamflow alteration has required quantifying attributes of the natural flow regime. We used predictive models to quantify deviation from expected natural streamflow variability for streams in the eastern USA. Sites with >25% change in mean daily streamflow variability compared with what would be expected in a minimally disturbed environment were defined as having altered streamflow variability, based on the 10th and 90th percentiles of the distribution of streamflow variability at 1279 hydrological reference sites. We also used predictive models to assess fish assemblage condition and native...
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Dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations in lowland streams are naturally lower than those in upland streams; however, in some regions where monitoring data are lacking, DO criteria originally established for upland streams have been applied to lowland streams. This study investigated the DO concentrations at which fish and invertebrate assemblages at 35 sites located on lowland streams in southwestern Louisiana began to demonstrate biological thresholds.Average threshold values for taxa richness, diversity and abundance metrics were 2.6 and 2.3 mg/L for the invertebrate and fish assemblages, respectively. These thresholds are approximately twice the DO concentration that some native fish species are capable of tolerating...