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Tuesday, January 26 • 11:00am - 11:20am
Effectiveness of Critical Lake Trout and Coregonid Reef Spawning Habitat Restoration In Northern Lake Michigan: Mitigating Environmental and Invasive Egg Predator Impacts (Part 1)

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AUTHORS: Randall M. Claramunt*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Eric J. Calabro, Central Michigan University; Matthew E. Herbert, The Nature Conservancy; Tracy L. Galarowicz, Central Michigan University; W. Lindsay Chadderton, The Nature Conservancy; Andrew J. Tucker, The Nature Conservancy

ABSTRACT: High-quality nearshore spawning reefs are a rare, critical habitat in Lake Michigan. Anthropogenic impacts, including the introduction of invasive species like round goby Neogobius melanostomus and rusty crayfish Orconectes rusticus, have degraded many nearshore reef habitats, threatening three species that utilize them for spawning: lake trout Salvelinus namaycush, lake whitefish Coregonus clupeaformis, and cisco C. artedi. In part 1 of a two part presentation, we summarize the impacts of invasive species on native fish spawning reefs and report on failed attempts at controlling invasive species on small patches of reef spawning habitat. Invasive species control included manual trapping, electrofishing, and application of a seismic gun to eradicate invasive egg predators. Even though control efforts were not successful in reducing the abundance of round goby and rusty crayfish, there was substantial variation in the survival of native fish eggs relative to the quality of the spawning substrate. We provide a case history at a reef complex near Elk Rapids, Grand Traverse Bay, which is the only known spawning reef complex used by cisco in Lake Michigan. The Elk Rapids reef complex is also used by lake trout and lake whitefish. The Elk Rapids reef complex has a variation of habitat quality including extremely high quality habitat that produces optimal egg survival even with high densities of invasive egg predators. However, the complex also includes a poor habitat quality area which is the result of historic iron dock operation leading to very low egg survival. In part 2 of the presentation, we will summarize restoration of reef habitat quality as an indirect approach to mitigating for invasive species impacts.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST
Gerald Ford