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Wednesday, January 27 • 10:40am - 11:00am
Impacts of Long Box Culverts on the Movement of Topeka Shiner and Other Prairie Stream Fishes

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AUTHORS: Britney Mosey*, Affiliation: University of Minnesota; Jay Hatch, Affiliation: James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History, University of Minnesota; Jessica Kozarek, Affiliation: St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, University of Minnesota

ABSTRACT: The Topeka shiner Notropis topeka is a federally endangered fish species inhabiting the rapidly declining headwater prairie streams of the central US. When these streams intersect roadways, culverts create potential barriers to fish movement by physically impeding swimming (e.g. because of insufficient depth or excess velocity) or by behaviorally deterring movement (e.g. by reducing light levels). Barriers can limit fish migration to key seasonal habitats, such as spawning or nursery areas and off-channel pools and oxbows. They may also isolate small populations of fish further endangering their long-term survival. While some work has been done on swimming abilities and barriers of warm water fish species such as the Topeka shiner, little has been done to evaluate the effects of low light levels in culverts. We evaluated light levels and fish movement in three long box culverts and corresponding control stream reaches in critical Topeka shiner habitat in Southwestern Minnesota. Through a tag and recapture method using visible elastomer tags, more than 20,000 fish were tagged including 456 Topeka shiner, and over 2,000 were recaptured, including 54 Topeka shiner. We found many fishes, including Topeka shiners, passed through the three separate culverts, as well as through the natural stream reaches, under light levels typically experienced at twilight. Statistical analysis is being conducted to determine if fish movement through these long culverts is inhibited compared to the control reaches. Future plans include a laboratory study using surrogate species and pond-reared Topeka shiner to evaluate fish response to varying light levels in a controlled environment. Our research will determine if low light levels pose a barrier to fish movement and if light mitigation needs to be considered in long culverts.

Wednesday January 27, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Emerald B

Attendees (6)