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Fish communities associated with a complex Mississippi stream system

Scott S. Knight, F. Douglas Shields Jr.
International Journal of Ecological Science and Environmental Engineering 2014 v.1 no.3 pp. 73-79
adults, ecosystem services, fish communities, fisheries, flood control, freshwater fish, habitats, hydraulic structures, lentic systems, ponds, rivers, species diversity, sports, streams, wetlands, Mississippi
Complex habitats such as sloughs, oxbows, and wetlands provide important ecosystem services for fish communities. While human manipulation of rivers and streams for flood control often reduce this complexity, some construction practices may provide an unexpected benefit. Structures such as borrow pits excavated for levee construction may mimic the functions of other back water features like oxbows or sloughs. Fish were collected in both Abiaca Creek channel and borrow pits created during the construction of a 360 ha floodway to examine the value of borrow pits as a backwater resource. Taxa richness, true diversity and other diversity indices were calculated to compare the communities of fish at the various sample locations. Lentic habitats created by borrow pit excavation contributed to the overall diversity. Greatest fish diversity was in the unaltered upper channel site while lowest was in the lower channelized sample reach. One of the borrow pits with relatively low diversity was found to support a strong sports fishery and exhibited characteristics of a managed resource. Catch per unit effort was higher in the pits which contained a higher proportion of species that reached larger adult sizes while number per unit of effort was higher in the upper channel site.