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USGS - science for a changing world

Matt Blank

Land transformations occurring from energy development and agrarian use have altered the natural connectivity of fish communities inhabiting prairie waterways. The nation’s prairie waterways are obstructed by thousands of barriers that include road culverts, irrigation diversions, and dams. Connectivity is essential for the long term viability of aquatic species. One of the most promising adaptive management strategies for addressing impacts to aquatic systems by climate change and other landscape stressors is increasing connectivity. The purpose of this research is to characterize swimming abilities of three northern plains fish species; the sauger, the longnose dace, and the fathead minnow. The results of the...
This report provides a final update of work performed for the period beginning December 20, 2010 and ending December 31, 2012. The report describes two umbrella projects: (1) to improve fish passage and landscape connectivity for native species and 2) to determine the thermal effects on fish species sensitive to climate change. The work was performed through a partnership led by the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University and the Bozeman Fish Technology Center (BFTC) of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The report is divided into five chapters that provide details on accomplishments to meet specific objectives outlined in our proposal during the period. Several of the projects that...
Migration barriers and resulting habitat fragmentation are a major conservationconcern for freshwater fishes. Characterizing the swimming abilities of fish is vital forfishway design and identifying potential movement barriers. The objective of this studywas to assess the swimming performance of two of the most widely distributed prairiefishes, the large-bodied, large river sauger Sander Canadensis, and the small-bodied,small stream longnose dace Rhinichthys cataractae. Swimming performance for bothspecies was assessed using a variety of metrics (passage success, maximum ascentdistance, maximum sprint speed) in an open channel flume over a range of velocities(sauger, 51, 80, 93 cm/; dace, 39, 64, 78, and 90 cm/s),...
Migration barriers and resulting habitat fragmentation are a major conservationconcern for freshwater fishes. Characterizing the swimming abilities of fish is vital forfishway design and identifying potential movement barriers. The objective of this studywas to assess the swimming performance of two of the most widely distributed prairiefishes, the large-bodied, large river sauger Sander Canadensis, and the small-bodied,small stream longnose dace Rhinichthys cataractae. Swimming performance for bothspecies was assessed using a variety of metrics (passage success, maximum ascentdistance, maximum sprint speed) in an open channel flume over a range of velocities(sauger, 51, 80, 93 cm/; dace, 39, 64, 78, and 90 cm/s),...
Although it is certain that climate change will affect the hydrology and biota of Great Plains streams, how and where these effects will be manifested is not known. This project will predict the effects of climate change on these streams by creating watershed hydrology and fish assemblage models that are both linked to watershed characteristics, then predicting changes resulting from climate change using an ensemble of general circulation models. We will identify the areas of primary conservation concern by calculating Index of Biotic Integrity values for 1,600 samples in an existing regional fish database and compare them to the areas that are most likely to experience change under future climate scenarios.
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