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Lands within the watersheds of the Great Plains streams that are not used for crops are often used for cattle grazing and hay production. Northern Plains States are one of the nation’s top producers of cattle, which outnumber people almost three to one in North Dakota. Cattle can have direct habitat impacts by trampling stream banks, which destroys beneficial vegetation and increases sedimentation and nutrient loads. Hofmann and Ries (1991) found that livestock increased sediment runoff in North Dakota streams. Schepers and Francis (1982) reported that runoff from a Nebraska cattle farm increased total phosphorus levels in runoff by 37%. In addition, cattle watering ponds, often constructed by diverting streams,...
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Relative condition of fish habitat in streams of the Northern Plains States. Histogram shows percentage of total stream length in each condition class.
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A. Pervasive disturbances: The most common disturbances based on total stream length in a given region. Top five overall most pervasive disturbances to all stream reaches, regardless of stream size and across all spatial scales (ranked highest first): Crop land use Low intensity urban land use Impervious surface cover Road crossing density Agricultural water withdrawal Top five most pervasive disturbances to , specific to spatial scale: Crop land use in network catchments Crop land use in network buffers Low intensity urban land use in network catchments Crop land use in local buffers Impervious surface cover in network catchments In the Northern Plains state group, 36.6% of streams are classified as low...
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The Sicklefin Chub (Macrhybopsis meeki) requires main channel gravel and sand runs in turbid flowing waters; however, decreased and controlled flows from dam operations have resulted in excessive siltation of these key gravel beds. Dams also reduce turbidity and alter water temperatures, making the habitat unsuitable for this species.
This item provides the ScienceBase query that identifies components of the fish habitat assessments within the Northern Plains States. It also contains a link to a configuration file that pulls these pieces of information into a logical order. This information can be accessed through the ScienceBase API to display a summary of fish habitat assessment information for the Northern Plains States.
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Wheat, corn, and soybeans are some of the primary crops grown in the Northern Plains States. About 8.5 million acres, one-fourth of the state’s land area, are used to grow wheat in North Dakota. In areas of intense cultivation, streams are often channelized for irrigation, reducing their habitat value for fish as temperature, in-channel cover, and stream flow are significantly changed. In addition, watersheds dominated by row-crop agriculture discharge excess sediment and nutrients to downstream waters. Agricultural water withdrawal was also one of the most limiting disturbances identified in this assessment. A large number of groundwater wells in the Nemaha River basin in southeast Nebraska, an area dominated by...
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Partnership - Great Plains Fish Habitat Partnership Lake Sturgeon were an important protein and cultural resource for Native Americans and a key food resource for early settlers in the Red River basin in the 1800’s and earlier. By the mid-1900’s, this unique species was extirpated from this river system as the result of barrier and dam construction, overharvest, and pollution. In the late 1980’s, a broad coalition started the process of reestablishing this key species back into its native range in the Red River system with a focus on rehabilitating habitat, removing barriers/dams, and re-populating the river using hatchery fish. The Christine and Hickson dams were 2 of 3 remaining mainstem dams that prevented...
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Northern Plains States Fish Habitat Partnerships’ 2010 - 2015 Actions to Make a Difference Partnerships - Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership, Great Lakes Basin Fish Habitat Partnership, Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership, and Fishers and Farmers Partnership Provided funding for restoration of 2,825 feet of shoreline habitat, 932 feet of wetlands, and 2.5 acres of cove habitat in Custer County, Nebraska. Partners installed 25 rock piles, 26 tree reefs, and 26 shoals. Removed 58,810 cubic yards of bottom sediments from Arnold Lake, Nebraska. For more about specific waters and projects the Northern Plains States Fish Habitat Partnerships are working on, please see the following locations: New Life for Aging...
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The Pallid Sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) once ranged throughout the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and requires moderate to swift rivers with both sand and rock substrates. This long-lived species, often living more than 50 years and growing to 90 pounds, requires un-fragmented river reaches to complete its life history. River channelization, bank stabilization, impoundments, and altered flow regimes have all negatively affected this species, which is listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act. The presence of multiple large dams on the Missouri River has truncated the distance the larvae can be free-floating and may cause them to settle out in the reservoirs and perish. Adult Pallid Sturgeon are not able...
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The Missouri River is the longest river (2,341 miles or 3,767 kilometers) in North America and, in this region, forms the boundary of South Dakota and Nebraska and, after being joined by the James River from the north, forms the Iowa/Nebraska boundary. The longest tributary of the Missouri is the Platte River (310 main-stem miles (499 kilometers) and 1,050 miles (1,690 kilometers) including the longest main tributary), which joins from the west. Nebraska has the largest aquifer (underground lake/water supply) in the United States, the Ogalala aquifer, and has more subsurface groundwater reserves than any other State in the continental United States. Nebraska’s name originates from an Oto Indian word meaning “flat...
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The Topeka Shiner ( Notropis topeka ) requires prairie streams or oxbows that have good water quality and cool to moderate temperatures. Land practices that increase siltation, such as agricultural use, clear-cut logging, urban development, and intensive grazing, have negatively affected this fish species which is now listed as endangered under the Federal Endangered Species Act. Excessive sedimentation from poorly planned and controlled human development covers fish eggs, reduces instream cover, and fills in gravel areas needed for feeding.
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Map of the risk of current fish habitat degradation of inland streams of the Northern Plains States.
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Partnership - Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership Following the reservoir construction boom of the 1960’s and 1970’s, fisheries biologists recognized an emerging problem with these waters. As aquatic habitats declined within aging reservoirs and impoundments, so did the quality of the fisheries and subsequently fishing participation. Motivation to take action was substantial as reservoirs and impoundments support the majority of recreational public fishing opportunities within the State of Nebraska. Biologists raised awareness of the importance of healthy aquatic habitats and Nebraska anglers strongly supported a legislative initiative to require the purchase of an “Aquatic Habitat Stamp” with their fishing...
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While the overall assessment indicated that fish habitat in this region is some of the most threatened in the United States, some of the key fish habitat forming processes, such as water flow (hydrology) and grazing intensity, could not be fully included in this assessment as there are no national coverages for all of the supporting data needed to properly examine these processes. As a result, habitat condition (quality) has likely been overestimated for some systems in this region and the risk of degradation is likely higher than estimated. It is expected that future national assessments will include information on more of the key habitat processes as resources and data are available. The results from this assessment...


    map background search result map search result map Habitat Trouble for Pallid Sturgeon in Northern Plains States Most Pervasive and Severe Disturbances for the Northern Plains States Habitat Trouble for Sicklefin Chub in Northern Plains States Northern Plains States - Risk of Current Degradation Chart (Stream Length) Northern Plains States - Risk of Current FIsh Habitat Degradation Map Habitat Trouble for Topeka Shiner in Northern Plains States Facts About Northern Plains States Description of Pasture as a Human Activity Affecting Fish Habitat in Northern Plains States Fish Habitat Partnership Activities for the Northern Plains States Summary of Scientific Findings for Northern Plains States Description of Agriculture as a Human Activity Affecting Fish Habitat in Northern Plains States Habitat Trouble for Pallid Sturgeon in Northern Plains States Most Pervasive and Severe Disturbances for the Northern Plains States Habitat Trouble for Sicklefin Chub in Northern Plains States Northern Plains States - Risk of Current Degradation Chart (Stream Length) Northern Plains States - Risk of Current FIsh Habitat Degradation Map Habitat Trouble for Topeka Shiner in Northern Plains States Facts About Northern Plains States Description of Pasture as a Human Activity Affecting Fish Habitat in Northern Plains States Fish Habitat Partnership Activities for the Northern Plains States Summary of Scientific Findings for Northern Plains States Description of Agriculture as a Human Activity Affecting Fish Habitat in Northern Plains States