Science and management of river-floodplain connectivity for fish movement and recruitment : a case study of a managed wetland on the lower Missouri River
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Restoration projects along the lower Missouri River (LMOR), Missouri, are undertaken to mitigate past channelization and levee construction that severed riverfloodplain connectivity and denied riverine fishes access to adjacent seasonally flooded wetlands. Two actively managed wetland pools were constructed for riverine fish spawning and nursery at Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area (EBCA) as part of the Missouri River Recovery Program. These pools were designed with water-control structures to enable controlled ingress and egress of riverine fishes. Lateral fish movements during temporary connectivity events between LMOR and these wetlands were investigated during two consecutive spring-summers. Objectives were to model river-floodplain connectivity, predict fish use of floodplain wetlands, and evaluate lateral fish movement to assess benefits and management options of lateral connectivity for fish recruitment. Connectivity events over the 1993-2008 modeled period typically were frequent (median: 7 events per year), in late spring (median: 1 June start date), and of short duration (median: 4 days). Thirty-eight species were predicted to access the wetland based on their distribution, habitat-use guilds, spawning temperature ranges, and river water temperature; the majority of those predicted species begin spawning between 10.0 to 21.2 degrees C, corresponding to 4 April to 1 June.
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