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Scientists from China See the Middle Mississippi River
Midwest Region, July 1, 2006
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La Crosse FRO Project Leader Pam Thiel discusses habitat alterations on the Middle Mississippi River with visiting scientists from China. 
- Photo by Rob Simmonds
La Crosse FRO Project Leader Pam Thiel discusses habitat alterations on the Middle Mississippi River with visiting scientists from China.

- Photo by Rob Simmonds

- Photo Credit: n/a

The Carterville Fishery Resources Office recently hosted two scientists from China who were visiting the Mississippi River as part of the International Conference on Rivers and Civilization. 

Pam Thiel, La Crosse FRO, Rob Simmonds and Colby Wrasse, Carterville FRO, gave the scientists a close look at the fish, habitat, and utilization of the Middle Mississippi River.  This section of the Mississippi is highly altered with much of the floodplain in agricultural lands behind levees. 

Barge traffic is also heavy and many river ‘training’ structures are used to help direct flow to the navigation channel to maintain the 9-foot depth for shipping.  But what’s important was not these conditions, it’s how we work with these conditions and how the fish respond. 

The guests were able to take a closer look at several new and creative solutions that have been used to meet navigation needs and improve habitat for fish.  Notched dikes and closing structures, chevron dikes, and other structures were visited.  These approaches provide greater diversity and quality of habitat, compared to traditional approaches.

The guests were excited to hear about such approaches and have been discussing some of the very same problems on large rivers in their homeland.  Through this opportunity, just a day on the water, staff were able to provide useful information (including websites such as www.mvs.usace.army.mil/engr/ed/river/Bendway/bw00.htm describing bendway weirs) that could influence the management of major rivers on the other side of the globe. 

The group also was visited by a couple Asian carp (silver carp to be exact), who jumped aboard to greet them.  It made for an interesting discussion to see their native fish in our waters.  It was equally interesting to catch one of our native channel catfish which are a major nuisance species in China.  This was a unique opportunity to share ideas and discuss common issues with a very distant neighbor.


Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov



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