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Carterville FRO Continues Work on Stone Dike Alteration Project
Midwest Region, December 22, 2006
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Carterville FRO's Nate Caswell hands over a flathead catfish to Rick Echols. The flathead catfish is just one of many species that staff encounter on the Mississippi River during sampling.
- FWS photo
Carterville FRO's Nate Caswell hands over a flathead catfish to Rick Echols. The flathead catfish is just one of many species that staff encounter on the Mississippi River during sampling.

- FWS photo

- Photo Credit: n/a

Carterville FRO is currently in the midst of a project that will ultimately evaluate the effects of dike alterations on the fish communities of the Middle Mississippi River.  Carterville FRO is in the second year of pre-project monitoring for this U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers funded Stone Dike Alteration Project.  During the month of December, Carterville FRO biologists Caswell, Echols, and Colby Wrasse continued winter fishery sampling on the project. 

 

The biologists used a variety of gear (gill nets, hoop nets, electrofishing, trawling, and mini-fyke nets) to sample the fish communities of both the experimental site (RM 151.5-155.5) and the control site (RM 64.5-68.5). 

 

Sampling throughout the year allows biologist to examine how the fish community utilizes habitat seasonally.  In addition, Caswell has also completed a draft of the year-1 report. 

 

The Mississippi River has been highly altered by man.  One of the most obvious modifications is the gauntlet of stone wing dikes which constrict the river to a deep and relatively straight shipping channel. 

 

The creation and maintenance of this shipping channel has allowed for high volume commercial barge traffic.  Unfortunately, modifications, such as wing dikes, have also altered natural fish habitat and, as a consequence, many of the islands, side channels, and shallow water habitats have vanished. 

 

Alteration of stone wing dikes is viewed as one way to increase diversity of important aquatic habitats while still maintaining a navigable shipping channel, a compromise of sorts between ecological and economical interests.

 


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



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