Pallid Sturgeon Population Monitoring Program
The Columbia Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office has been involved in pallid sturgeon monitoring since 1997. The station is one of six agencies now partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a year-round monitoring program for pallid sturgeon and the Missouri River fish community throughout the entire length of the Missouri River. Columbia FWCO is responsible for sampling the lower 250 miles of the lower Missouri River. Our efforts help the Pallid Sturgeon Recovery Team and state agencies develop policy and fund needed research for pallid sturgeon recovery in addition to aiding the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with meeting its obligation to monitor the species.
Asian Carp Monitoring Program
Columbia FWCO is part of a multi-organization collaboration to reduce the risk of Asian carp invading the Great Lakes ecosystem. Our efforts have been concentrated in the Lake Michigan basin centered specifically in the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS). Staff from the Columbia FWCO routinely assist in fixed site electrofishing and environmental DNA (eDNA) collection that aim to detect and monitor Asian carp advancement toward Lake Michigan. Our biologists are also developing new gear types to more effectively capture these species. Specialized trawls and entrapment nets have been developed and research is being conducted to find efficient electrofishing wave form settings.
Fish Passage Program
Manmade structures and barriers which impede the natural passage of fish and aquatic organisms are of nationwide concern. At Columbia FWCO we work closely in Missouri and Iowa with state and county partners in conservation, transportation, public safety, emergency management, natural resources and historic preservation. Our goal is to identify river crossings, dams and other unnatural barriers in priority areas to collectively benefit native aquatic fauna and the safety of area citizens. Our work replacing slab crossings in the historic range of the federally endangered Niangua darter since 2007 is aiding the recovery of the species and providing safer free span bridges. Fish passage projects are also included in the recovery plans for the federally endangered Topeka shiner and a host of threatened and endangered mussel species in the Meramec River and its tributaries.
National Fish Habitat Partnership
Working in cooperation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Private Lands, Natural Resource Conservation Service and state conservation agencies enable us to match partnership funding to improve fish habitats in rivers, lakes, reservoirs and streams throughout the Midwest on public and private lands. The Great Plains Fish Habitat Partnership cooperates with us in projects throughout Iowa and prairies in Missouri. The Fishers and Farmers Partnership is working closely with us to improve habitats in the Meramac and Bourbeuse River watersheds in eastern Missouri. Other partnerships in our area are the Southeastern Aquatic Resources Partnership and the Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership.
Education and Outreach Program
The Columbia FWCO is a partner in education with the Columbia Public Schools. We host multiple events with area schools that include activities such as handling live Missouri River fishes, exploring a mobile Missouri River flowing stream table, making fish print tee-shirts, or just learning about the many facets of the Service. Columbia FWCO also works with the City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department, Bass Pro Shops and Missouri Department of Natural Resources to host the annual Columbia WOW Conservation and Outdoor Recreation School. Additionally we partner with Missouri River Relief, Missouri River 340 and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deliver quality outreach education to the public.