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Great Plains FWCO
Mountain-Prairie Region
Graphic button showing the 8 state mountain prairie region

Great Plains Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office

420 South Garfield Avenue, Suite 400 | Pierre, South Dakota 57501
Phone: (605) 224-8693 | Fax: (605) 224-9974 | Email: dane_shuman@fws.gov

About Our Office

Station Responsibilities | Current Research | Past Research | Publications and Research | Valentine NWR | Tribal Fisheries | Station Employee Contact Information | Open / Close All

Employee with Pallid Sturgeon. Credit: Dane Shuman / USFWS.

Employee with Pallid Sturgeon. Credit: Dane Shuman / USFWS.

About Us

The Great Plains Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office provides fish and wildlife management technical assistance to Native American Tribes and federal agencies including the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Department of Defense and National Wildlife Refuges within South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas.

 


Station Responsibilities »

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Fish Population Monitoring.

Fish Population Monitoring. Credit: Dane Shuman / USFWS.

The Great Plains Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office provides fish and wildlife management technical assistance to Native American Tribes and federal agencies including the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Department of Defense, and National Wildlife Refuges within South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas.

Technical assistance includes:

  • Conducting research and management activities leading to the recovery of federally listed threatened and endangered species such as the pallid sturgeon.
  • Evaluating paddlefish stocking programs to develop management recommendations that maximize survival of hatchery-reared fish.
  • Conducting research and developing management strategies for biologically managing aquatic nuisance species that negatively impact aquatic habitat and recreational fisheries.
  • Monitoring and evaluating the impacts of modified flows and water temperatures from the operation of Missouri River dams on populations of fish and other aquatic species.
  • Providing technical assistance to Federal Agencies and Tribes regarding management of recreational fisheries on lands under their jurisdiction.


Current Projects and Activities »

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Pallid Sturgeon Population Assessment Program

Sampling in the Missouri River with gill nets. Credit: USFWS.

Sampling in the Missouri River with gill nets. Credit: USFWS.

Population declines of pallid sturgeon throughout the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers led to pallid sturgeon being listed as an endangered species in 1990. The Great Plains FWCO has been responsible for monitoring the pallid sturgeon and associated fish community in the Missouri River from Fort Randall Dam, SD, to Lewis and Clark Lake, NE and SD, as part of the collaborative, multi-agency Pallid Sturgeon Population Assessment Program since 2003. Since 2000, over 11,000 pallid sturgeon have been stocked in the Missouri River between Fort Randall Dam and Lewis and Clark Lake and the Great Plains FWCO has sampled over 1,100 of them. Stocking efforts are likely maintaining the pallid sturgeon population in this section of the Missouri River because the population is composed primarily of stocked individuals (only four non-stocked individuals have been documented during 12 years of sampling). By monitoring pallid sturgeon and the associated fish community, the Pallid Sturgeon Population Assessment Program provides valuable information related to management actions (e.g., stocking and habitat manipulation) on pallid sturgeon and the Missouri River ecosystem.

Pallid Sturgeon Catchability Project

          
In 2010, the Great Plains FWCO initiated the Pallid Sturgeon Catchability Project to improve our understanding of the effectiveness of sampling gears for capturing pallid sturgeon. We evaluated the effectiveness of sampling gears at two spatial scales: 1) known fish locations and 2) river bend (approximately 3 river km in length). At the known fish location scale, we evaluated how effective trammel nets are at capturing a pallid sturgeon given that the net was fished at the same location as the fish. At the river bend scale, we evaluated the effectiveness of the Pallid Sturgeon Population Assessment Program sampling design (8-10 deployments of gillnets, otter trawls, trammel nets, and trotlines per bend) at capturing an individual pallid sturgeon given that the fish was present in the sample area (i.e., bend) at the time of sampling. Preliminary results at the river bend scale suggest that trotlines are the most effective sampling gear for capturing large (>500 mm) pallid sturgeon. Trammel nets were the second most effective.

Paddlefish project

The Great Plains FWCO, in cooperation with South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks, will be conducting a paddlefish telemetry project in Lake Sharpe, South Dakota to establish preliminary information for paddlefish restoration efforts in Lake Sharpe. Paddlefish will be tagged with ultra-sonic transmitters, released in Lake Sharpe, and tracked throughout 2015. The objectives are to 1) determine what proportion of stocked paddlefish emigrate from Lake Sharpe through Big Bend Dam, 2) identify geographic locations that stocked paddlefish are found throughout the lake, 3) identify depth, water temperature, and water velocities at locations where stocked paddlefish are located, and 4) determine if resident paddlefish are found at similar locations as stocked paddlefish. This information will improve our understanding of paddlefish ecology in Lake Sharpe and ultimately, aid in determining if development of a stocking program and recreational fishery are a viable option.

Didymosphenia geminata identification and consultation laboratory

The Great Plains FWCO, in cooperation with the USFWS Fish and Aquatic Conservation Program, provides expertise and identification of the aquatic nuisance species, Didymosphenia geminata, commonly known as “didymo” or “rock snot.” The laboratory accepts samples of suspect didymo for the purpose of identifying and verifying the diatom. The laboratory can also answer questions regarding didymo ecology and its interaction with aquatic resources.

Sikes Act

The Sikes Act, enacted in 1960, created a partnership between the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and state fish and wildlife agencies. At the Great Plains FWCO, we help the Department of Defense to protect and conserve fish and wildlife resources without compromising the military mission at Offutt Air Force Base, NE and Ellsworth Air Force Base, SD. We assist to develop, update, and implement the Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan for each installation on an annual basis. We also evaluate potential impacts of military activities on fish and wildlife, ensure that important habitat is maintained, identify recreation and conservation opportunities such as hunting and fishing, provide for invasive species management, and manage wildlife to support the safety and operational effectiveness at each base. By doing this, we conserve natural areas and maximize opportunities for public recreation on both Offutt and Ellsworth Air Force Base. Currently, specific projects at both bases include recreational fish management, fisheries habitat assessment, zebra mussel monitoring and management, wetland habitat monitoring and evaluation, and endangered species surveys.

Tribal

The Great Plains FWCO provides technical fisheries assistance to Tribes in South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas. Most Tribal lands contain few streams or natural lakes and that support recreational fisheries, however, reservoirs on Tribal lands provide for angling opportunities. We provide assistance by conducting fisheries surveys, helping to identify priority areas for fisheries management, providing management recommendations, and also coordinating fish stocking requests through the federal hatchery system. The final fisheries management decisions are left to the respective Tribal fish and wildlife programs.


Past Projects and Activities »

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Population Characteristics of the Fish Community in the Niobrara River Downstream of Spencer Dam, Nebraska | Pallid Sturgeon Bioenergetics Study | Missouri River Macroinvertebrate Study | Paddlefish Genetics Study


Population Characteristics of the Fish Community in the Niobrara River Downstream of Spencer Dam, Nebraska

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2008 Progress Report

Niobrara River. Credit: USFWS.

Sampling in the Missouri River with gill nets. Credit: USFWS.

The objective of this research will be to investigate the entire fish community of the Niobrara River downstream of Spencer Dam, Nebraska. This study began in April 2008 and will continue through the end of 2009. We will provide a detailed summary of the fish fauna, incorporating seasonal variations corresponding to habitat conditions. This study will evaluate the relative abundance, size structure, and spatial attributes of the entire fish community in this reach of the Niobrara River.

We will use a variety of gears to sample the fish community. Drifted trammel nets and trotlines will be used to target larger (> 12 inches) fish. Eletrofishing and seines will be used to target small-bodied fishes. Larval drift nets will be used to capture drifting eggs, larval, and juvenile fish. A detailed report of our findings is planned to be published in May 2010.

Drifting trammel nets in the Niobrara River. Credit: USFWS.

Drifting trammel nets in the Niobrara River. Credit: USFWS.


Pallid Sturgeon Bioenergetics Study

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Brian Spindler using bathymetry to map the Missouri River. Credit: USFWS.

Brian Spindler using bathymetry to map the Missouri River. Credit: USFWS.

Habitats within the Missouri River have been greatly altered in response to dam construction and operations. Pallid sturgeon carrying capacity of these areas has also been changed although the extent is poorly understood. One method to explore interactions between fishes and their prey or assess habitat quality and carrying capacity is with bioenergetics models. Bioenergetics models can be used to assess food consumption of river fishes pre- and post-impoundment, over-winter mortality, the affects of bioaccumulation of toxic chemicals in fish, and energy availability (food). Once a bioenergetics model is developed, habitat quality of remnant riverine segments of the Missouri River for pallid sturgeon growth can be assessed in relation to water flows and temperatures resulting from various management regimes for dam operation. We acknowledge the assistance and cooperation of staff at the Bozeman Fish technology Center, Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery, and Gavins Point Dam National Fish Hatchery to provide fish and tank space to conduct this project.

Experiments measuring juvenile pallid sturgeon metabolic (respiration) rates were initiated in 2003 and continued in 2005 at multiple temperatures and life stages (fish sizes). In 2003, measurements were made on 139 individual pallid sturgeon weighing 3 – 554 g across a temperature range of 4 – 21.5 ºC. In 2004, 17 experiments measuring pallid sturgeon metabolic rates were completed on 93 fish, 41 of which were in the larval life stage (< 1 g). In 2005, an additional seven respiration experiments were conducted on a total of 60 fish with further emphasis on early larval life stages. Data collection for metabolic rate is complete and analyses will be conducted during winter and spring of 2006.

In 2005, a MS level graduate student, Elizabeth Wright, at South Dakota State University (SDSU), started a detailed study of pallid sturgeon consumption and growth rates. Elizabeth is advised by Drs. Rob Klumb (FWS) and Steve Chipps (USGS, SD Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit). Feeding trials in the laboratory at SDSU measured the influence of fish body size, water temperature, and ration size on maximum feeding rates which constitutes a key physiological component of the bioenergetics model. Initial trials measuring pallid sturgeon consumption rates in relation to body size and water temperature were completed in 2004 by R. Klumb at the Bozeman Fish Technology Center and will be incorporated in Elizabeth’s study. Additionally, her growth experiments also provide data to assess and validate the bioenergetics model’s performance. Consumption and growth experiments should be completed this winter with data analysis and her thesis completed by summer of 2006. Elizabeth’s project is primarily funded by a State Wildlife Grant from South Dakota awarded to Drs. Chipps and Klumb which started on July 1, 2005.

Bioenergetics modeling simulations require measurements of water temperature. Submersible temperature loggers were placed in the riverine segments of Missouri River below Fort Randall and Gavins Point dams during 2003 and 2004 as part of a study on Asian carps and loggers were again deployed in 2005. This temperature data will also be used for future bioenergetics modeling analyses.

A second SDSU graduate student (MS level), Bryan Spindler, will apply the bioenergetics model to spatially assess habitat quality and growth potential for hatchery-reared juvenile pallid sturgeon stocked below Fort Randall Dam. Brian will specifically collect macro-invertebrates and detailed, spatially-referenced flow and bathymetry data with an acoustic Doppler current profiler beginning in spring of 2006. This project will also utilize data from a multitude of completed and ongoing projects: fish catches and habitat data collected as part of the long-term pallid sturgeon and associated fish community assessments, diet composition of pallid sturgeon, aerial ortho-photographs, and invertebrate prey availability. The bioenergetics model will be applied spatially and seasonally to assess the growth potential of juvenile pallid sturgeon with the data incorporated into a geographic information system (GIS). Bryan’s project is primarily funded by a State Wildlife Grant from South Dakota awarded to Drs. Chipps and Klumb which started on July 1, 2005.


Missouri River Macroinvertebrate Study

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Kristen Berg and Steve Heutmaker Sampling for invertebrates. Credit: USFWS.

Kristen Berg and Steve Heutmaker Sampling for invertebrates. Credit: USFWS.

Field work began in 2005 for a 2-year project assessing summer macroinvertebrate assemblages and densities in the Missouri River below Fort Randall and Gavins Point dams. This project is the focus of SKEP student, Kristen Berg’s Master of Science research at South Dakota State University under the advisement of Drs. Robert Klumb (FWS) and Steven Chipps (USGS-SD Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit). Four randomly selected transects were sampled during each sampling period at three sites below Fort Randall and Gavins Point dams. Invertebrate assemblage composition and densities as well as substrate composition will be compared between the Fort Randall and Gavins Point sites as well as comparing upstream to downstream areas within each site. Habitats sampled included inside bends, outside bends, secondary connected channels, channel crossovers, and braided areas. Sampling occurred on three occasions from June through October 2005 and will continue in April through October 2006. In addition to providing an updated survey of the macroinvertebrate assemblage in the Missouri River, this study provides current estimates of invertebrate prey available to juvenile pallid sturgeon stocked in the Missouri River as part of recovery efforts. This data on prey availability will be linked with pallid sturgeon diet composition and applied in bionenergetics modeling analyses of pallid sturgeon habitat quality and growth potential.

Multiple gears were used to sample aquatic invertebrates in shallow, deep, benthic, and pelagic habitats. In the main river channel benthic invertebrates were collected with a large ponar grab. Drifting invertebrates were collected in the water column and near the bottom in the main channel with a 0.5-m conical plankton net outfitted with a flow meter to measure the volume of water filtered. In shallow habitats, benthic invertebrates were collected using a surber sampler. To assess invertebrate colonization, Hester-Dendy invertebrate plate samplers were deployed in the river for a 50-60 day colonization period. Additional habitat data collected during each sample included water temperature, depth, surface flow, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, and substrate type. Overall, 500 invertebrate samples were collected in 2005. As with the larval and juvenile fish surveys during 2003 and 2004, submersible temperature loggers were also deployed in the Missouri River downstream of Fort Randall (N = 14) and Gavins Point (N = 12) dams during 2005.

Although the motivation behind this macroinvertebrate survey was the determination of prey available to juvenile hatchery-reared pallid sturgeon Scaphirhynchus albus, a concurrent benefit of this project includes an active monitoring program for macroinvertebrate aquatic nuisance species, particularly zebra mussels. Active sampling of deep main channel benthos and placement of colonization plates in the Missouri River resulted in a spatially expansive monitoring program for zebra mussels in South Dakota and Nebraska. Although zebra mussel veligers have been identified in plankton samples from Lake Francis Case, SD and the Missouri River downstream of Fort Randall Dam (near Verdel, NE), no adult zebra mussels have yet been found. Extensive sampling, in upstream and downstream locations of the Missouri River below both dams will help elucidate the existence of adult zebra mussel populations.

No zebra mussel adults were observed downstream of Fort Randall and Gavins Point dams during the summer of 2005 in any ponar grab samples from the main channel or found colonized on Hester-Dendy artificial substrate invertebrate collection plates set near the bank line. The lack of evidence to date of an established population of zebra mussels in the Missouri River downstream of each dam indicates that either the initial veliger identifications were in error (i.e. a false positive) or that the source of the veligers was from populations in the deep waters of Lake Francis Case, habitats not sampled as part of this study. As in 2003 and 2004, no zebra mussels were observed during 2005 on the temperature loggers placed in the Missouri River downstream of each dam.

This project is primarily funded by a State Wildlife Grant from South Dakota awarded to Drs. Chipps and Klumb which started on July 1, 2005. However, the Great Plains FWMAO provided the necessary gear for collection of invertebrates (drift sampler, surber sampler, ponar), use of boats and trucks, had a custom boom built on the boat for the ponar dredge, portable meters (velocity, dissolve oxygen, turbidity) and assembled needed field supplies (preservatives, sample jars, etc.) to get the project started in early June. Additional funds were provided by the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force ($2500) to purchase the Hester-Dendy colonization samplers. Great Plains FWMAO staff provided field training (R. Klumb, Fisheries Biologist - 4 weeks) and field assistance (Steve Heutmaker, Biological Technician - 2 weeks) which will enable Kristen Berg to work safely and independently on this project during 2006.


Paddlefish Genetics Study

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Kristen holding paddlefish captured in the White River, SD. Credit: USFWS.

Kristen holding paddlefish captured in the White River, SD. Credit: USFWS.

The paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) is a large, planktivorous fish historically found throughout the Mississippi and Missouri River systems, the Mobile (AL) drainage, and portions of the Great Lakes. The paddlefish represents one of the oldest and most obscure of North America’s freshwater fish species. Severe alterations to large rivers over the last 100+ years and recent threats associated with increased harvest demand for roe and smoked meat coupled with competition from exotic species (i.e., bighead and silver carp) has compromised the sustainability of natural stocks of paddlefish.

To date, knowledge of paddlefish genetic diversity and delineation of potential genetic management units (GMUs) has been lacking. This information is prerequisite for effective, science-based management of the paddlefish resource based on the stock concept and population dynamics. The benefits of definitive paddlefish GMUs include more efficient propagation and supplementation regimes, minimizing outbreeding and inbreeding risks, superior broodstock management and choice strategies, etc. Furthermore, genetic analyses can provide key biological information including estimates of paddlefish effective population sizes, estimates of the number of spawning parents, mean relatedness of a cohort, and sex-specific differences in dispersal. Our office initiated a collaborative study to determine the variability of paddlefish genetics in Lake Francis Case and the Missouri River below Fort Randall and Gavins Point dams in 2004 and continued to collect tissue samples during 2005. Genetics analyses will be conducted by Dr. Brian Sloss, Assistant Unit Leader of the Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point. Additional tissue sample collections have been coordinated with South Dakota Department of Game Fish and Parks and the Nebraska Game Fish and Parks Commission.


Publications and Research Reports »

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Peer-reviewed publications

James, D. A., M. L. Bothwell, S. R. Chipps, and J. Carreiro. In press. Use of phosphorus to reduce blooms of the benthic diatom Didymosphenia geminata in an oligotrophic stream. Freshwater Science.


Steffensen, K.D., S. Stukel, and D.A. Shuman. 2014. The status of Nebraska fishes in the Missouri River: Shoal Chub Macrhybopsis hyostoma, Sicklefin Chub M. meeki, Sturgeon Chub M. gelida, Silver Chub M. Storeriana, Flathead Chub Platygobio gracilis, Western Silvery Minnow H. argyritis, Brassy Minnow H. hankinsoni, and Plains Minnow Hybognathus placitus. Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences and Affiliated Societies. 34:49-67.


 Steffensen, K.D., S. Stukel, and D.A. Shuman. 2014. The status of Nebraska fishes in the Missouri River: Sauger Sander canadensis. Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences and Affiliated Societies. 34:68-79.


Steffensen, K.D., S. Stukel, and D. A. Shuman. 2014. The Status of Fishes in the Missouri River, Nebraska: Shovelnose Sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus). Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences and Affiliated Societies 34:16-26.


Steffensen, K.D., S. Stukel, and D. A. Shuman. 2014. The Status of Fishes in the Missouri River, Nebraska: Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens). Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences and Affiliated Societies 34:40-45.


James, D. A., J. L. Fischer, J. D. Laube, and M. E. Spindler. 2014. An accuracy assessment of ultrasonic transmitter locations determined by mobile telemetry in aquatic systems. Fisheries Management and Ecology 21:421-425. DOI: 10.1111/fme.12089.


Steffensen, K. D., D. A. Shuman, R. A. Klumb, and S. Stukel. 2014. The Status of Fishes in the Missouri River, Nebraska: Pallid Sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus). Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences 34:3-15.


Fincel, M. J., D. A. James, S. R. Chipps, and B. A. Davis. 2014. Using cumulative diet data and stable isotope analysis to determine trophic position of walleye in a large, complex system. Journal of Freshwater Ecology. 29:441-447. DOI: 10.1080/02705060.2014.910713.


James, D. A., K. Mosel, and S.R. Chipps. 2014. The influence of light, stream gradient, and iron on Didymosphenia geminata bloom development in the Black Hills, South Dakota. Hydrobiologia 721:117-127. DOI: 10.1007/s10750-013-1654-y.


Bothwell, M. L., C. Kilroy, B. W. Taylor, E. T. Ellison, D. A. James, C. Gillis, K. D. Bladon, and U. Silins. 2012. Iron is not responsible for Didymosphenia geminata bloom formation in phosphorus-poor rivers. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 69: 1723–1727.


Spindler, B. D., S. R. Chipps., R.A. Klumb, B. D. S. Graeb, and M. C. Wimberly. 2012. Habitat and prey availability attributes associated with juvenile and early adult pallid sturgeon occurrence in the Missouri River. Endangered Species Research 16:225-234. http://www.int-res.com/journals/esr/esr-home/


James, D. A., I. J. Csargo, A. Von Eschen, M.D. Thul, J. M. Baker, C. A. Hayer, J. Howell, J. Krause, A. Letvin, and S. R. Chipps. 2012. A generalized model for estimating the energy density of invertebrates. Freshwater Science 31:69-77.


Shuman, D. A., R. A. Klumb, R.Wilson, M. Jaeger, T. Haddix, B. Gardner, W. Doyle, P.Horner, M. Ruggles, K. Steffensen, S. Stukel, and G. A. Wanner. 2011. Pallid sturgeon growth, condition, and size structure within the Missouri River basin. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 27:269-281.


Rapp, T., D. A. Shuman, B. D. S. Graeb, and E. J. Peters. 2011. Diet composition and feeding patterns of adult shovelnose sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus) in the lower Platte River, Nebraska, USA. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 27:351-355.


Wanner, G. A., R. A. Klumb, D. A. Shuman, K. Steffensen, S. Stukel, and N. J. Utrup. 2010. Comparison of green and white mesh trammel nets and gill nets to assess the fish community in a large river. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 30:12-25.


Wanner, G. A., and R. A. Klumb. 2009. Length-weight relationships for three Asian carp species in the Missouri River. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 24:489-495.


Grohs, K. L., R. A. Klumb, S. R. Chipps, and G. A. Wanner. 2009. Ontogenetic patterns in prey use by pallid sturgeon in the Missouri River, South Dakota and Nebraska. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 25:48-53.


Sloss, B. L., R. A. Klumb, and E. J. Heist. 2009. Genetic conservation and paddlefish propagation. American Fisheries Society Symposium 66:307-327.


Wanner, G. A., R. A. Klumb, G. R. Jordan, and W. J. Stancill. 2007. Habitat use and movements of adult pallid sturgeon in the Missouri River downstream of Fort Randall Dam, South Dakota and Nebraska. Proceedings of the South Dakota Academy of Science 86:21-33.


Wanner, G. A., D. A. Shuman, M. L. Brown, and D. W. Willis. 2007. An initial assessment of sampling procedures for juvenile pallid sturgeon in the Missouri River downstream of Fort Randall Dam, South Dakota and Nebraska. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 23:529-538.


Shuman, D. A. and E. J. Peters. 2007. Evaluation of pulsed gastric lavage on the survival of captive shovelnose sturgeon. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 23:521-524.


Shuman, D. A., J. E. Parham, and E. J. Peters. 2007. Evaluation of the condition, structure, and growth of shovelnose sturgeon in the Lower Platte River, Nebraska. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 23:484-488.


Wanner, G. A., D. A. Shuman, and D. W. Willis. 2006. Food habits of juvenile pallid sturgeon and adult shovelnose sturgeon in the Missouri River below Fort Randall Dam, South Dakota. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 22:81-92.


Wanner, G. A. 2006. Evaluation of a gastric lavage method on juvenile pallid sturgeon. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 26:587-591.


Shuman, D. A., D. W. Willis, and S. C. Krentz. 2006. Application of a length-categorization system for pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus). Journal of Freshwater Ecology 21:71-78.


Jordan, G. R., R. A. Klumb, G. A. Wanner, and W. J. Stancill. 2006. Post-stocking movements of hatchery-reared juvenile pallid sturgeon in the Missouri River below Fort Randall Dam, South Dakota and Nebraska. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 135:1499-1511.


Roush, K. D., C. P. Paukert, and W. Stancill. 2003. Distribution and movement of juvenile paddlefish in a mainstem Missouri River reservoir. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 18:79-88.


Paukert, C. P., W. Stancill, T. J. DeBates, and D. W. Willis. 2003. Predatory of effects of northern pike and largemouth bass: bioenergetic modeling and 10 years of fish community sampling. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 18:13-24.


Stancill, W., G. R. Jordan, and C. P. Paukert. 2002. Seasonal migration patterns and site fidelity of adult paddlefish in Lake Francis Case, Missouri River. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 22:815-824.

Reports

James, D. A. 2015. Base Lake, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska: 2014 Fisheries Survey Report. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Great Plains Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, Pierre, SD.


Pierce, L. L., D. A. Shuman, R. A. Klumb, D. A. James, and K. L. Grohs. 2014. 2013 Annual Report. Pallid sturgeon population assessment and associated fish community monitoring for the Missouri River: Segments 5 and 6. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Great Plains Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, Pierre, South Dakota. Prepared for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Missouri River Recovery Program. April 2014.


Shuman, D. A., R. A. Klumb, D. A. James, and K. L. Grohs. 2013. 2012 Annual Report. Pallid sturgeon population assessment and associated fish community monitoring for the Missouri River: Segments 5 and 6. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Great Plains Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, Pierre, South Dakota. Prepared for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Missouri River Recovery Program. October 2013.


Shuman, D. A., R. A. Klumb, D. A. James, and K. L. Grohs. 2011 Floodplain Sampling Report for the Fish Community in the Missouri River: Segments 5 & 6. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Great Plains Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, Pierre, South Dakota. Prepared for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Missouri River Recovery Program. August 2013.


James, D. A. 2013. A survey for the aquatic invasive species New Zealand mudsnail Potamopyrgus antipodarum in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Prepared for the Aquatic Nuisance Species Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Region 6, Lakewood, Colorado. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Great Plains Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, Pierre, South Dakota.


James, D. A. 2013. Risk Potential for the Aquatic Invasive Species Didymosphenia geminata to Bloom in Selected Streams of the Black Hills, South Dakota. Prepared for the Aquatic Nuisance Species Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Region 6, Lakewood, Colorado. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Great Plains Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, Pierre, South Dakota.


Shuman, D. A. and R. A. Klumb. 2012. 2011 annual report. Pallid sturgeon population assessment and associated fish community monitoring for the Missouri River: Segments 5 and 6. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Great Plains Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, Pierre, South Dakota. Prepared for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Missouri River Recovery Program. April 2012.


Klumb, R. A., D. A. Shuman, D. A. James, and K. L. Grohs. 2012. Movement Patterns of Age-1 and Age-7 Pallid Sturgeon Within the Missouri River During Record 2011 Discharges Downstream of Fort Randall Dam. Progress Report Prepared for Western Area Power Administration, Billings, Montana and the Upper Basin Pallid Sturgeon Workgroup U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Great Plains Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, Pierre, South Dakota.


Shuman, D. A., R. A. Klumb, G. A. Wanner, and K. L. Grohs. 2011. 2010 annual report. Pallid sturgeon population assessment and associated fish community monitoring for the Missouri River: Segments 5 and 6. Prepared for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Northwest Division. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pierre, South Dakota.


Wanner, G. A., M. A. Pegg, S. Schainost, R. A. Klumb, and D. A. Shuman. 2011. River geomorphology and fish barriers affect on spatial and temporal patterns of fish assemblages in the Niobrara River, Nebraska. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pierre, South Dakota.


Wanner, G. A., K. L. Grohs, and R. A. Klumb. 2011. Spatial and temporal patterns and the influence of abiotic factors on larval fish catches in the lower Niobrara River, Nebraska. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pierre, South Dakota.


Wanner, G. A., D. A. Shuman, K. L. Grohs, and R. A. Klumb. 2010. Population characteristics of sturgeon and Asian carp in the Niobrara River downstream of Spencer Dam, Nebraska in 2008 and 2009. Prepared for Nebraska Public Power District - Columbus, Nebraska. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pierre, South Dakota.


Grohs, K. L., and R. A. Klumb. 2010. Asian clam sampling on five South Dakota reservations. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pierre, South Dakota.


Grohs, K. L., D. A. Shuman, and R. A. Klumb. 2010. Asian clam sampling on the Missouri River downstream of the Big Bend Dam in Lake Francis Case, South Dakota. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pierre, South Dakota.


Shuman, D.A., R. A. Klumb, K. L. Grohs, and G. A. Wanner. 2010. 2009 annual report. Pallid sturgeon population assessment and associated fish community monitoring for the Missouri River: Segments 5 and 6. Prepared for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Northwest Division. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pierre, South Dakota.


Wanner, G. A., M. P. Nenneman, M. Lindvall, and M. A. Kaemingk. 2009. Common carp abundance, biomass, and removal from Dewey and Clear lakes on the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge: Does trapping and removing carp pay off? U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pierre, South Dakota.


Wanner, G. A., and R. A. Klumb. 2009. Asian carp in the Missouri River: Analysis from multiple Missouri River habitat and fisheries programs. Prepared for the Aquatic Nuisance Species Coordinator, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Region 6, Lakewood, Colorado. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pierre, South Dakota.


Wanner, G. A., M. A. Pegg, D. A. Shuman, and R. A. Klumb. 2009. Niobrara River fish community downstream of Spencer Dam, Nebraska. 2008 Progress Report. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pierre, South Dakota.


Shuman, D. A., R. A. Klumb, and G. A. Wanner. 2009. Pallid sturgeon population assessment project and associated fish community monintoring for the Missouri River: segments 5 and 6. 2008 Annual Report. Prepared for the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers-Northwest Division. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pierre, South Dakota.


Shuman, D. A., G. A. Wanner, R. A. Klumb, and W. J. Stancill. 2008. Pallid sturgeon population assessment project and associated fish community monitoring for the Missouri River: segments 5 and 6. 2007 Annual Report. Prepared for the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers-Northwest Division. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pierre, South Dakota.


Klumb, R. A. 2007. Shallow water fish communities in the Missouri River downstream of Fort Randall Gavins Point dams in 2003 and 2004 with emphasis on Asian carps. Prepared for the Aquatic Nuisance Species Coordinator, USFWS, Region 6, Lakewood, Colorado. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pierre, South Dakota.


Berg, K., and R. Klumb. 2007. Macroinvertebrate sampling in the Missouri River below Fort Randall and Gavins Point dams during 2005 and 2006. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pierre, South Dakota.


Shuman, D. A., G. A. Wanner, R. A. Klumb, and W. J. Stancill. 2007. Pallid sturgeon population assessment project and associated fish community monitoring for the Missouri River: segments 5 and 6. 2006 Annual Report. Prepared for the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers-Northwest Division. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pierre, South Dakota.


Shuman, D. A., G. A. Wanner, and R. A. Klumb. 2006. Pallid sturgeon population assessment and associated fish community monitoring for the Missouri River: segments 5 and 6. 2005 Annual Report. Prepared for the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City and Omaha Districts. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pierre, South Dakota.


Shuman, D. A., R. A. Klumb, and S. T. McAlpin. 2005. Pallid sturgeon population assessment and associated fish community monitoring for the Missouri River: segments 5 and 6. 2004 Annual Report. Prepared for the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City and Omaha Districts. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pierre, South Dakota.


U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2003. An evaluation of sampling techniques and life history information on bighead carp in the Missouri River below Gavins Point Dam, South Dakota and Nebraska. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Great Plains Fish and Wildlife Management Assistance Office, Pierre, South Dakota.


Valentine NWR »

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Map of the lakes that are open to fishing on the Valentine NWR.  Direction of water flow is depicted by arrows and refuge trails are depicted dotted lines. Credit: USFWS.

Map of the lakes that are open to fishing on the Valentine NWR. Direction of water flow is depicted by arrows and refuge trails are depicted dotted lines. Credit: USFWS.

The Valentine National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was established in 1935 to provide feeding and resting areas for migrating waterfowl. Public recreation that is compatible with the purposes of the refuge, including hunting and fishing, is promoted. Management of the fisheries is defined in a 1978 Cooperative Agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC).

The Valentine NWR contains 39 lakes. The majority of the lakes are small, shallow, potholes that are subject to frequent winter-kills. Nine Lakes are open to fishing: Pelican, Hackberry, Dewey, Clear, Willow, Watts, Duck, Rice, and West Long (Figure 1). These lakes have varying degrees of potential for fisheries management. All of the designated fishing lakes, except Rice Lake, are accessible by vehicles.

Common carp (Cyprinus carpio) gained access to the Valentine NWR lake system through Gordon Ditch, which was dug during the 1930's. Carp reproduce well in the shallow, highly-vegetated refuge lakes and generally dominate the fishery within 10 years after introduction. Degradation of aquatic habitats by carp is well documented and high numbers of carp are detrimental to waterfowl and game fish habitat. These refuge lakes have a long history of chemical renovation to remove carp. Historically, for about five years after a renovation and re-stocking game fish, angling is excellent, duck use is high, and then both decline due to carp-induced habitat degradation. Fisheries biologists from the Service and NGPC have experimented with the use of northern pike (Esox lucius) as a biological carp-control. Early attempts were unsuccessful because northern pike were introduced after carp were well established and subsequently too large to be controlled by predation.

In 1988, northern pike and largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) length limits were changed for Valentine NWR lakes in an attempt to increase abundance and size structure of predators. The size restrictions appeared to be successful as carp numbers stabilized in lakes where the restrictions were enacted. However, strong year classes of carp during years where northern pike populations were down have led to recruitment and higher abundance of carp populations in some lakes. Success has not been without perceived drawbacks. Predation by northern pike has likely reduced the abundance and altered the size structure of largemouth bass, yellow perch (Perca flavescens), and bluegills (Lepomis macrochirus). Environmental conditions have likely had greater effects on recreational fisheries such as a 1987-88 winter-kill, low reproduction and recruitment due to drought conditions during the summers of 1989 – 1990 and 2002-2007, and an extremely cool spring/summer during 1992 and 1993. The springs of 1994-97 were exceptionally wet, and these conditions provided good habitat and conditions for strong year classes for most fish species. However, high water levels also connected lakes that are usually isolated, which allowed fish movement.

Northern pike have been identified as a possible tool for controlling common carp, and evaluating their potential is a high priority for the refuge's fisheries. Many of the results from fishery assessments identified in this report are directed at: 1) evaluating northern pike as biological control agent for carp, 2) evaluating northern pike recruitment and condition in response to the special regulation allowing harvest of northern pike less than 28 inches, and 3) evaluating the impacts of the special northern pike regulations on other game fish populations.


2012 Valentine NWR Annual Fisheries Assessment
2011 Valentine NWR Annual Fisheries Assessment
2010 Valentine NWR Annual Fisheries Assessment
2009 Valentine NWR Annual Fisheries Assessment
2009 final report on common carp abundance, biomass, and removal from Dewey Lake
2008 Valentine NWR Annual Fisheries Assessment
2007 Valentine NWR Annual Fisheries Assessment
2006 Valentine NWR Annual Fisheries Assessment
2005 Valentine NWR Annual Fisheries Assessment


Tribal Fisheries »

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The Great Plains Fish and Wildlife Conservation office provides technical assistance to Tribes in South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas. Most Tribal lands lack natural lakes and contain few streams that will support recreational fisheries. Most angling opportunities are provided in impoundments developed for livestock and are the focal point of most fish management on Tribal lands. We help identify priority areas for fisheries management, make recommendations, and provide technical assistance for fishery surveys; however, the final decisions are left to the respective Tribal fish and wildlife program.

Tribal Fisheries Management and Reports (tribal lands within the state in parentheses):


Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

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Map of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation identifying major rivers and reservoirs managed for fishery recreation. Credit: USFWS.

Map of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation identifying major rivers and reservoirs managed for fishery recreation. Credit: USFWS.

Since 1951, the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) have cooperated in the management of the fishery resources on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The USFWS provides technical assistance and fish stocking as needed for management. The Tribe provides man-power and program direction. Oglala Sioux Parks and Recreation Authority (OSPRA) has adopted fishing regulations including: bag limits, license fees, and maintains a staff of conservation officers to enforce the regulations.

Stunting, overpopulation of rough fish (e.g., common carp Cyprinus carpio , white suckers Catostomus commersoni), and winter-kill have been the most frequent fish management problems in the impoundments. Heavy rains have periodically “flushed” the creeks and reestablishment of trout Oncorhynchus mykiss fisheries has been required. Stunting of game fish and overpopulation by rough fish in impoundments have been treated by chemical eradication and restocked with game and forage fish. Winter kills have been treated by restocking with fish resistant to winter kill (e.g., yellow perch Perca flavescens and northern pike Esox lucius) or stocking largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides and bluegill Lepomis macrochirus in good water years, with hopes that these conditions hold long enough to establish a recreational fishery. A small, catchable rainbow trout program was carried out between 1951 and 1992 and was popular with local residents. However, this program was discontinued because of poor return to the creel. Sedimentation has contributed to declining stream habitat conditions and the impoundments are poorly suited for trout due to elevated temperatures and low dissolved oxygen concentrations during the summer months.

Most streams on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation are low gradient, silt laden, and generally unsuitable for game fish. However, these streams contain numerous native cyprinids and catostomids. A few streams that originate in the sandhills (e.g. Denby creek) or in pine covered canyon areas (e.g. No Flesh Creek and Corn Creek) are relatively clear and cool and have held trout populations prior to the 1990’s.

Currently, most game fish populations are found in six reservoirs across the reservation ranging in size from 6 to 283 ha (15 to 700 acres) including: Oglala, White Clay, Wolf Creek, Denby, Kyle, and Yellow Bear reservoirs (Figure 1). Currently, Wolf Creek Dam structure is being renovated which limits fishing opportunities at this time.

Resources


Lower Brule Indian Reservation

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The prairie on the Lower Brule Indian Reservation provides excellent habitat for both migratory and resident birds, elk Cervus canadensis, buffalo Bison bison, pronghorn Antilocapra americana, whitetail Odocoileus virginianus and mule deer O. hemionus, coyote Canis latrans, badger Taxidea taxus, and prairie dogs Cynomys ludovicianus. Low dams have been constructed across the Lower Brule Indian Reservation to collect precious water for livestock including buffalo. These small reservoirs provide additional habitat for birds and mammals while providing recreational fishing opportunities.

Lower Brule has been assisted by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service in managing their fishery resources (with varying degrees of assistance) since 1958. During this time, several different management approaches have been tried including netting and electrofishing surveys, stocking fish, and attempting to establish and maintain a cold water trout fishery.

Today, emphasis has been focused on managing reservoirs as sport fisheries for cool and warm water fish including northern pike Esox lucius, largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides, bluegill Lepomis macrochirus, yellow perch Perca flavescens, and black crappie Pomoxis nigromaculatus. This involves surveys with electrofishing gear. The collected data is then used to help Tribal personnel with the establishment of regulations and fish stocking strategies that will allow them to meet there management goals.

Resources


Rosebud Indian Reservation

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Map of reservoirs managed for recreational fisheries on Rosebud Indian Reservation. Credit: USFWS.

Map of reservoirs managed for recreational fisheries on Rosebud Indian Reservation. Credit: USFWS.

Resources


Station Employee Contact Information »

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Station Employees

Dane Shuman helping children during kids fishing day Credit: USFWS.

Dane Shuman helping children during kids fishing day Credit: USFWS.

Dane Shuman
Fish and Wildlife Biologist | Acting Project Leader
Phone: (605) 224-8693 ext. 233
dane_shuman@fws.gov

Dane joined the Great Plains FWCO in 2004. For the last 15 years, he has been working with both Shovelnose Sturgeon and the endangered Pallid Sturgeon as well as other native fish in large rivers of the Upper Midwest. Dane received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Doane College, Nebraska in Environmental Studies in 1998 then continued on to receive a Master of Science Degree at University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Natural Resource Sciences with a specialization in aquatic ecology in 2003. In his current position with the Service, Dane oversees daily operations and support efforts to recover and conserve native fish in small streams and large rivers of the Upper Great Plains and assists the Department of Defense with implementation of the Sikes Act.


Photo of Dan James on the River. Credit: USFWS.

Photo of Dan James on the River. Credit: USFWS.

Dan James
Fish and Wildlife Biologist
Phone: (605) 224-8693 ext. 225
daniel_james@fws.gov

Dan James joined the Great Plains FWCO in 2011 as a Fish and Wildlife Biologist. After earning Bachelor's (1999) and Master's (2002) of Science degrees in Biology from the University of South Dakota, he worked as a fisheries biologist for more than five years before pursuing and receiving a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Fisheries Science from South Dakota State University in 2011.

Dan works as a USFWS liaison to the US Air Force to provide assistance for scientific research, fish and wildlife management, invasive species management, and conservation of native, threatened, and endangered species. He also represents the USFWS on the Missouri River pallid sturgeon Effects Analysis team and assists with the Pallid Sturgeon Population Assessment Program. In addition, Dan serves as lead biologist for tribal fisheries management assistance and as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at South Dakota State University in Brookings. Finally, Dan works with the USFWS Aquatics Invasive Species program specializing in issues related to the diatom Didymosphenia geminata.


Photo of Kristen Grohs and a large adult Pallid sturgeon. Credit: USFWS.

Photo of Kristen Grohs and a large adult Pallid sturgeon. Credit: USFWS.

Kristen Grohs
Fish and Wildlife Biologist (Term)
Phone: (605) 224-8693 ext. 228
kristen_grohs@fws.gov

Kristen Grohs received her Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at South Dakota State University in 2004 and then earned her Master’s of Science Degree at South Dakota State University in 2008 with an emphasis in Fisheries Sciences.

Kristen is the lead biologist for the Lake Sharpe Paddlefish Project and assists with the Missouri River Pallid Sturgeon Population Assessment Program. She specializes in macroinvertebrate and larval fish identification.  In addition, Kristen is the Property Officer and Collateral Duty Safety Officer for the Great Plains FWCO.


Photo of Landon Pierce. Credit: USFWS.

Photo of Landon Pierce. Credit: USFWS.

Landon Pierce
Biological Science Technician (Term)
Phone: (605) 224-8693 ext. 230
landon_pierce@fws.gov

Landon Pierce joined the Great Plains FWCO in February 2014 and now leads the Pallid Sturgeon Population Assessment Program for this office.

Landon received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Fisheries and Wildlife from the University of Nebraska (2007) and a Master’s of Science in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from South Dakota State University (2010). He is currently a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Missouri. His experience includes conducting a population assessment for paddlefish in Lake Francis Case, SD, and evaluating factors that structure lotic fish assemblages.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with Others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American People.
Last modified: April 13, 2015
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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