Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Columbia FWCO Samples Dalbey Bottoms on the Missouri River
Midwest Region, October 21, 2009
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Technician Adam McDaniel holding large pallid caught while sampling Dalbey Bottoms.
Technician Adam McDaniel holding large pallid caught while sampling Dalbey Bottoms. - Photo Credit: n/a

Dalbey Bottoms is located on the Missouri River between northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas near river mile (RM) 417.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has proposed to build a side channel chute along this stretch of the river.  The project would be part of the Missouri River Recovery Plan aimed at restoring habitat for pallid sturgeon.  Columbia FWCO and the USACE are cooperating to study Missouri River habitat at Dalbey Bottoms before and after construction of the side channel.  Fish are being studied to assess the ecological impact of the constructed chute on pallid sturgeon and other native Missouri River fishes.  Previous sampling trips to Dalbey Bottoms were dominated by trawling efforts to collect young of multiple species and assess the fish community.  During the third week of October, Biologists from Columbia FWCO completed sampling with trotlines at Dalbey Bottoms to assess abundance of adult pallid sturgeon.

We caught 14 pallid sturgeon and a lake sturgeon over the three day trip.  One of the pallids marked a new length record for the Columbia office, exceeding a meter in length.  The crew, while examining the large pallid, noticed a scar on the fish’s belly which was identified as a scar from an implanted ultrasonic transmitter.  USGS uses these transmitters to study fish movement in the Missouri River.  We notified USGS that we had captured one of their telemetry fish, and they later sent us details that the fish was a male caught and tagged in 2008 near Omaha, NE.

Construction of the Dalbey Bottoms side-channel is scheduled for the winter of 2009, and we plan to return in the spring to continue monitoring the fish community after construction.  The addition of this side-channel will add to the diversity of Missouri River’s habitat.  Along with other projects up and down the river, habitat projects will aide in the recovery of the endangered pallid sturgeon as well as other species of concern.  This cooperative effort provides an avenue to apply adaptive management and supports the Service’s Strategic Habitat Conservation program.

Adam McDaniel, Clayton Ridenour and Joe McMullen

Contact Info: Adam McDaniel, 573-445-5001 ex 26, adam_mcdaniel@fws.gov
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