Annual Sampling for Undocumented Fish and Benthic Invertebrate Species in Lakes Erie and Huron
BY ANJANETTE BOWEN AND ANDREW BRIGGS, ALPENA FWCO
of a Hester-Dendy trap that was set in Maumee Bay, Lake Erie. Credit: Andrew
The Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office completed a suite of annual surveys targeted at the early detection of non-native undocumented fish and select benthic invertebrate species at priority locations on Lakes Erie and Huron. No new undocumented species have been discovered to date following adult and juvenile fish sampling at three Lake Erie locations and one Lake Huron location; larval fish sampling at two Lake Erie locations and benthos/amphipod sampling at one pilot Lake Erie location. Larval fish analysis and benthos/amphipod analysis are currently in process and results are not yet available.
Adult and juvenile fish were sampled at Maumee Bay, Sandusky Bay, and the Detroit River on Lake Erie and at the lower St. Marys River on Lake Huron. A total of 45 units of effort were conducted at each sampling location using a combination of paired fyke nets, nighttime electrofishing, and either minnow trap arrays or benthic trawling. Over 19,294 adult and juvenile fish were observed - where 6,830 fish from 37 species were collected at Maumee Bay, 4,116 fish from 32 species were collected at Sandusky Bay, 2,918 fish from 43 species were collected at the Detroit River, and 5,430 fish from 47 species were collected at the lower St. Marys River on Lake Huron.
during a survey in Sandusky Bay, Lake Erie near Cedar Point.
Credit: Anjanette Bowen, USFWS
Larval fish were sampled at Maumee and Sandusky Bays on Lake Erie. A total of 30 units of effort were conducted in each bay using bongo nets and light traps. Twenty-two bongo net tows and eight light trap sets were conducted at Maumee Bay, and 24 bongo net tows and six light trap sets were conducted at Sandusky Bay. These samples are currently being taxonomically identified by the US Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Results documenting fish species present in the samples should be available in the New Year 2017. Sandusky Bay samples were screened for the presence of Grass Carp larvae; no larvae were discovered.
A pilot study to sample benthos and amphipods was conducted at Maumee Bay in 2016. Five Hester-Dendy colonization samplers were deployed from August 2016 to October 2016, and 21 amphipod trap lifts were also conducted. Taxonomic identification of these samples will begin in January 2017.
Information from these surveys will be compiled into annual reports on early detection and monitoring of non-native species in Lake Erie and Lake Huron and will be available on the Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office website.