Topeka Shiner Slideshow
Reintroduction into Missouri Streams and Ponds
Reintroducing Topeka Shiners at Dunn Ranch and Pawnee Prairie:
Fruition of an Interagency Partnership
Topeka shiners, an endangered fish, were released into ponds and a stream at The Nature Conservancy’s Dunn Ranch and ponds at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Pawnee Prairie in northern Missouri on Nov. 6, 2013. The reintroduction followed establishment of a non-essential experimental population of Topeka shiners (Notropis topeka), a process that set the stage for the reintroductions. This designation, under the federal Endangered Species Act, gives wildlife managers flexibility in working with the reintroduced Topeka shiners and provides nearby private landowners with reassurance that the presence of a protected species will not affect their activities. A final rule published in the Federal Register outlines the non-essential experimental population areas (available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-07-17/pdf/2013-17087.pdf).
The reintroductions were a coordinated effort between the Service’s Columbia, Missouri Ecological Services Field Office, the Missouri Department of Conservation, and The Nature Conservancy.
Missouri Department of Conservation staff hatched and reared Topeka shiners at their Lost Valley Hatchery in Warsaw and hauled the fish to Dunn Ranch and Pawnee Prairie. Staff transferred fish from the hatchery truck to coolers before releasing them.
The reintroductions are part of the Missouri Department of Conservation recovery goal to maintain seven populations (outlined in the agency’s 2010: A Ten Year Strategic Plan for the Recovery of the Topeka Shiner in Missouri). They released 3,300 fish into three ponds and one stream on Dunn Ranch and two ponds at Pawnee Prairie. Staff also released a small number of orange-spotted Sunfish (Lepomis humilis) because the Topeka shiner actively spawns in unison with this fish. Topeka shiners deposit their eggs into sunfish nests and leave them for male sunfish to guard and fan.
Pond habitats used for the release are similar to off-channel habitats that Topeka shiners use in northern parts of its range. Personnel of Lost Valley Hatchery successfully propagated Topeka shiners in ponds and expect that the shiners will spawn in ponds at Dunn Ranch and Pawnee Prairie.
Establishing a non-essential experimental population and reintroducing this critically imperiled fish will prevent extirpation of Topeka shiners and help restore populations of this small fish in Missouri.
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