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Partners view possible pond habitat for propagation of Topeka shiners at Neosho National Fish Hatchery in March 2014. Photo by USFWS

Partners view possible pond habitat for propagation of Topeka shiners at Neosho National Fish Hatchery in March 2014. Photo by USFWS.

Topeka Shiner Recovery Efforts in Missouri:
Highlights of an Excellent Partnership

On November 21, 2014, a partnership was forged among Neosho National Fish Hatchery, the Service’s Columbia, Missouri Ecological Services Field Office, and the Missouri Department of Conservation when a memorandum of understanding was signed by all parties involved. This action enables Neosho to assist the Service and the state of Missouri in the propagation of Topeka shiners for reintroduction efforts in northern Missouri to help meet recovery goals established in the state’s 2010 10-Year Strategic Plan for the Recovery of the Topeka Shiner in Missouri.

The effort began on July 17, 2013, when the Service published a final rule in the Federal Register outlining the establishment of a non-essential experimental population of Topeka shiner at three sites in northern Missouri. Since the completion of Missouri’s 10-year strategic plan, the state’s Lost Valley Hatchery successfully developed propagation protocols for spawning Topeka shiners in pond habitats. These propagation efforts led to the release of 3,300 Topeka shiners at The Nature Conservancy’s Dunn Ranch and Missouri Department of Conservation’s Pawnee Prairie on November 6, 2013. Fish released at these sites successfully spawned and produced progeny in 2014.

On October 20, 2014, Missouri released approximately 9,500 Topeka shiners in several ponds and streams within Union Ridge Conservation Area in north central Missouri. This release site was the third identified in the Service’s 2013 final rule for a non-essential experimental population.

The success of reintroductions in northern Missouri will be monitored by state personnel to assess the feasibility of Topeka shiner releases at two additional sites in the near future. The identification of additional release sites will be done in collaboration between the Service and Missouri Department of Conservation and will contribute to the state’s goal to establish seven populations (two extant and five reintroductions) in northern Missouri.

To further facilitate future propagation efforts of Topeka shiners in Missouri in the future, the Columbia Field Office coordinated a meeting at Neosho National Fish Hatchery in November 2014 with Missouri fisheries staff, personnel of the Lost Valley Hatchery and Neosho staff to determine the feasibility of Neosho becoming an additional partner propagating the species. The meeting resulted in the development of a memorandum of understanding among the partners that outlines the responsibilities of each entity in further propagation and release efforts of Topeka shiners in Missouri. The memorandum acknowledges and affirms the cooperative partnership among Service programs, agencies (including Fisheries staff and Lost Valley Hatchery personnel), and the Missouri Topeka Shiner Recovery Team/Working Group.

Neosho has been a valued partner with the Columbia Field Office in propagation efforts of other federally listed species like the pallid sturgeon, as well as freshwater drum which is the host fish for multiple federally listed freshwater mussels (e.g. fat pocket book, scaleshell and Higgins’ eye pearly mussel). The established partnership and resulting memorandum highlights the value of having multiple Service divisions in the recovery efforts of federally listed species.

By Paul McKenzie,
Columbia, Missouri Ecological Services Field Office
 

Hatchery Manager Dave Hendrix; Columbia, Missouri Ecological Services Fish and Wildlife Biologist Paul McKenzie; and Assistant Hatchery Manager Rod May enjoying their renewed friendship and partnership. Photo by USFWS

Hatchery Manager Dave Hendrix; Columbia, Missouri Ecological Services Fish and Wildlife Biologist Paul McKenzie; and Assistant Hatchery Manager Rod May enjoying their renewed friendship and partnership. Photo by USFWS.


Last updated: January 7, 2015