A Comprehensive Approach to Reservoir Fish Habitat Management in Table Rock Lake

Tuesday, September 10, 2013: 8:00 AM
Izard (Statehouse Convention Center)
Michael J. Allen , Fisheries, Missouri Department of Conservation, Branson, MO
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), Bass Pro Shops, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and Arkansas Game and Fish Commission are currently working on a five year project to maintain and enhance the fish habitat in Table Rock Lake and serve as a pilot project in a broader national program focusing on habitat restoration within reservoirs.  Project objectives include improving fish habitat and water quality within Table Rock Lake and its tributaries, and improving habitat and water quality in Lake Taneycomo, the tail water of Table Rock Lake.  To date, over 2,000 fish habitat structures comprised of stumps, rocks, pine, cedar, and hardwood trees have been installed in Table Rock Lake.  MDC is using electrofishing, SCUBA surveys, radio telemetry, and angler creel surveys to evaluate the effectiveness of these habitat structures.  In Lake Taneycomo, 71 boulder clusters have been installed to improve trout habitat.  MDC is also working to improve the watershed by providing cost-share benefits to landowners.  Over 2,000 septic tanks have been pumped around the lake in an effort to reduce non-point sources of pollution into Table Rock Lake.  Additionally, eight stream bank stabilization projects have been completed in the watershed to stop soil erosion and reduce sediment input into the lake.  This project has proven to be an excellent opportunity to proactively maintain and enhance fish habitat in and around two of the Midwest's most popular sport fisheries and is providing a national example for sustaining and improving reservoir sportfish populations through large-scale habitat improvements.