Prioritizing Reservoir Habitat Rrestoration Eefforts Using the Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership's Assessment Data

Monday, September 9, 2013: 1:20 PM
Izard (Statehouse Convention Center)
Jeff Boxrucker , Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership, Norman, OK
Leandro E. Miranda , U.S. Geological Survey, Mississippi Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Mississippi State, MS
Rebecca Krogman , Fisheries Branch, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Sacramento, CA
The Southwest District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Bass Pro Shops and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation that addressed, among other issues, aquatic habitat impairments in the respective reservoirs. The Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership (RFHP) was asked to provide a priority listing of reservoirs based on the extent of aquatic habitat impairments. Sixty-four reservoirs in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas were ranked based on data from a nationwide survey of reservoir managers assessing the degree of impairment of 52 habitat variables. These data were combined into an “Index of Relative Habitat Impairment” to give a numerical value to the suite of impairments. The top five impaired reservoirs in the SW District were Hugo (OK), Navarro Mills (TX), Bardwell (TX), Great Salt Plains (OK), and B.A. Steinhagen (TX). Generally, habitat degradation related to siltation was prevalent among the listed reservoirs. Lack of aquatic vegetation, sedimentation, loss of cove habitat due to depositional filling, turbidity, seasonally mistimed water level fluctuations, excessive littoral mudflats, and insufficient structure were aquatic habitat issues in 52%, 34%, 28%, 27%, 27%, 24%, and 20%, respectively.