Migratory, River-Spawning Fishes in the Great Lakes: Conserving the Whole Guild and Not Just the Megafauna

Thursday, September 12, 2013: 10:40 AM
Miller (Statehouse Convention Center)
Matthew E. Herbert , The Nature Conservancy, Lansing, MI
Mary Khoury , The Nature Conservancy, Chicago, IL
Patrick J. Doran , The Nature Conservancy, Lansing, MI
Fish migration between the Great Lakes and its tributaries is critical for population structure, fisheries production in the region, important nutrient transport, and other services.  These migratory populations have been highly impacted by an extensive system of barriers in the region, as well as other impacts on spawning habitat.  Unfortunately, most migratory fish species in the Great Lakes lack conservation assessments and are largely understudied.  We conducted a pilot project using a wide variety of riverine and coastal data to map and prioritize tributaries important to these species for the US waters of Lake Huron.  In that process we identified a suite of species and reviewed data and knowledge gaps for this guild.  The results of that project will be presented and discussed, including some of the challenges in dealing with a guild that is so understudied.  An approach to conserving this guild will also be presented.