Kansas State University
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Recruitment of Fishes in the Kansas River

Investigators
Joe Gerken, Ph.D. student
Dr. Craig Paukert

Project Supervisor
Dr. Craig Paukert


Funding
Kansas State University
Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks
Cooperators
Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks
Status
Completed
Completion
May 2013
Location
Kansas River in eastern Kansas
 
Objectives
Identify the biological and environmental factors that influence recruitment in the Kansas River.
Determine if year class strength of selected fishes is related to river flows, and if year class strength is consistent throughout the Kansas River.
Make recommendations of the conditions (flows) suitable for recruitment of large river fish.
Progress and Results
River discharge influences fish and invertebrate communities and understanding how hydrologic variables contribute to fish and invertebrate composition can provide information for restoration and management. This study examines the relationship between several flow regime metrics that may influence fish and invertebrate community structure in large river systems such as the Kansas River. First, I examined how hydrology influences macroinvertebrate (drifting and benthic) density and fish communities before, during, and after flooding in both main and secondary channels. I found that drifting invertebrate density increased during flooding potentially providing increased prey opportunities for fishes. I also found that fluvial dependent and generalist fish species use inundated habitats more than fluvial specialists. My results suggest that the flux of water into inundated habitats supports a unique subset of invertebrate and fish communities of the main channel. Next, I examined the importance of lateral connectivity on fish and invertebrate composition by examining differences in seasonally and permanently inundated secondary channels in relation to main channel reaches. I found that drifting and benthic invertebrate assemblages and fish assemblages differed between seasonally inundated and permanently connected secondary channels. These results suggest that maintenance of diverse secondary channel connections is useful in preserving native biota in the Kansas River. Finally, I tested if hydrologic variables influenced recruitment of four native Kansas River fishes. I found that recruitment for two of the four fish species (flathead catfish, Pylodictis olivaris, and shovelnose sturgeon, Scaphirhynchus platorynchus) increased in high flow years. These results indicate that a natural and variable flow regime may be important for maintaining fish community structure in the Kansas River. The results of this study have implications for management strategies that include the use of high flows to provide a pulse of insect prey to the main channel for fishes, restoration of natural high and low flow variability as important to fish recruitment, and diversity in secondary channel connectivity (seasonal and permanently connected) that promotes unique fish and invertebrate communities.



KSRiver


Products:
Dissertation:

Gerken, J.E. Fish and invertebrate community response to flow magnitude in the Kansas River. Ph.D. Dissertation. Division of Biology, Kansas State University.

Publications:

Gerken, J., and C. Paukert. 2013. Fish community and habitat factors associated with the distribution of Topeka shiner (Notropis topeka) in Kansas streams. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 28: 503-516 DOI: 10.1080/02705060.2013.792754

White, K., J. Gerken, C. Paukert, and A. Makinster. 2010. Fish community structure in natural and engineered habitats in the Kansas River. River Research and Applications. Vol. 26, pp. 797-805

Professional Presentations:

Gerken, J., and C. Paukert. 2011. Age-specific demography of silver carp: implications for management and control. American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA.

Gerken, J., and C. Paukert. 2011. Can silver carp be controlled? Population level response to various management regimes. Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, Des Moines, IA.

Gerken, J., and C. Paukert. 2011. The importance of high flows and floodplain inundation for fish and invertebrates of the Kansas River. Kansas Natural Resources Conference, Wichita, KS.

Mammoliti, K., J. Gerken, and C. Paukert. 2010. Population characteristics of channel catfish in the Kansas River. Kansas Natural Resources Conference, Wichita, KS.

Gerken, J. E., and C. P. Paukert. 2010. Fish recruitment in the Kansas River: the role of flow, habitat, and urbanization. Kansas Natural Resources Conference, Wichita, KS.

White, K., J. Gerken, C. Paukert, and A. Makinster. 2010. Fish community structure in natural and engineered habitats in the Kansas River. Kansas Natural Resources Conference, Wichita, KS.

Paukert, C. and J. Gerken. 2010. The Importance of secondary channels to mainchannel fishes in the Kansas River. Big River Confab, Jefferson City, MO.

Gerken, J., and C. Paukert. 2010. Floods and fishes: examining the role of high flows on fish and invertebrates in a large Great Plains River. Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, St. Paul, MN.

Gerken, J., and C. Paukert. 2010. Testing the flood pulse concept: The importance of floodplain inundation on fish and invertebrates of a Great Plains river. American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, PA.

Gerken, J. E., and C. P. Paukert. 2009. Effects of urbanization on recruitment of Riverine fishes. 70th Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, Springfield, IL.

Gerken, J. E., and C. P. Paukert. 2009. Topeka shiners status and trends in Kansas. 70th Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, Springfield, IL.

Gerken, J., and C. Paukert. 2009. Spatial variation in the recruitment patterns of three riverine fishes in the Kansas River. American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting, Nashville, TN.

Gerken, J., and C. Paukert. 2009. Spatial variation in the recruitment patterns of three riverine fishes in the Kansas River. KSU Biology Student Research Forum, Manhattan, KS.

Gerken, J., W. Bouska, and C. Paukert. 2009. Effects of instream habitat and fish communities on the endangered Topeka shiner in Kansas streams. Kansas Natural Resources Conference, Wichita, KS.

Gerken, J.E., and C.P. Paukert. 2009. Impacts of a low-head dam on fish communities in the Kansas River. Kansas Natural Resources Conference, Wichita, KS.

Gerken, J.E., and C.P. Paukert. 2009. Factors impacting Topeka shiner distribution in Kansas. American Fisheries Society Midwest Student Colloquium, Annual Meeting, Ames, IA.

Gerken, J.E., and C.P. Paukert. 2009. Impacts of a low-head dam on a Great Plains River Fish Community. American Fisheries Society Midwest Student Colloquium, Annual Meeting, Ames, IA.

Gerken, J. E., and C. P. Paukert. 2008. Fish recruitment in the Kansas River: the role of flow, habitat, and urbanization. Kansas Natural Resources Conference, Wichita, KS.

Gerken, J., and C. P. Paukert. 2008. Effects of a low-head dam on the fish community of a large Great Plains river. Southwestern Association of Naturalists, Memphis, TN.

Gerken, J., and C. Paukert. 2008. Effects of a low-head dam on the fish community of a large Great Plains River. American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting, Ottawa, Canada.

Gerken, J., and C. Paukert. 2008. Fish community changes associated with a low-head dam in a large Great Plains river. Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, Columbus, OH.