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Title: Application of the habitat evaluation procedures in the Cypress Bayou Basin, Texas
Authors: Killgore, K. Jack.
Hathorn, Paul M.
Keywords: Fish habitat improvement--Texas--Cypress Bayou Basin
Habitat (Ecology)--Evaluation
Dams--Environmental aspects--Texas--Cypress Bayou Basin
Publisher: Environmental Laboratory (U.S.)
Series/Report no.: Miscellaneous Paper;EL-87-4
Abstract: Abstract: Construction of a dam on either the Little or Black Cypress Bayou, Texas, is being evaluated by the US Army Engineer District, Fort Worth, to provide water resource benefits (flood control, water supply, recreation) in the Cypress Bayou Basin, The Habitat Evaluation Procedure (HEP) was used to determine fish habitat gains in the proposed reservoirs, estimate losses in fish habitat resulting from inundation of portions of the Little and Black Cypress bayous, and recommend methods to compensate for stream habitat losses caused by the project. Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) models composed of three physical habitat variables (depth, velocity, and cover) were developed from field and literature data for nine species of riverine fishes including: spotted bass, longear sunfish, grass pickerel, flathead catfish, blacktail shiner, ironcolor shiner, brook silverside, spotted sucker, and slough darter. These species were selected from biological guilds, and they represented 87 percent of the species community. The longear sunfish, grass pickerel, ironcolor shiner, and slough darter preferred shallow, nonflowing water with abundant instream cover, whereas the spotted bass, flathead catfish, blacktail shiner, and spotted sucker liked relatively deeper, fast-flowing water usually associated with large instream objects such as cypress trees and logjams. The brook silverside was often found in both types of habitat. Habitat units (HU) were calculated for each species and river at flows ranging from 0 to 1,000 cfs, Trends in the HU-discharge curves were similar for all evaluation species, although the relative amounts of usable fish habitat varied considerably among species. HU's increased with discharge up to approximately 200 cfs, tapered off or slightly decreased, and then increased again at overbank flows. HU discharge curves were similar among species; so to simplify data interpretation, a single composite HU-discharge curve was developed from the average of all species curves and was used in determining baseline habitat and compensation criteria. Monthly flows that would maintain the historic fish community were identified from the HU discharge curves, In most cases, the maintenance flows corresponded to the 60 percent exceedance value on the monthly flow duration tables, Monthly compensation flows below the proposed damsites were determined to replace fish habitat lost to inundation, Compensation flows during the late winter and spring corresponded to overbank flows (i,e,, > 400 cfs), which would replace the majority of fish habitat lost from the project during these months, maximize suitable spawning areas, and ensure fry survival. Compensation flows during the summer and fall months, which are characterized by low flows including prolonged periods when there is no flow in the rivers, ranged from 10 to 100 cfs. Evaluation of lake habitat was conducted using regression equations based on the standing crop of selected fishes. Habitat gains for four lake species (bluegill, largemouth bass, black crappie, and white bass) as well as total sportfish and total species were determined for both reservoirs, HU's lost due to inundation ranged from 333 to 1,502, whereas HU's gained for total species attributable to the reservoir were 21,741. However, these gains and losses are not considered as in-kind compensation. The lake proposed on the Little Cypress Bayou provided more fish habitat than the Black Cypress Reservoir provided.
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