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Title: Fisheries investigation on the lower White River, Arkansas
Authors: Baker, John A.
Kasul, Richard L. (Richard Lawrence)
Killgore, K. Jack
Sanders, Larry G.
Keywords: Fisheries--Arkansas--White River
White River (Ark. and Mo.)
Publisher: Environmental Laboratory (U.S.)
U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station.
Series/Report no.: Technical Report;EL-89-9
Abstract: Fish were collected from the lower White River, Arkansas, during low (September-October 1987) and moderately high flow (May 1988) periods. The study area was divided into two reaches for sampling, The entrance channel reach extended from the Mississippi River to the entrance of the Arkansas Post Canal, at approximately White River mile 10; the upstream reach extended from approximately White River miles 12-18. Fish abundance and distribution were assessed using a boat electroshocker, hoop nets; seines, and hydroacoustic techniques, Aquatic habitats within each reach were identified and described, and general water quality sampling was conducted. Six aquatic habitat types were identified: steep bank with cover, steep bank without cover, moderate-slope bank, sandbar, revetment, and main channel. Revetment occurred only in the entrance channel reach; other habitats occurred throughout the study area. During both collections,. water quality was similar to that of other nearby large rivers. Overall, 58 fish species were collected by electroshocking, hoop netting, and seining. These species, plus five reported in earlier studies but not taken during this study, bring the known lower White River fish fauna to 63 species. This list probably includes most species that typically inhabit the study area. Although differences in relative abundance were observed for some species, the fish assemblages of the two reaches were quite similar overall. Habitats differed in species composition and relative abundances, but pattern of differences depended on gear type, reach, and sampling period. Slightly more species, and nearly twice as many fish, were collected during the moderately high flow period compared with the low flow period. During the moderately high flow period, fish were also more abundant in the entrance channel reach than upstream. Condition factors for five of six species were higher in the entrance channel reach; only values for freshwater drum were significantly higher, however. Relative densities of fish detected by hydroacoustics were significantly higher during the moderately high flow period than during the low flow period. Within each period, both reaches had similar relative densities. Estimated acoustic fish sizes averaged larger in the upstream reach during both sampling periods; slightly larger average sizes were detected during the low flow period. The resident fish populations of the entrance channel reach of the lower White River do not appear to have been changed, relative to the upstream reach, by present navigation-related activities (barge traffic, dredging, revetment placement), The placement of a dam effective only at relatively low flows is not likely to cause substantive changes in these populations. However, a number of species may migrate. into the White River system from the Mississippi River for spawning. Although this study did not adequately assess the abundance and timing of migration of these species, sufficient information is available from the literature to address the potential impacts of the project on many of these migratory species.
Appears in Collections:Technical Report

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