Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Are Montana's invasive fish in for a shock?

07.10.2014

Study finds that electrofishing can be used to target non-native species and may be a viable alternative to non-specific fish toxicant treatments of small streams

A new paper from the Wildlife Conservation Society, Montana State University, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and the U.S. Geological Survey looks at the feasibility of electrofishing to selectively remove invasive trout species from Montana streams as an alternative to using fish toxicants known as piscicides that effect all gill-breathing organisms.


A westslope cutthroat trout is measured by scientists before being returned to White's creek where it was collected.

Credit: Brad Shepard / Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Westslope Cutthroat Trout (WCT) have experienced severe declines throughout much of their historical range. One major reason for this decline is the current competitive advantages enjoyed by non-native Brook Trout that are displacing WCT from their habitat.

Due to this ongoing dynamic, data indicate that the probability of WCT persisting for the next century is low without intervention to remove non-native fish. The use of piscicides, such as rotenone or antimycin, to eradicate these fish concerns fish managers and the public because of the loss of native fish during treatments. Fortunately, most studies have shown that impacts from these piscicides on aquatic communities are relatively short-term.

"Piscicides are a valuable tool to remove non-native fish," said Wildlife Conservation Society Ecologist Brad Shepard. "But where non-native and native fish co-exist in smaller streams, a potential alternative method, electrofishing, can be used to remove specific unwanted species, while reducing impacts on WCT or other native fish and macro-invertebrates."

To provide guidance on circumstances where this method may be a feasible option, the authors evaluated conditions and costs associated with using backpack electrofishing to remove Brook Trout from several Northern Rocky Mountain streams that also support WCT.

The scientists selected six study streams located throughout the upper Missouri River basin in Montana, recording stream parameters such as stream size, vegetation density, substrate, and more.

Trout populations within each treatment reach were isolated by fish barriers. The fish were shocked by a crew member wearing a backpack "shocker" using a wand anode while dragging a cable cathode. A second crewmember followed the shocker and netted the temporarily stunned fish. While the non-native species were removed, the native fish were returned.

Brook trout were successfully eradicated over a period of 4-8 years from four of six treatment sites that together totaled a distance of 10.8 km. The number of fish removed ranged from 1,627 in Staubach Creek to 7,936 in Muskrat Creek. Two other streams, Craver and Spring Creeks, contained dense willow and alder vegetation, and were excluded because of poor initial electrofishing efficiencies.

Other Findings:

  • Eradication of Brook Trout using electrofishing in the two smaller streams (where channel clearing was not required) cost about $3,500 to $5,500 per kilometer (about the cost of piscicide treatment). Where extensive clearing of the stream was necessary, as was the case with the more densely vegetated White Creek, electrofishing costs rose to $8,000 to $9,000 per kilometer.

     

  • The scientists found that multiple removal treatments within a shorter period of time (i.e. 3 or 4 years) was more effective than single annual treatments over a longer span (6 or more years).

     

  • The scientists took advantage of the fact that Brook Trout aggregate during winter and before and during their spawning in the fall. Focusing efforts on adult fish at these times reduced numbers of offspring in subsequent seasons.

     

  • Because trout select beaver pond habitats (where deposited silt makes wading dangerous and turbidity makes it difficult to see stunned fish), the authors say that treatment with piscicides is "probably the only viable alternative where large beaver ponds are present."

Overall, the scientists concluded that electrofishing was a viable method for eradicating Brook Trout in small streams and could be done in a period as short as three years if multiple removals were conducted each year. This is an attractive alternative particularly in situations where populations of native fish live in the same location as non-native fish as "electrofishing will allow for the preservation of the native fish."

Piscicides may be the only viable alternative for larger streams (>3m width), or in streams covered by dense woody vegetation or with beaver ponds where turbidity and cover make electrofishing difficult or impossible. The scientists noted that further studies would be necessary to determine if two crews working simultaneously could get the job done in larger streams.

Cost estimates in the comparison did not include barrier construction, environmental assessment, and public involvement costs because these activities are needed for any nonnative eradication effort. However, environmental assessment and public involvement costs would likely be higher for piscicide eradication projects.

###

"Factors Influencing Successful Eradication of Nonnative Brook trout from Four Small Rocky Mountain Streams Using Electrofishing" appears in the current edition of the North American Journal of Fisheries Management. Authors include: Bradley B. Shepard of the Wildlife Conservation Society, Montana State University and Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks; Lee M. Nelson of Montana Department of Fish,Wildlife and Parks; Mark L. Taper of Montana State University; and Alexander V. Zaleof the U.S. Geological Survey.

For further information on this story, or to talk with Brad Shepard, please contact Scott Smith at 718-220-3698 or email ssmith@wcs.org.

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world's oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: http://www.wcs.org. Follow: @thewcs.

Scott Smith | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.wcs.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Bioinvasion on the rise
15.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht Litter Levels in the Depths of the Arctic are On the Rise
10.02.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate

21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Use your Voice – and Smart Homes will “LISTEN”

21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>