Abstract

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Ceas, P.A. and Y.A. Monstad. 2006. Topeka shiner monitoring in Minnesota: year three. Final report submitted to the Natural Heritage and Nongame Research Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 7+ pp.

Abstract:

This work represents the continuation of a long-term surveying project (Ceas & Anderson, 2004; Ceas & Monstad, 2005) to conduct presence/absence surveys for Topeka shiners within the federally designated critical habitat in Minnesota. These data comprise the third year of an ongoing population-monitoring project designed to provide the DNR with a tool for detecting changes in the overall presence/absence of Topeka shiners within Minnesota.

Following the protocol established in 2004 and used again in 2005, twenty 1-mile stream segments within the Rock and Big Sioux watersheds of southwestern Minnesota (Missouri River system) were selected randomly using an ArcView extension program. Based on known habitat preferences, aerial photos of the twenty stream segments were reviewed to identify the 10 most likely sampling sites within each stream segment. If off-channel habitats were present then these were included as potential sample sites. A brief field reconnaissance of each stream segment allowed us to rank the ten sites within each segment according to which sites appeared most suitable for Topeka shiners, and sampling was conducted using a 10’ x 5’ eighth-inch mesh minnow seine.

Topeka shiners were found at eighteen of the twenty 1-mile stream segments, and in nine of these eighteen stream segments Topeka shiners were found at the first site sampled. Only three off-channel habitats existed within the twenty 1-mile stream corridors, and the shiners were generally found in well-developed in-channel pools or backwaters that appear to stay connected to the stream year-round.

The scope of this baseline project was limited and designed to conduct only straight-forward presence/absence surveys for Topeka shiners in chosen stream segments. Even so, a few observations were noted. These observations are essentially the same as witnessed during the 2004 and 2005 surveys: (a) The stream segments that did not produce Topeka shiners tend to be continuously-flowing raceways/flowing waters, (b) A few of the 1-mile segments had good numbers of individuals and what appeared to be relatively good habitat, and may warrant a closer look for future habitat enhancement/landowner involvement projects; and (c) the GIS cover of critical habitat/stream channels needs to be updated using current aerial imagery to account for changes in stream position due to the ever-changing stream channels.

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