A Prairie Stream Fish Bonanza!

This summer of 2018, Minnesota Biological Survey (MBS) staff spent time in southwest Minnesota, surveying streams and off-channel pools for fish. Margaret Edwards, Zoology Data Specialist and Andrew Herberg, Animal Survey Specialist share more about their work:

For several years, MBS biologists have conducted surveys in small tributary streams that feed into the Missouri River, looking for the Topeka shiner (Notropis topeka), Minnesota’s only federally endangered fish species. The landscape in southwest MN that was formerly dominated by native prairie is now mainly converted farm land used for crop cultivation and grazing. However, small streams and off-channel pools — easy to overlook — are still swimming with native fish populations in this area." -Herberg

At first glance, one might think that these small streams are too shallow to support much life. But MBS biologists have documented over 25 fish species…in addition to Topeka shiners! Far from being just plain-old fish, some species are quite beautiful; with colorful iridescence and/or rough bumps (called tubercles) during the spawning season. This year, we used a specially-designed photo tank to capture some great images of native Minnesota fish.” -Edwards.