Long-term datasets are extremely valuable in detecting temporal and spatial trends and in formulating and testing hypotheses. However, the belief that these data are only of value after several years of monitoring, coupled with the uncertainties of funding, may deter managers from beginning long-term programs. We used the Long-Term Illinois, Mississippi, Ohio, and Wabash River Fish Population Monitoring Program (LTEF – Long-Term Electrofishing) as an example of a new long-term monitoring program with immediate benefits. The LTEF program samples main-channel border fish communities by pulsed DC day electrofishing in the Illinois River and Illinois portions of the Mississippi, Ohio, and Wabash rivers. We used a fish community index of biotic integrity and found significant differences among river reaches after only one complete season of data collection. Multivariate analysis identified several distinct fish communities among the large rivers of Illinois. We also obtained sportfish stock characteristics from previously un-sampled river reaches, which indicated an apparently under-exploited spotted bass Micropterus punctulatus fishery. The LTEF program showed immediate results because it was specifically designed to examine temporal and spatial changes in fish community as they related to biotic and abiotic influences, and should be an example to managers contemplating long-term monitoring.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||142nd Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society (AFS 2012)|
|State||Published - 2012|