The introduction, spread, and establishment of nonnative species is widely regarded as a leading threat to aquatic biodiversity and consequently is ranked among the most serious environmental problems facing the United States today. This report presents information on nonnative fish species observed by the Long Term Resource Monitoring Program on the Upper Mississippi River System a nexus of North American freshwater fish diversity for the Nation. The Long Term Resource Monitoring Program, as part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Environmental Management Plan, is the Nation's largest river monitoring program and stands as the primary source of standardized ecological information on the Upper Mississippi River System. The Long Term Resource Monitoring Program has been monitoring fish communities in six study areas on the Upper Mississippi River System since 1989. During this period, more than 3.5 million individual fish, consisting of 139 species, have been collected. Although fish monitoring activities of the Long Term Resource Monitoring Program focus principally on entire fish communities, data collected by the Program are useful for detecting and monitoring the establishment and spread of nonnative fish species within the Upper Mississippi River System Basin. Sixteen taxa of nonnative fishes, or hybrids thereof, have been observed by the Long Term Resource Monitoring Program since 1989, and several species are presently expanding their distribution and increasing in abundance. For example, in one of the six study areas monitored by the Long Term Resource Monitoring Program, the number of established nonnative species has increased from two to eight species in less than 10 years. Furthermore, contributions of those eight species can account for up to 60 percent of the total annual catch and greater than 80 percent of the observed biomass. These observations are critical because the Upper Mississippi River System stands as a nationally significant pathway for nonnative species expansion between the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes Basin. This report presents a synthesis of data on nonnative fish species observed during Long Term Resource Monitoring Program monitoring activities.
|Published - 2009