The Nature Conservancy's Emiquon Preserve: Fish and Aquatic Vegetation Monitoring Annual Report

Todd D. VanMiddlesworth, Andrew F. Casper

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingTechnical report


Key Ecological Attributes (KEA’s) for the fish and aquatic vegetation communities have been identified as indicators to evaluate the progress of the restoration efforts at Thompson and Flag lakes of The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve. A total of 19 KEA criteria related to the aquatic vegetation and fish communities were monitored monthly between 4/15/2014-10/23/2014. Of those goals set by the Emiquon Science Advisory Council, 15 were met in 2014. The 2014 water transparency values were within the desired range (Secchi depths no less than half the maximum water depth when a site is ≤1.5 m deep). Moreover, when 2014 results are compared to 2013, we see that the mean monthly transparencies for April-May were greater than the same period in 2013 and transparencies during June-October in 2014 were also greater than the corresponding in 2013. Three invasive aquatic plants including Eurasian watermilfoil, curly-leaf pondweed, and Egeria were among the many aquatic plant species collected in 2014. Eurasian watermilfoil was found at more sites and at a higher density than in 2013. Curly-leaf pondweed was collected at fewer sites and at a lower density than in 2013. Aquatic vegetation monitoring in 2014 represents the first year since monitoring began that non-native submersed aquatic vegetation species known as Egeria has been observed or collected. Invasive aquatic plant species will continue to be monitored closely in 2015.The fish community in 2014 continued to be dominated by native species. Despite this, the KEA goal of collecting ≥25 native fish species was not met. However, native species richness continues to increase since restoration began. Perhaps more time may be needed for less abundant species to become established and/or additional stocking may be necessary in order to meet this goal. Bluegill dominated our catches in 2014 andcatches of other desirable native fishes including spotted gar and shortnose gar were the highest ever observed at the Emiquon Preserve. Of the 21 fish species collected, only one non-native species, the common carp including one hybrid was collected and the total catch of this species in 2014 was much lower than in 2013. Also, no young-of-the-year (YOY) common carp were observed or collected in 2014. Invasive fish species will continue to be monitored closely in 2015.
Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherIllinois Natural History Survey
StatePublished - Jan 15 2015

Publication series

NameINHS Technical Report 2015 (02)


  • INHS


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