Southeastern Fishes Council
Dedicated to the Conservation of Southeastern Fishes

2000 Report of Region 6 - Southwest
The following summary of activities of the 'fish team' at the U.S. Engineer Research and Development Center, Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, MS was submitted by Jan Hoover. The WES Fish Team consists of seven individuals. Jack Killgore (KJK), Jan Hoover (JJH), Phil Kirk (JPK), Steven George (SGG), and Bradley Lewis (BRL) are full-time employees at Waterways Experiment Station. Neil Douglas (NHD) is Professor Emeritus at University of Louisiana at Monroe (formerly Northeast Louisiana University). William Lancaster (WEL) is a self-employed commercial fisherman.

Ongoing projects are listed by system or drainage. Personnel associated with each project are indicated parenthetically. Principal investigator of each project is listed first.

Ouachita River Drainage

Floodplain ponds as paddlefish habitat (SGG): Fishes and habitat data collected several years ago from floodplain ponds of the Ouachita River (Louisiana) were analyzed last year. Assemblages and habitat characteristic of ponds with and without paddlefish are being described.

Sulphur River Basin

Preservation of Mercer Bayou (KJK, JJH, NHD, WEL): Mercer Bayou (Arkansas), a tributary of the Sulphur River, is threatened by lateral headcutting from the Sulphur River. Weirs are being considered to prevent the erosion and de-watering of Mercer Bayou. Fishes and invertebrates were sampled in summer 1999. Species richness of fishes, abundance of zooplankton, and abundance of scuds and glass shrimp were all positively associated with stream width, indicating substantial impacts to aquatic communities if headcutting is not stopped.

Red River Drainage

Oxbow Lakes of the Red River (KJK, SGG, BRL, NHD, WEL): During construction of the Red River Waterway, numerous bendways were cut off from the main channel creating a series of oxbow lakes along the river corridor. Upstream closures were constructed in 24 lakes to prevent sedimentation. However, backwater entering the downstream end of the lakes has resulted in sedimentation at the outlet, and some lakes are becoming isolated from the river. We are evaluating the benefits of periodically dredging the access channel of the downstream end of oxbow lakes by comparing fish assemblages among lakes with different geomorphometry and hydrologic connection to the Red River.

Red River Navigation Project (JJH, KJK, SGG, BRL, NHD, WEL): Feasibility of extending the Red River Waterway Navigation Project an additional 84-134 miles is being considered by the Corps of Engineers. Our team is studying fish communities throughout the proposed project area to determine effects to littoral, demersal, and pelagic fish communities.

Hydrology and Spawning (KJK, BRL): Cypress Bayou (Texas), a tributary of the Red River, is small river dominated by bottomland hardwood wetlands. Flows are controlled by releases from Lake o' the Pines. Effect of adjusting the timing and duration of reservoir releases were evaluated by surveying controlling elevations of backwaters (to determine extent of spawning habitat) and by surveys of larval fishes during three spawning seasons. Each spawning season was characterized by a distinctive hydrography. Reservoir releases may be manipulated to control changes in flood pulse that benefit spawning fishes.

Dr. Neil Douglas, Professor Emeritus, The University of Louisiana at Monroe, was named the W. Frank Blair Eminent Naturalist by the Southwestern Association of Naturalists. The award recognizes "excellence in a lifetime of commitment to outstanding study or conservation of the flora or fauna of the Southwest." Neil accepted the award at the 2000 SWAN meeting in Denton, Texas, April 20-22.

Frank Pezold