Sponsors: Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership and AFS Fish Habitat Section
The median age of U.S. reservoirs is 60 years and many exhibit decreased habitat quality. These degraded aquatic ecosystems experience limited biological productivity and pose grand challenges to fisheries managers. Reservoirs in the United States are at a crossroads and the future of these fisheries is dependent on innovative habitat restoration techniques. Collaborative efforts are needed to restore habitat in these degraded systems because the investment in time and dollars is beyond the capability of any state or federal agency. The Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership (RFHP) and Friends of Reservoirs (FOR) were founded to provide the needed support for these large projects. FOR facilitates the formation of partnerships among different organizations and interests groups, which makes reservoir restoration projects feasible. Presentations highlighted the benefits of collaborative efforts by showcasing the success of recent reservoir habitat restoration projects. Best management practices were presented and discussed. Conceptual models showing how habitat restoration projects can improve fish population structure were presented. Further presentations focused on the development and application of new technologies, i.e., reservoir morphological database and remotely sensed hydroacoustics data for habitat mapping. The information presented provided needed guidance for fisheries managers working to improve habitat and fisheries in aging reservoirs. Read the abstracts here.
—Chance Kirkeeng, M.S. Research Assistant, Department of Natural Resource Management, South Dakota State University