Quantifying fish habitat associated with stream simulation design culverts in northern Wisconsin
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River Research and Applications
This study investigated the effects of culvert replacement design on fish habitat and fish weight by comparing substrate diversity and weight at three stream simulation (SS)-design and three bankfull and backwater (BB)-design sites on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, Wisconsin. Stream channel cross-sections, Wolman substrate particle counts, and single-pass backpack electro-fishing survey data were used to quantify fish habitat and fish weight in 50-m upstream and downstream sample reaches at each site. We applied generalized linear mixed models to test the hypothesis that substrate size and fish weight did not differ according to stream-crossing design type (SS or BB) and location (upstream or downstream). Substrate particle sizes were significantly greater upstream of the stream crossing when compared to downstream of the stream crossing at both SS and BB sites for riffles and pools. Substrate particle sizes were also significantly greater upstream of BB sites when compared to upstream of SS sites. Results of this study indicated statistically greater individual fish weights upstream of SS-design sites in comparison to upstream of BB-design sites in first- to third-order low gradient streams. These results suggested that the SS-design approach appears to be more effective at transporting sediment downstream, and illustrated the value of using fish weight as an indicator of biological success for stream-crossing designs.
Timm, A.; Higgins, D.; Stanovick, J.; Kolka, R.; Eggert, S. 2017. Quantifying fish habitat associated with stream simulation design culverts in northern Wisconsin. River Research and Applications. 33(4): 567-577. https://doi.org/10.1002/rra.3117.