Establishing vegetation in reservoir mudflats
August 2016 - July 2019
With a median age of 70 years, reservoirs in the USA are showing compelling signs of fish habitat degradation. Habitat losses are often most prominent in littoral zones and are driven by regular and sometimes extreme water level drawdowns mandated by the operational goals of the reservoir. These fluctuations generally limit successful establishment of aquatic and terrestrial plants. Consequently, expansive mudflats form along the shores of reservoirs that are aesthetically displeasing, promote erosion, increase water turbidity when flooded, and cause various ecological problems in aquatic ecosystems. To rejuvenate these fish habitats we are researching the establishment of agricultural plantings on mudflats. Cooperators in this research include Mississippi State University, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership and USGS. This study will produce guidelines that managers can follow for planting barren mudflats.