Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Missouri
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Missouri Project

Habitat use and distribution of gravel spawning fishes

July 2016 - June 2020


Participating Agencies

  • MIssouri Department of Conservation

Declines in substrate downstream of dams is a major concern for fishes that require certain size gravel and cobble to spawn. This project determined the habitat characteristics of spawning Hornyhead Chubs, and the habitat characteristics associated with fish communities within riffles and runs in the East Fork Black River, Missouri. Hornyhead Chub preferred depths of 0.20 m to 0.35 m, velocities of 0.10 m/s to 0.30 m/s, wetted widths of 7 m to 10 m, the presence of velocity shelters, and increased amounts of small substrate. In addition, smaller substrate size were the most important habitat characteristic for increased diversity in the overall fish community and fishes commonly found with Hornyhead Chub. Riffle-run habitats were deprived of substrate sizes between 8 mm to 32 mm and this will guide the Missouri Department of Conservation is substrate augmentation efforts to help conserve native fish below dams.