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

South Dakota Project

Influence of flooding on Blue Suckers in eastern South Dakota Rivers

July 2021 - June 2024


Participating Agencies

  • US Fish and Wildlife Service

The Blue Sucker Cycleptus elongatus is a benthivorous catostomid species that occurs in large river systems of the central United States, including the Missouri River basin. Concerns have been expressed about the long-term sustainability of Blue Sucker populations as a result of anthropogenic disturbances in many river systems, specifically habitat fragmentation via dam construction and altered flow regimes. As a result, the species is being considered vulnerable throughout its range. However, existing data suggest that the lower, unchannelized section of the Missouri River along the border of South Dakota and Nebraska is one area where the population appears to be stable. To better understand the current status of Blue Suckers in the lower unchannelized Missouri River and its tributaries, information on the movement of juveniles, sources and timing of recruitment, resource use, and impact of flooding is needed. Improving our understanding of one of the few stable populations may provide information useful in the implementation of management practices in other areas where Blue Sucker populations are in decline.