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

North Carolina Project

Assessing benefits to migratory fishes of habitat restored by dam removal

August 2006 - August 2011


Participating Agencies

  • USFWS Region 4

Many fish species migrate in order to reach suitable spawning or nursery habitat. All of these groups benefit when access to additional habitat is restored by dam removal. The Little River basin in North Carolina provides a valuable opportunity to examine how migratory fishes use habitat restored through dam removal. One problem in predicting the benefits of dam removal is that relatively little is known about how these fishes select spawning habitat (e.g., whether species use tributaries or mainstem rivers, deep versus shallow sites, or different substrates). Another limitation in predicting benefits of dam removal is that habitat preferences are poorly understood. Specific project objectives are: to determine fish abundance and migratory patterns during spring and to relate movements to physical variables including habitat availability. Information on spawning habitat will be used to develop refined models for predicting the benefits of fish passage or dam removal in other systems

Research Publications Publication Date
Raabe, J. K., B. Gardner, and J. E. Hightower. 2014. A spatial capture-recapture model to estimate fish survival and migration patterns from linear continuous monitoring arrays. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 71:120-130. | Download September 2013
Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
Raabe, J.K. 2012. Factors Influencing Distribution and Survival of Migratory Fishes Following Multiple Low-Head Dam Removals on a North Carolina River. PhD Dissertation, North Carolina State University. December 2012