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

Mississippi Project

Fish community assessments

June 2006 - September 2011


Participating Agencies

  • Corps of Engineers

Environmental degradation is a primary concern and major problem in the Yazoo River Basin in Mississippi. In support of forthcoming restoration efforts, there is a need to develop tools for assessing the biotic integrity of aquatic ecosystems. The objective of this study is to develop an index of biotic integrity by evaluating fish communities in lakes that span a broad gradient of human disturbances. Thirty lakes will be sampled over a two-year period using multiple gear. Fifteen lakes distributed along a continuum between least-disturbed and highly disturbed will be selected for analysis in year 1, and a second set of 15 lakes will be selected in year 2 to supplement and validate results from year 1. Community characteristics suitable to index biotic integrity will be identified by examining fish communities relative to a broad span of human disturbances, with characteristics that demonstrate a clear response to increasing disturbance selected for index construction.