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

Miranda, L.E., G. Coppola, H.R. Hatcher, M.B. Jargowsky, Z.S. Moran, and M.C. Rhodes. 2020. A bird’s-eye view of reservoirs in the Mississippi Basin tips a need for large-scale coordination. Fish and Fisheries.


Reservoirs are mostly managed at local scales as spatially independent units. A basin-scale perspective may increase awareness at a broader scope and generate insight not evident at local scales. We examined the diversity of reservoir attributes and fisheries in the Mississippi Basin to identify management opportunities. The basin is the third largest in the world and includes over 1,700 reservoirs >100 ha, the most of any river basin anywhere. Our bird’s-eye view reveals a piecemeal approach where reservoirs are mostly administered at the local level. Basin-wide or catchment coordination to holistically address problems that recur across the basin is mostly lacking. A basin-wide coordination arrangement akin to the North American Waterfowl Management Plan could facilitate various facets of reservoir management. Such an arrangement may steer reservoir fisheries management through a potentially turbulent 21st century as reservoirs age beyond their useful life and climate shifts render status-quo management ineffective.