The authors of this white paper entitled “Collapsing Range of an Endemic Great Plains Minnow, Peppered Chub Macrhybopsis tetranema,” examine range-wide declines in both abundance and distribution of the Peppered Chub from habitat loss and fragmentation.
Habitat loss and fragmentation include dams, loss of perineal flows, and alteration of flow regimes (flooding). These habitat alterations impact the spawning needs of pelagic-spawning fish and jeopardize the survivability of this species within its historical range. It is estimated that the Peppered Chub has been extirpated from more than 90% of its historic range.
A recovery plan for the Peppered Chub might consider restoration and maintenance of adequate seasonal fluctuating river flows, removal of barriers, and repatriation to river reaches that have experienced extirpation.
The authors suggest repatriation or supplemental stocking as is done elsewhere for small- bodied cyprinids as a necessary first step in recovery, but this alone might not be sustainable or sufficient without taking the proper actions to remedy habitat deficiencies. Specifically, removing or modifying to allow fish passage the remaining barriers impeding upstream recolonization of rivers throughout the species’ historical range and maintaining adequate seasonal river flows to support juvenile survival is likely necessary for recruitment.
Construction of a fish passage structure on the Arkansas River in Wichita, Kansas was recently completed in 2010. This fish passage was built with the passage of small-bodied fishes as a primary function and has already allowed for the recolonization of Emerald Shiner Notropis atherinoides into a reach of river from which the species was previously extirpated. This suggests that fish passage structures such as this can restore upstream connectivity for small-bodied Great Plains fishes.
CASEY A. PENNOCK and KEITH B. GIDO
Division of Biology, Kansas State University, Manhattan 66506
JOSHUAH S. PERKIN
Department of Biology, Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville 38505
VAUGHN D. WEAVER
SCS Engineers, Wichita, Kansas 67226
STEPHEN R. DAVENPORT
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New Mexico Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, Albuquerque 87109
JOHN M. CALDWELL
New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Santa Fe 87504