Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 67, Issue 2, pp 179–190 | Cite as

Food habits of Coexisting Salmonines above and below Stronach Dam in the Pine River, Michigan

  • Jessica L. Mistak
  • Daniel B. Hayes
  • Mary T. Bremigan

Abstract

Although dam removal has become an increasingly popular tool for river restoration, there is limited knowledge regarding the ecological effects of dam removal. The purpose of our study was to document feeding habits of coexisting brook charr, brown trout, and rainbow trout above and below a dam that is in the process of a staged removal. Modification of sediment transport caused by Stronach Dam since 1912 has affected stream channel configuration, fish habitat, and many other physical and biological processes. In order to document salmonine feeding habits above and below the dam, we selected zones to represent downstream conditions and areas of river upstream of the dam that encompassed the original reservoir and a stretch of river further upstream that was not hydraulically influenced by the dam. Because physical habitat largely governs aquatic community composition in streams, we expected these effects to be reflected in the fish and macroinvertebrate communities. In particular, we expected limited prey availability and salmonine feeding in the impacted upstream and downstream zones characterized by fine substrate composition and greater macroinvertebrate diversity and salmonine feeding opportunities in the non-impacted zone characterized by coarse substrate. We also expected mean percent wet stomach content weights to be higher downstream, as other studies have documented an increase in piscivory on blocked migratory prey species downstream of dams. Contrary to expectations, the downstream zone of the river contained the highest abundance of drifting invertebrate taxa and, although differences in habitat occurred among the zones, the diversity of drifting macroinvertebrates and stomach contents of salmonines were similar throughout the river. Thus, in this case, the presence of altered habitat caused by a dam did not appear to negatively affect salmonine food habits. Consequently, we expect no major changes in salmonine food habits after the dam removal is completed.

dam removal diet study electivity Salvelinus fontinalus Salmo trutta Oncorhynchus mykiss 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica L. Mistak
    • 1
  • Daniel B. Hayes
    • 1
  • Mary T. Bremigan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Fisheries and WildlifeMichigan State UniversityEast LansingU.S.A.
  2. 2.Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Marquette Fisheries StationMarquetteU.S.A.

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