finescale dace

Evaluation of potential translocation sites for finescale dace in Eastern Wyoming

finescale dace

 

Specific ecological factors that influence persistence of cold-adapted, native cyprinids on the western Great Plains are not well understood. Finescale Dace (Chrosomus neogaeus) occur in isolated, glacial relict populations in this region, where they are classified as either state endangered or a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Wyoming, South Dakota, and Nebraska. Their occurrence in these states represents the southern edge of their North American distribution.

These populations are potentially influenced by watershed development and habitat fragmentation. Range expansion of non-native, piscivorous fishes in the upper Niobrara River present a potential threat to the native fish assemblage in this drainage. The habitat and fish community associations of these populations are knowledge gaps that could inform management actions aimed at prevention of local extirpation of this species.

Our research seeks to evaluate important limiting factors for Finescale Dace across multiple spatial scales (Figure 1.) We will evaluate the current status of this population in Wyoming and identify potential managed translocation sites within their historic range. Specific objectives that will be addressed are:

 

  1. Characterize the current distribution and abundance of the Finescale Dace population in Wyoming.
  2. Determine Finescale Dace habitat and fish community associations, as well as potential effects of non-native piscivores.
  3. Evaluate potential managed translocation sites for Finescale Dace on the basis of habitat availability and fish community composition.

 

Results of this work will inform conservation of rare native fish on the western edge of the Great Plains and provide insight into the ecology of glacial relict fish populations under variable disturbance pressures.

 

Finescale dace conceptual diagram

Figure 1. Conceptual diagram of abiotic and biotic factors that function over multiple spatial scales and potentially influence the distribution of Finescale Dace on the Great Plains. Arrows indicate relationships between variables and symbols (+, -, ±) indicate hypothesized effects on finescale dace presence in a stream reach or water body. Model adapted from Labbe and Fausch, 2000.

Contact

Evan Booher , MS Student
Department of Zoology and Physiology
Wyoming Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit
Dept. 3166, 1000 E. University Avenue
Laramie, WY 82070
[email protected]

 

Annika Walters, Assistant Unit Leader
Fisheries / Assistant Professor
Wyoming Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit
Dept. 3166, 1000 E. University Avenue
Laramie, WY 82070
[email protected]
office: (307) 766 5473

Project Lead

Funding & Partners

Wyoming Game and Fish Department