Proposed Abstract Title

Flood control structures in tidal creeks associated with reduction in nursery potential for native fishes and creation of hot-spots for invasive species

Presenter/Author Information

David Scott MRMFollow

Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Flood Management, Climate Adaptation and the Environment in the Salish Sea

Location

2016SSEC

Description

Habitat connectivity is important for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem processes, yet globally is highly restricted by anthropogenic actions. Anthropogenic barriers are common in aquatic ecosystems; however, the effects of small-scale barriers such as floodgates have received relatively little study. We assessed fish communities in ten tributaries over the spring-summer season of the lower Fraser River (British Columbia, Canada), five with floodgates and five reference sites without barriers, located primarily in agricultural land use areas. While the Fraser River supports the largest salmon runs in Canada, the lower Fraser river-floodplain ecosystem has numerous dikes and floodgates to protect valuable agricultural and urban developments. Floodgate presence was associated with reduced dissolved oxygen concentrations, three-fold greater abundance of invasive fish species, and decreased abundances of five native fish species including two salmon species. These findings provide evidence that floodgates decrease suitable habitat for native fishes, and become hotspots for non-native species. Given climate change, sea-level rise, and aging flood protection infrastructure, there is an opportunity to incorporate biodiversity considerations into further development or restoration of this infrastructure.

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Flood control structures in tidal creeks associated with reduction in nursery potential for native fishes and creation of hot-spots for invasive species

2016SSEC

Habitat connectivity is important for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem processes, yet globally is highly restricted by anthropogenic actions. Anthropogenic barriers are common in aquatic ecosystems; however, the effects of small-scale barriers such as floodgates have received relatively little study. We assessed fish communities in ten tributaries over the spring-summer season of the lower Fraser River (British Columbia, Canada), five with floodgates and five reference sites without barriers, located primarily in agricultural land use areas. While the Fraser River supports the largest salmon runs in Canada, the lower Fraser river-floodplain ecosystem has numerous dikes and floodgates to protect valuable agricultural and urban developments. Floodgate presence was associated with reduced dissolved oxygen concentrations, three-fold greater abundance of invasive fish species, and decreased abundances of five native fish species including two salmon species. These findings provide evidence that floodgates decrease suitable habitat for native fishes, and become hotspots for non-native species. Given climate change, sea-level rise, and aging flood protection infrastructure, there is an opportunity to incorporate biodiversity considerations into further development or restoration of this infrastructure.