FISH INVENTORIES OF MID-ATLANTIC AND
NORTHEAST COASTAL AND BARRIER NETWORK PARKS WITH VIRGINIA, MARYLAND
Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR2008/113
James B. Atkinson
Natural Resources Branch
Division of Natural and Cultural Resources
Shenandoah National Park
U.S. Department of the Interior
National Park Service
and early September, 2002, fish species inventories were initiated in
wadable aquatic habitats within the Mid-Atlantic Network (MIDN) parks
which continued until 2004. The 2002 parks sampled were Fredericksburg
and Spotsylvania National Military Park (FRSP), Richmond National Battlefield
(RICH), Petersburg National Battlefield (PETE), Appomattox Court House
National Historical Park (APCO) and Booker T. Washington National Monument
(BOWA). All of the 2002 fish inventory fieldwork was conducted with
backpack electrofishing gear.
During the second year, 2003, of the MIDN fish inventory, several sites
within each of FRSP, RICH, and PETE, were either resampled from among
those initially sampled during 2002 or were sampled for the first time,
expanding to include Valley Forge National Historical Park (VAFO), George
Washington Birthplace National Monument (GEWA) and Thomas Stone National
Historic Site (THST). The latter two parks are components of the Northeast
Coastal and Barrier Network (NCBN). A variety of sampling methods were
employed at Popes Creek in GEWA, including boat mounted electrofishing
gear, trawls, seines, minnow traps and angling gear. The areas within
FRSP, RICH, and PETE that were either resampled or newly sampled during
2003 resulted in the addition of new species within each park that were
not encountered during 2002. As in 2002, species diversity appeared
to be most influenced by the number streams or other aquatic areas present
within each park, stream size and/or diversity of habitat types within/between
During the third
year, 2004, of the MIDN fish inventory, several sites within each of
APCO, BOWA, and FRSP were resampled from among those initially sampled
during 2002 and 2003 effectively completing the fish inventory in those
three parks. Fish inventories in VAFO were also completed this year
with the addition of a section of the Schuylkill River sampled by the
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC). Also this year, the inventory
was expanded to include Gettysburg National Military Park (GETT) and
Eisenhower National Historic Site (EISE). Additionally, GEWA, was sampled
extensively during 2004 as a follow-up to the preliminary 2003 sampling
effort. Multiple electrofishing techniques were employed for inventories
in the MIDN parks during 2003 and 2004 including backpack, towed and
boat mounted gear. Towed and boat mounted gear and personnel were provided
courtesy of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF)
and the PFBC. Sampling within the expansive aquatic habitats of GEWA
was accomplished to a large degree with a cooperative agreement with
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). A variety of sampling methods
were employed within GEWA including the use of fyke nets, trawls, seines,
and angling gear.
The cumulative fish inventory effort from all streams and sites from
all years include a total of 100 species from 44,076 individual fish
captured. Cumulative fish species diversity within individual parks
ranged from eight at THST to 41 at FRSP.
A high diversity and density of fish found in the red shale/sandstone/limestone
streams within EISE. A total of 16,851 fish representing 31 species
were captured at EISE in less than two days of electrofishing within
two park streams.
The bigeye jumprock (Scartomyzon ariommus), a globally
rare Catostomid (sucker family) documented in Gills Creek at BOWA. Nearly
one third of the fish community diversity within Gills Creek is comprised
of Catostomids. A total of 10 species have been detected within the
section that flows through or adjacent to BOWA.
A population of mottled sculpin (Cottus bairdi) encountered
in the central Piedmont (Wilderness Run, FRSP). Within Virginia, these
fish are more typical of coldwater streams in the Blue Ridge and Valley
and Ridge physiographic provinces. Disjunct mottled sculpin population
isolates within Virginia only occur within the Rappahannock and James
A population of silverjaw minnows (Ericymba buccata) encountered
in the upper Coastal Plain (Hazel Run, FRSP). This is the only known
record of the species within the Rappahannock Drainage from the upper
Coastal Plain. These fish more typically occur in the central to upper
Piedmont regions of the drainage.
The detection of introduced flathead catfish (Pylodictus olivaris)
within the Schuylkill River section that flows through VAFO and the
associated absence of a sunfish (Lepomis) population within the sample
section. These fish have been gradually introduced into a number of
Atlantic slope drainages from the Mississippi basin since the mid 1960s
and have since become well established within some systems.
A total of 34 fish species detected within GEWA over two years
sampling. The expansive Popes Creek system is dominated by white
perch (Morone americana).Of the various sampling techniques employed
within the Popes Creek system including electrofishing, trawling,
seining, minnow traps, eel pots, fyke nets and angling, fyke nets proved
to be the most efficient technique followed by seine hauls and angling.
A number of established fish populations throughout the MIDN
parks are the result of introductions. These include members of the
Centrarchid family (sunfish and bass) that have been widely dispersed
throughout the continental United States as the result of state sponsored
stocking programs, the flathead catfish, brown trout and fathead minnows
encountered within VAFO, the greenside darter and fathead minnow population
encountered at EISE and all carp records.
While there are currently no listed endangered or threatened
species within any aquatic system in any of the parks sampled, several
species appear on the Virginia Natural Heritage Vertebrate Watch List.
There is also current concern in regards to the status of American eel
populations in the eastern United States.
The park lands included in this inventory are relatively small in area
and do not generally contain or otherwise have control of the headwaters
of aquatic systems present. However, the aquatic systems present within
many of the parks contain significant fishery resources. Many if not
most streams within these parks will be affected by activities associated
with development, agriculture or other disturbances further upstream.
Where feasible, park staff should encourage programs and projects that
result in improved water quality in areas upstream from the parks.
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Body of report to Appendix C
Appendix D, part 1
Appendix D, part 2
Appendix D, part 3
Appendix D, part 4
Appendix E, part 1
Appendix E, part 2
Appendix F, part 1
Appendix F, part 2