Fish Communities at George Washington Carver National Monument

Banded Sculpin at George Washington Carver National Monument
Banded Sculpin at George Washington Carver National Monument

NPS

Agriculture and urban land use affect water quality of streams and the animals that live in them. Many fish are sensitive to poor habitat and water quality conditions. Fish serve as good indicators of stream health. Midwestern fish species are at risk of population declines due to habitat and water quality degradation. It is important to protect portions of streams on publicly owned lands to offer refuge for these declining species.

Harkin's Branch at George Washington Carver National Monument
Harkin's Branch at George Washington Carver National Monument

NPS

Scientists have been monitoring fish in three park streams since 2006. They collect fish using electrofishing techniques. Fish are measured and inspected for diseases and abnormalities. Monitoring fish allows scientists to determine which species are in the park and how well they are doing in the streams. Fish data is then related back to stream habitat and water quality conditions.
Stream Integrity Graph
Graph of stream integrity from 2006 to 2016

NPS

A total of 18 fish species have been caught in the park including the Arkansas darter, which was recently taken off the threatened species candidate list. Fish communities did not vary greatly among the years sampled. Overall, the fish communities were diverse and healthy with low percentage of disease. All three streams had moderate to high stream integrity scores. This suggests that fish communities were dominated by species intolerant to poor water quality such as darters, sculpins, and madtoms. Scientists will continue to monitor fish communities at George Washington Carver National Monument to help track the health of the streams and fish communities.
View the Full Report. (pdf)

For more information visit the Heartland Inventory & Monitoring Network homepage.


Data in this report were collected and analyzed using methods based on established, peer-reviewed protocols and were analyzed and interpreted within the guidelines of the protocols.

Last updated: April 3, 2018