Welcome to the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program
Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program Balancing Resource Use and Conservation

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Fisheries Activities

      Research and Monitoring

Adult flannelmouth captured during annual surveys in Reach 3 - Photo by ReclamationAdult humpback chub on display with visible external tag  - Photo by ReclamationAdult bonytail being stocked into the Imperial Ponds - Photo by Reclamation

Species Research

Many species of fish native to the Lower Colorado River have not been studied extensively. Because of this, some basic knowledge required for their conservation is being undertaken by LCR MSCP staff biologists. For instance, native species were always assumed to have a broad tolerance for water quality thresholds. Since 2007, laboratory tests have been conducted by LCR MSCP staff and partners to establish previously undocumented water quality thresholds on egg, larval, and juvenile bonytail and razorback suckers. With this research, the program staff was able to document the survival of early life stage native fish at increased salinities and pH levels, and at decreased dissolved oxygen levels not previously evaluated. These established thresholds can be applied to the creation and management of native fish backwater habitats.

The research component is also vital to the success of the fish augmentation efforts.  The program continues to evaluate the successes of past and current stocking programs. The continuous contact of previously stocked fish through remote sensing, netting, and electro-fishing has provided insight into which stocking variables have the greatest impact on post stocking survival. Parameters such as stocking length, location, and season were often documented as impacting survival. As this program matures, the impacts of these parameters will continue to become clearer and the LCR MSCP fish augmentation program can adjust accordingly.

This link provides access to technical reports on LCR MSCP species.

These links provide more information on some individual species research activities:

Razorback Sucker Bonytail, Humpback Chub, and Flannelmouth Sucker
Rearing Studies Bonytail Rearing Studies
Post Stocking Survival in Lake Mohave Humpback Chub Support
Lake Mead Imperial Ponds Native Fish Research
Imperial Ponds Native Fish Research Determination of Bonytail Water Quality Needs
Genetic Diversity Assessment Post-Stocking Survival and Distribution of Bonytail in Reach 3
Determination of Razorback Water Quality Needs Genetic and Demographic Studies of Bonytail in Off-Channel Habitats
Survival of 500 mm Razorback Stocked in Reach 3 Role of Artificial Habitat in Bonytail Survival
Genetic and Demographic Studies of Razorback in Off-Channel Habitats Management of Fish Food Resources in Off-Channel Habitats
Razorback Ecology and Habitat Use in Reach 3 Physiological Response of Bonytail to Transport Stress
Physiological Response of Razorback to Transport Stress Genetic Management and Monitoring of Bonytail in Rearing Ponds
Role of Artificial Habitat in Razorback Survival Movement and Habitat Use of Bonytail Downstream of Parker Dam
Movement and Habitat Use of Razorback Downstream of Parker Dam Sonic Telemetry Studies of Juvenile Flannelmouth in Reach 3
Characterization of Lake Mohave Backwater to Evaluate Factors Influencing Spawning Success Development and Evaluation of Measures to Reduce Transport of Quagga Mussel During Fish Transfer and Stocking Activities
Sonic Telemetry of Lake Mead Juvenile Razorback Suckers Investigating Shoreline Habitat Cover for BONY
Evaluation of Alternative Stocking Methods for Fish Augmentation Selenium Monitoring in Created Backwater and Marsh Habitat
Evaluation of Habitat Features Influencing Success of Razorback Sucker in Backwaters Evaluation of Habitat Features Influencing Success of Razorback Sucker in Backwaters
Post-Stocking Movement, Distribution, and Habitat Use of Razorback Sucker Post-Stocking Movement, Distribution, and Habitat Use of Razorback Sucker
Evaluation of Immediate Post-Stocking Survival of Razorback Sucker Evaluation of Immediate Post-Stocking Survival of Razorback Sucker

System Monitoring

A key component in the development of management objectives centers on monitoring the existing populations of razorback sucker, bonytail, and flannelmouth sucker in the Lower Colorado River. Specific monitoring techniques have been adapted to conditions within the program area. These not only include the fish, but also habitats. Partner agencies are documenting fish locations at specific points in time along the entire lower Colorado River. The program staff compiles and maintains up-to-date records regarding habitat use, distribution, population status, and general fish health. Monitoring includes a variety of survey techniques such as the netting and electro-fishing taking place at pre-determined intervals for fish population estimates from Lake Mead, Lake Mohave, Lake Havasu, and other areas along the lower Colorado River. Technological advances have allowed more diverse and non-invasive methods to track these species.

Among some of the more hands-off visual survey tools are underwater photography and video recordings to help monitor behavior. Remote sensing is also a form of monitoring that is frequently used because of its efficiency and its ability to survey without repeatedly handling a fish. With this monitoring method, each fish is injected with a unique identifying tag. When a sensing unit is deployed in the water, it detects the fish as it swims near an antenna connected to an integrated scanner and data logger.

These links provide more information on the Razorback Sucker and Bonytail Stock Assessment project and the post development monitoring of fish restoration sites:

Updated December 18, 2017