Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit


Date of this Version



Spurgeon, J. J., R. H. Stasiak, G. R. Cunningham, K. L. Pope, and M. A. Pegg. 2014. Status of native stream fishes within selected protected areas of Niobrara River in western Nebraska. Great Plains Research 24:71-78.


US government work.


Lotic systems within the Great Plains are characterized by highly fl uctuating conditions through both space and time. Fishes inhabiting these systems have adopted specifi c life- history strategies to survive in such environments; however, anthropogenic disturbance to prairie streams has resulted in declines and extirpation of many native stream fi shes. Terrestrial protected areas (i.e., parks and reserves) are designated to support native fl ora and fauna and, it is assumed, to provide protection to native fi shes. We assessed the presence and relative abundance of stream fi sh populations within protected areas along the Niobrara River in western Nebraska based on data collected during 1979, 1989, 2008, and 2011. Th e spatial extent of protection, landscape changes resulting in degraded physiochemical parameters, and introduced species may reduce the eff ectiveness of these terrestrial protected areas in protecting native fi shes in Great Plains stream environments.