Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit


Date of this Version



Lake and Reservoir Management, 32:41–50, 2016; DOI: 10.1080/10402381.2015.1118418


US govt work.


Lakes and reservoirs progress through an aging process often accelerated by human activities, resulting in degradation or loss of ecosystem services. Resource managers thus attempt to slow or reverse the negative effects of aging using a myriad of rehabilitation strategies. Sustained monitoring programs to assess the efficacy of rehabilitation strategies are often limited; however, long-term standardized fishery surveys may be a valuable data source from which to begin evaluation.We present 3 case studies using standardized fishery survey data to assess rehabilitation efforts stemming from the Nebraska Aquatic Habitat Plan, a large-scale program with the mission to rehabilitate waterbodies within the state. The case studies highlight that biotic responses to rehabilitation efforts can be assessed, to an extent, using standardized fishery data; however, there were specific areas where minor increases in effort would clarify the effectiveness of rehabilitation techniques. Management of lakes and reservoirs can be streamlined by maximizing the utility of such datasets to work smarter, not harder. To facilitate such efforts, we stress collecting both biotic (e.g., fish lengths and weight) and abiotic (e.g., dissolved oxygen, pH, and turbidity) data during standardized fishery surveys and designing rehabilitation actions with an appropriate experimental design.