Nebraska Academy of Sciences


Date of this Version

Winter 12-31-2014


Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences 34 (2014), pp. 49–67


Copyright (c) 2014 Kirk D. Steffensen, Dane A. Shuman, and Sam Stukel


Throughout the past century, the Missouri River has been highly modified which has negatively affected the native fish community. Previous research quantified the reduction of several native Cyprinidae species and made several recommendations to aid in recovery. However, these recommendations were not implemented. Therefore, the objective of this paper is to assess the current population trends of eight native cyprinid species and develop the current management objectives. Over 335,000 fish were collected from the Missouri River along Nebraska’s eastern border with mini-fyke nets and otter trawls from 2003 to 2012. Target Cyprinidae species consisted of less than five percent (n = 14,610) of the total catch with Silver Chubs (n = 11,804) comprising the majority (81%) of target species captured. State-wide all eight species were captured, although localized extirpations may have occurred. These native cyprinid species are extremely rare or extirpated upstream of Gavins Point Dam and populations continue to be limited downstream of Gavins Point Dam. Generally, relative abundance of these fish increased in the channelized reach, compared to the unchannelized reaches, but they no longer dominate the fish community. This shift in species composition and low relative abundance estimates continue to indicate imperilment of the Missouri River system.