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Just got my Bronzeback Bulleting for...June.

 

Lots of good conservation grants were funded, which probably would bear some attention and discussion. Water willow planting, Trent's Kaskaskia reclaimation program, an electric seine, an aquaview for sampling clear water streams, more work at Indian Creek...

 

...and a fin ray study that looked pretty interesting.

 

Who was the grantee for the fin ray study?

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Greg Whitledge at SIU.

We granted him money for smallmouth related (temperature) studies last year as well.

I did an extensive interview with him on the telephone (and subsequent calls with more questions), so these grants were not awarded just because people applied.

Each one was critiqued heavily by the officers for their value to the resource and ISA agendas.

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Conservation Grants: 2008

 

We're very fortunate to have such a dedicated group of anglers that continue to support us by renewing their membership each and every year to make these possible.

Our volunteer efforts are second to none, but we can't possibly do it all on our own.

This program serves to facilitate others in preservation, research and other opportunities that dictate how our rivers and streams are managed for the future.

The ISA Conservation Grant Program awarded the following grants for 2008:

 

Pit Tag Scanners

Project approach: All adult smallmouth bass (usually 12 inches and larger) collected by electrofishing from the Kaskaskia River will continue to be pit-tagged for identification. Upon subsequent collection from the river or rearing ponds, the pit tag data will be scanned and recorded into a spreadsheet for analyses and tracking purposes. All adults collected in the spring for pond propagation are released back into the Kaskaskia River in the fall of the same year. Collection opportunities exist in the spring during broodstock collecting, in the fall during annual stocking assessments, and upon draining the rearing ponds each year.

 

Project relevance and justification: The Kaskaskia River Smallmouth Bass Supplemental Stocking Program epitomizes the conservation philosophy of ISA, while providing a quality recreational angling opportunity to catch numerous and large smallmouth bass.

 

Information gained from pit tagging the adult smallmouth bass has added meaningful data layers to this ongoing project. The Kaskaskia River smallmouth bass population is quickly becoming the most closely monitored river population of smallmouth bass in the state of Illinois. Information obtained from this project should help direct management activities for smallmouth bass throughout the state.

 

Water Willow Plantings at Potawatomi Woods Forest Preserve

South Branch of the Kishwaukee River

This will assist in stream bank stabilization to address erosion issues,

and serves as a water quality improvement project. 200 Water Willow plugs will be purchased

from Country Road Greenhouse in Creston.

Volunteers, Forest preserve staff and ISA members will complete the work, with an anticipated volunteer day set for Summer 2008.

 

Electric Seine For IDNR

The IDNR is currently very short of commodity cash funds so they asked for help to buy the

materials to make a new one. They use the electric seine to sample small

streams at wadeable sites. Several of our members helped them

with the basin survey last summer and assisted while the electric seine was in use. A great effort that pays dividends in actual river management and as a learning tool for all involved.

 

Smallmouth Fin Ray Studies

 

Project goals: The goal of the proposed project is to evaluate chemical composition of pectoral fin rays as a natural marker of smallmouth bass environmental history in Illinois streams. Specifically, the proposed project will determine whether natural differences in fin ray chemistry are present in smallmouth bass from different streams and rivers (including rivers and their tributaries) in northern Illinois. If so, these differences in fin ray chemical composition (which are reflective of differences in water chemistry among streams) could be used as natural tags and indicators of smallmouth bass use of and movement among rivers and streams in Illinois.

 

Project approach:

Field sampling - Smallmouth bass will be obtained from ten northern Illinois rivers and streams during summer 2008 (after smallmouth bass nesting has ceased for the year) using a seine, a Smith-Root LR-24 backpack electrofisher, boat electrofishing, or angling (depending on the characteristics of the stream or river being sampled). Locations to be sampled will include sites in the Apple River drainage, the Rock River and tributaries (e.g., the Kishwaukee River), the Fox River and tributaries, the Kankakee River, and the Vermilion River (Illinois River tributary).

 

Timeline: June-July 2008 – collect fish and obtain fin ray samples

August 2008 – prepare fin ray samples for analysis

September 2008 – analyze fin ray samples

October-December 2008 – data analysis & presentation of results to ISA

 

AquaVu Camera For IDNR

This equipment will be used to study the effects of lunker structures, analyze stream bottom conditions and possibly for annual river surveys. Many projects the ISA has already participated in and/or funded will benefit immensely from the implementation of this tool.

 

Indian Creek Erosion Control

The addition of 2 truckloads of rock for the purpose of sediment abatement and erosion control will be on a cost-share basis with the IDNR.

Stream biologist Karen Rivera reviewed the work that was done last year on this stream and concluded that it is making a positive impact.

This particular project will serve to protect the banks during high water events, and divert the flow to a more central location to work in conjunction with previous efforts.

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More on the fin ray sampling grant:

 

 

 

Title: Fin ray chemistry as a natural tag for smallmouth bass in Illinois streams.

 

Applicant: Dr. Greg Whitledge

Assistant Professor

Fisheries and Illinois Aquaculture Center

Southern Illinois University

Carbondale, IL 62901-6511

(618) 453-6089

gwhit@siu.edu

 

Administrative Official for Grants and Contracts at SIUC:

 

Dr. Prudence M. Rice

Office of Research Development and Administration

900 S. Normal, Woody Hall C206

Southern Illinois University

Carbondale, IL 62901-4709

(618) 453-4540

orda@siu.edu

 

Project goals: The goal of the proposed project is to evaluate chemical composition of pectoral fin rays as a natural marker of smallmouth bass environmental history in Illinois streams. Specifically, the proposed project will determine whether natural differences in fin ray chemistry are present in smallmouth bass from different streams and rivers (including rivers and their tributaries) in northern Illinois. If so, these differences in fin ray chemical composition (which are reflective of differences in water chemistry among streams) could be used as natural tags and indicators of smallmouth bass use of and movement among rivers and streams in Illinois.

 

Project approach:

Field sampling - Smallmouth bass will be obtained from ten northern Illinois rivers and streams during summer 2008 (after smallmouth bass nesting has ceased for the year) using a seine, a Smith-Root LR-24 backpack electrofisher, boat electrofishing, or angling (depending on the characteristics of the stream or river being sampled). Locations to be sampled will include sites in the Apple River drainage, the Rock River and tributaries (e.g., the Kishwaukee River), the Fox River and tributaries, the Kankakee River, and the Vermilion River (Illinois River tributary).

I have previously sampled water and fishes from the upper Illinois, Des Plaines, Du Page, and Fox (main stem only, no tributaries) Rivers for analysis of trace element chemistry as part of another research project. In that study, I determined that the Fox, Des Plaines, and upper Illinois Rivers each possess distinct chemical “signatures” that are reflected in the otoliths (ear stones) of fishes from these three rivers. Otoliths provide a permanent record of the chemical “signatures” of environments that an individual fish has occupied during its lifetime and also contain daily and annual rings (much like those in trees) that provide a record of fish age and growth. By associating changes in the chemical composition of material within otoliths in relation to locations of annual growth rings, it is possible to reconstruct an individual fish’s environmental history (i.e., to determine at what age(s) that fish moved between environments that are chemically distinct). For example, this technique could enable determination of whether a fish was spawned in the environment in which it was collected or was an immigrant from another location (e.g., a tributary of the river in which it was captured). Like otoliths, fin rays also contain an age and growth record, and the chemical composition of cross-sections of fin rays can also be analyzed in a manner similar to otoliths to identify environments that a fish has occupied during its lifetime. Fin rays also offer an advantage in that they can be obtained without sacrificing or otherwise doing significant harm to the fish. In effect, the chemical composition of fish otoliths or fin rays can serve as a naturally-occurring “tag”, indicating the environment or series of environments where an individual fish has lived.

The applicability of fin ray or otolith chemical composition as an indicator of fish environmental history depends on the existence of distinct chemical “signatures” among environments. I am interested in characterizing the chemical “signatures” of smallmouth bass streams and rivers in northern Illinois (in addition to those that I have already sampled) to further evaluate the utility of this technique for Illinois’ smallmouth bass streams. Water samples for chemical analysis will be collected in conjunction with fish sampling at each location. I typically sample both water and fish tissue(s) for this type of study to verify that differences in chemical “signatures” among locations are present and consistent for both water and fish, to identify any individuals that are suspected migrants from other locations, and to evaluate the stability of differences in environmental “signatures” over time (water samples are a “snapshot” in time, whereas fin rays or otoliths provide information on both past and present environmental chemistry experienced by a fish). A pectoral fin ray sample will be obtained from 10 fish from each river or stream sampled in this study. Following acquisition of fin ray samples, fish will be released at their location of capture.

 

Fin ray sample preparation & analysis - Pectoral fin ray samples will be embedded in epoxy resin and cross-sectioned with an ISOMET low-speed saw. Embedded fin ray cross-sections will then be ground with silicon carbide paper until the core is exposed and polished to reveal growth rings. Polished fin ray sections will be ultrasonically cleaned for 5 minutes in ultrapure water to remove any surface contamination and dried in a class 100 laminar flow hood for 24 hours. Once dry, fin ray sections will be mounted on glass slides using double-sided tape. Fin ray samples will be analyzed for a suite of trace elements (including strontium, barium, magnesium, and other metals) using laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICPMS). Fin ray material will be ablated with the laser for chemical analysis along a line extending from the core of each fin ray cross-section (which will reflect the environment occupied during a fish’s early life) to its outer edge (which will reflect the fish’s most recent environment).

 

Data analysis - Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) will be used to test for and characterize differences in fin ray chemical composition among sampling locations. Linear discriminant function analysis will be used to determine the accuracy with which individual fish can be classified back to their collection locations based on their fin ray chemical signatures.

Project relevance and justification: Completion of the proposed project will provide a new, non-lethal approach to obtain information on smallmouth bass environmental history in Illinois streams and rivers that does not require application of artificial tags. Future applications of fin ray chemistry as a natural tag could provide new insight into the frequency, timing, and extent of smallmouth bass movement among rivers throughout their life history and facilitate the gathering of basic information relevant to management of smallmouth bass populations, such as the relative importance of different tributaries as source habitats for smallmouth bass populations in a larger river or within a watershed. This information would be difficult to nearly impossible to obtain by other means. The ability to determine smallmouth bass environmental history in Illinois streams and rivers using fin ray chemistry could also be useful for evaluation of habitat improvement projects. For example, this technique could conceivably be used to determine whether fish abundance increased in stream or river where habitat restoration or enhancement occurred due to local reproduction or whether fish moved into restored or enhanced areas from other locations (and what locations they came from). Additionally, this technique may also be useful in some cases for evaluating the extent to which improvements to fish passage structures or barrier (e.g., low-head dam) removal enable smallmouth bass and other species to move among river and stream segments that would otherwise be isolated by man-made barriers or to determine the locations from which fish recolonized habitats opened up by installation of fish passage structures or barrier removal. In summary, completion of the proposed study will facilitate the gathering of basic information regarding the extent to which healthy smallmouth bass populations depend on the ability to move among streams within a watershed or between larger rivers and their tributaries.

Improved knowledge of environments used by smallmouth bass throughout their life history will be useful for guiding efforts to protect and restore streams or stream segments critical to maintenance of smallmouth bass populations within a watershed. Thus, the proposed project is consistent with the philosophy of the ISA in that it is expected to lay the foundation for future research that will enhance our knowledge of processes (e.g., connectivity among stream segments or rivers and their tributaries) that have historically sustained smallmouth bass populations in Illinois streams and rivers.

 

Budget: A total of $1,980 is requested for this project. This includes funds for supplies required to prepare fin ray samples for analysis ($150), fees associated with chemical analysis of fin rays (10 sites x 10 fish/site x $15/fin ray sample = $1,500), and indirect costs ($330; this is 20% of direct costs listed above and is reduced from the standard 44.5% rate charged by SIUC). Sampling gear, vehicles and travel expenses to field sites from Carbondale, and analysis of water samples will be provided by Dr. Whitledge’s laboratory.

 

Timeline: June-July 2008 – collect fish and obtain fin ray samples

August 2008 – prepare fin ray samples for analysis

September 2008 – analyze fin ray samples

October-December 2008 – data analysis & presentation of results to ISA

 

CURRICULUM VITAE:

 

Gregory W. Whitledge

Assistant Professor

Fisheries and Illinois Aquaculture Center, Center for Ecology, and Department of Zoology

Southern Illinois University

Carbondale, IL 62901-6511

 

Education:

Ph.D., 2001, Fisheries, University of Missouri Columbia

M.S., 1996, Fisheries, University of Missouri Columbia

B.S., 1993, Aquatic Biology, The University of Texas at Austin, (with honors)

 

Professional Experience:

 

Assistant Professor, Department of Zoology, Fisheries and Illinois Aquaculture Center,

and Center for Ecology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL, July 2005-present

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Fishery and Wildlife Biology, Colorado State

University, Fort Collins, CO, Oct. 2003-July 2005

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences,

University of Missouri-Columbia, Jan. 2002-Sept. 2003

Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, University

of Missouri Columbia, Aug. 1993 Dec. 2001

 

Selected Seminars and Presentations:

 

Whitledge, G.W. 2008. Otolith chemistry as an indicator of fish environmental history

in the upper Illinois River system and Lake Michigan. 46th Annual Meeting, Illinois Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, Rockford, IL.

Whitledge, G.W. 2006. Stable isotopes as indicators of fish environmental history. 44th

Annual Meeting, Illinois Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, Whittington, IL.

Whitledge, G.W., B.M. Johnson, P.J. Martinez, and A.M. Martinez. 2005.

Environmental history of centrarchids in the Colorado River: insights from otolith Sr:Ca and hydrogen isotope analyses. 135th Annual Meeting, American Fisheries Society, Anchorage, AK.

Johnson, B.M., D. Gibson-Reinemer, P.J. Martinez, D.L. Winkelman, and G.W.

Whitledge. 2005. Forensic applications of otolith microchemistry for tracking

sources of stocked whirling-diseased trout. 11th Annual Whirling Disease Symposium, Denver, CO.

Whitledge, G.W. and C.F. Rabeni. 2003. Modeling influences of riparian shading and

groundwater inflow on summer thermal habitat and growth of smallmouth bass in Ozark streams. 64th Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, Kansas City, MO.

 

 

Whitledge, G.W., R.S. Hayward, R.D. Zweifel, and C.F. Rabeni. 2002. Development

and laboratory evaluation of a bioenergetics model for sub-adult and adult smallmouth bass. Midwest Fisheries Conference, Bettendorf, IA.

 

Selected publications:

 

Vandermyde, J.M. and G.W. Whitledge. 2008. Otolith δ15N distinguishes fish

from forested and agricultural streams in southern Illinois. Journal of Freshwater Ecology (in press).

Whitledge, G.W. 2008. Assessment of otolith chemistry as an indicator of fish

movement or transfer between the Illinois River system and Lake Michigan. Final report to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

Johnson, B.M., D.K. Gibson-Reinemer, P.J. Martinez, D.L. Winkelman, and G.W.

Whitledge. 2007. Forensic applications of otolith microchemistry for tracking sources of illegally stocked, whirling disease-positive trout. Final Report to Whirling Disease Initiative, Montana Water Center.

Whitledge, G.W., B.M. Johnson, P.J. Martinez, and A.M. Martinez. 2007. Sources of

non-native centrarchids in the upper Colorado River revealed by stable isotope and microchemical analyses of otoliths. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society.

Whitledge, G.W., C.F. Rabeni, G. Annis, and S.P. Sowa. 2006. Riparian shading and

groundwater enhance growth potential for smallmouth bass in Ozark streams. Ecological Applications 16:1461-1473.

Whitledge, G.W., R.S. Hayward, R.D. Zweifel, and C.F. Rabeni. 2003. Development

and laboratory evaluation of a bioenergetics model for sub-adult and adult smallmouth bass. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 132:316-325.

Whitledge, G.W., R.S. Hayward, and C.F. Rabeni. 2002. Effects of temperature on

specific daily metabolic demand and growth scope of sub-adult and adult smallmouth bass. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 17:353-361.

Whitledge, G.W. and C.F. Rabeni. 1997. Energy sources and ecological role of

crayfishes in an Ozark stream: insights from stable isotopes and gut analysis. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 54:2555 2563.

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I did an extensive interview with him on the telephone (and subsequent calls with more questions), so these grants were not awarded just because people applied.

 

Not sure what prompted that... :rolleyes:

 

...but all in all those are some excellent projects. Especially the fin ray study.

 

Does everyone understand what that study is doing?

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The key to this thing is here....

 

Improved knowledge of environments used by smallmouth bass throughout their life history will be useful for guiding efforts to protect and restore streams or stream segments critical to maintenance of smallmouth bass populations within a watershed.

 

How many times have you seen something happen in a river and wondered if it will have an effect on the stream where you fish.

 

"Are MY fish going to be affected by that fish kill/chemical spill/new habitat/ etc. etc. etc?"

 

That has happened as recently during the "discussion" about where to put the habitat improvements after the 400K settlement for the Saline Branch fish kill. Prairie Rivers wanted the restorations to focus downstream. The government said the law stipulates the restortation had to be done "in the affected site". Without data to show that Saline Branch fish and Salt Fork fish are the same (they may well be), that work could only be done immediately below the plant where the accident occurred.

 

This study won't be able to cover the whole state, but it will start to paint the picture of where your fish are living during different life history stages. Things like underlying geologic formations and sewage treatment plants throw off heavy metals like arsenic which serve as chemical tracers for sites around them...other chemicals are unique to other areas. The researchers just pop off a fish's spine, analyze it along with 10 others and there's a picture of where and when the fish were hanging out based on the chemicals in their bodies.

 

That along with the camera, Trent's study and the others are a pretty good haul. Nice job.

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