Monitoring the Effects of Reservoir Creation on Federally Listed Fish Species in the Southeast
Anderson, Paul G.
Browne, Barry G. H.
Freeman, Byron J.
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The proposal to construct a large off-stream public water supply reservoir on the floodplain of the Conasauga River raised concern for the aquatic community of the river, that includes twelve federally listed fish and mussel species. The primary function of the reservoir is to augment Conasauga River discharge during low flow periods by the release of water collected during periods of high flow. During the permitting process, concern was focused on potential aquatic macro-habitat modification issues such as the river's thermal regime, discharge regime, and water quality (dissolved oxygen and nutrient availability) and on issues related to availability of preferred habitats for species of special concern. In an effort to quantify any change to water quantity and quality, studies on the Conasauga River and an existing similar reservoir began in 1992. In 1992, the Section 404 permit was granted for the proposed reservoir. The permit requires implementation of a water quality and biological monitoring program. The monitoring program includes collection of information relative to river temperature, discharge and water quality information and the collection of water quality information from an existing reservoir of similar design. In addition, the monitoring program includes the collection of fish distribution, habitat preference and micro-habitat availability information for the purposes of monitoring the distribution of fish species of special importance, to obtain additional information on the life history and habitat requirements of these species and to assess the availability of preferred habitats over time. The pre-operation phase of the monitoring program is nearing completion and the biological and water quality monitoring program has been in-place for two years. In this paper, the design of the monitoring program is introduced and some initial results of the pre-operation phase monitoring program are presented.