Fish assemblages of perennial floodplain ponds of the Sacramento River, California (USA), with implications for the conservation of native fishes

Abstract

To assess the likelihood of enhancing native fish populations by means of floodplain restoration projects, habitat characteristics and fish assemblages of seven perennial floodplain ponds in Yolo Bypass, the primary floodplain of the Sacramento River, California (USA), were examined during summer 2001. Although all ponds were eutrophic, based upon high chlorophyll a or dissolved nutrient concentrations, relatively large shallow ponds generally exhibited higher specific conductivity and dissolved phosphorus concentrations than small deep ponds, which exhibited greater water transparency and total dissolved nitrogen concentrations. Using multiple gear types, 13 688 fishes comprising 23 species were collected. All ponds were dominated by alien fishes; only three native species contributing <1% of the total number of individuals and <3% of overall biomass were captured. Fish assemblage structure varied among ponds, notably between engineered vs. natural ponds, and was related to specific conductance, total dissolved solids and water transparency.

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