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Constraints upon the response of fish and crayfish to environmental flow releases in a regulated headwater stream network

Chester, Edwin T., Matthews, Ty G., Howson, Travis J., Johnston, Kerrylyn, Mackie, Jonathon K., Strachan, Scott R. and Robson, Belinda J. 2014, Constraints upon the response of fish and crayfish to environmental flow releases in a regulated headwater stream network, PLoS One, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 1-10, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091925.

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Title Constraints upon the response of fish and crayfish to environmental flow releases in a regulated headwater stream network
Author(s) Chester, Edwin T.
Matthews, Ty G.ORCID iD for Matthews, Ty G. orcid.org/0000-0002-0606-5433
Howson, Travis J.
Johnston, Kerrylyn
Mackie, Jonathon K.
Strachan, Scott R.
Robson, Belinda J.
Journal name PLoS One
Volume number 9
Issue number 3
Start page 1
End page 10
Total pages 10
Publisher Public Library of Science
Place of publication San Francisco, Calif.
Publication date 2014-03-19
ISSN 1932-6203
Keyword(s) Science & Technology
Multidisciplinary Sciences
Science & Technology - Other Topics
FRESH-WATER FISH
SOUTH-EASTERN AUSTRALIA
MACULATUS JENYNS 1842
GALAXIAS-MACULATUS
PROCAMBARUS-CLARKII
INVASIVE CRAYFISH
CLIMATE-CHANGE
LIFE-HISTORY
DROUGHT
RIVER
Summary In dry climate zones, headwater streams are often regulated for water extraction causing intermittency in perennial streams and prolonged drying in intermittent streams. Regulation thereby reduces aquatic habitat downstream of weirs that also form barriers to migration by stream fauna. Environmental flow releases may restore streamflow in rivers, but are rarely applied to headwaters. We sampled fish and crayfish in four regulated headwater streams before and after the release of summer-autumn environmental flows, and in four nearby unregulated streams, to determine whether their abundances increased in response to flow releases. Historical data of fish and crayfish occurrence spanning a 30 year period was compared with contemporary data (electrofishing surveys, Victoria Range, Australia; summer 2008 to summer 2010) to assess the longer-term effects of regulation and drought. Although fish were recorded in regulated streams before 1996, they were not recorded in the present study upstream or downstream of weirs despite recent flow releases. Crayfish (Geocharax sp. nov. 1) remained in the regulated streams throughout the study, but did not become more abundant in response to flow releases. In contrast, native fish (Gadopsis marmoratus, Galaxias oliros, Galaxias maculatus) and crayfish remained present in unregulated streams, despite prolonged drought conditions during 2006-2010, and the assemblages of each of these streams remained essentially unchanged over the 30 year period. Flow release volumes may have been too small or have operated for an insufficient time to allow fish to recolonise regulated streams. Barriers to dispersal may also be preventing recolonisation. Indefinite continuation of annual flow releases, that prevent the unnatural cessation of flow caused by weirs, may eventually facilitate upstream movement of fish and crayfish in regulated channels; but other human-made dispersal barriers downstream need to be identified and ameliorated, to allow native fish to fulfil their life cycles in these headwater streams.
Language eng
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0091925
Field of Research 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change
Socio Economic Objective 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2014, Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30067941

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.