Development of water level regulation strategies for fish and wildlife, upper Mississippi river system



Water level regulation has been proposed as a tool for maintaining or enhancing fish and wildlife resources in navigation pools and associated flood plains of the Upper Mississippi River System. Research related to the development of water level management plans is being conducted under the Long Term Resource Monitoring Program. Research strategies include investigations of cause and effect relationships, spatial and temporal patterns of resource components, and alternative problem solutions. The principal hypothesis being tested states that water level fluctuations resulting from navigation dam operation create less than optimal conditions for the reproduction and growth of target aquatic macrophyte and fish species. Representative navigation pools have been selected to describe hydrologic, engineering, and legal constraints within which fish and wildlife objectives can be established. Spatial analyses are underway to predict the magnitude and location of habitat changes that will result from controlled changes in water elevation.