A decline in backwaters along the Lower Missouri River (a large
floodplain river in Central United States) during the last
century has been associated with a reduction in fish diversity and
biomass. The lower reaches of tributary streams provide areas of reduced
current where larval and juvenile life stages of riverine species can
rear. These tributaries are the largest remaining source of backwaters on
the Lower Missouri, but to my knowledge there has been no estimate of how
much aquatic habitat they provide.
Can anyone suggest defendable criteria for measuring the aquatic surface
area associated with tributaries (with a reference if possible)? How far
upstream is considered habitat for fishes from the mainstem river? Is
this distance a function of tributary size? My best guess is to measure
length of the tributary stream from river bank to floodplain edge off an
air photo and multiply by mean stream width.
If you reply to my e-mail address, I will post any answers.
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