Stream Fish Distribution and Abundance
Historical records of fish collections within the Jacks Fork Watershed date back to 26 June, 1941 (MoRAP 2000). Fish collection sites are presented in Figure Bc01. From 1941 to 1997, 67 fish species (not including hybrids or larval lamprey) in 16 families have been collected within the watershed (Table Bc01) (MDC Ozark Regional Fish Collection Files; Pflieger 1989; Pflieger 1997; MDC 1999c; MoRAP 2000a).
Table Bc02 shows fish species distribution by modified 14 digit hydrologic unit. While this information provides insight into areas of the watershed where species have been collected in the past, it is important to note that the number of fish sampling sites as well as collections vary greatly between drainage units (no data is available for some units), thus negating the use of this data for any quantitative analysis.
Prior to 1981, a total of 66 fish species (not including hybrids) in 15 families were collected (including observations) within the watershed (MDC Ozark Regional Fish Collection Files; Pflieger 1989; Pflieger 1997; MDC 1999c; MoRAP 2000a). From 1981 to 1997, a total of 50 species in 16 families have been collected.
Seventeen species of fish which were observed prior to 1981 were not observed after 1980. Nearly all of these were only observed in one or two collections previously with many having not been collected prior to 1961. In addition, not all sites which had harbored these species previously were sampled after 1980 (Table Bc03). The most notable exceptions to this are the gilt darter and the American brook lamprey. Both species were collected at two separate sites from 1941-1960 and 1961-1980. These sites were again sampled after 1980 with no observations of these species. While the gilt darter appears to have never been widespread within the Jacks Fork Watershed, it has been collected at several sites within the rest of the Current River Basin (Pflieger 1997). The American brook lamprey is not common within the Missouri Ozarks. Pflieger (1997) states that "most distribution records are based on specimens collected more than 20 years ago". Despite both species having been collected at a minimal number of sites within the watershed, their absence in post 1980 collections emphasizes the need for additional attempts to detect their presence with particular emphasis given to those historical sites where these species were previously collected.
The southern cavefish is the only species collected within the Jacks Fork Watershed since 1981 which had not been collected in the watershed previously. This species was collected at a single site in 1992.
The fish fauna of the Jacks Fork Watershed is dominated by species which are characteristic species of the Ozark faunal region based on the faunal region classification of species as developed by Pflieger (1989) (Table Bc01). Thirty seven (56%) species are characteristic Ozark species, 6 (9%) are Ozark-Prairie, 6 (9%) Ozark-lowland, 3 ( 4%) Ozark-Big River, 1 (1%) Ozark-Prairie-Lowland, (1)1% Prairie, 2 (3%) Big River, 1 (1%) Lowland, and 8 (12%) widely distributed. In addition to these species 2 species (2%) are introduced or non-native species. These are the carp and goldfish.
The tributaries of the Jacks Fork Watershed offer a variety of angling opportunities. A total of 5 species of sport fish (as defined as game fish in MDC 1999d) are known to occur within the watershed (MDC Ozark Regional Fish Collection Files; Pflieger 1997; MDC 1999c; MoRAP 2000a). These include chain pickerel, shadow bass, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and warmouth. Other game fish species including walleye, spotted bass, and paddlefish have been observed in the watershed in the past. However, these are not considered to be significant fisheries if these species are even currently present at all. The last collections of these species occurred prior to 1981.
The Jacks Fork River from Highway 17 to Highway 106 is currently (2000) managed under smallmouth bass special management regulations as part of a smallmouth bass research project currently being conducted by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC 1999b). This includes an 18 inch minimum length limit on smallmouth bass and a daily limit of 6 black bass which may include only 1 smallmouth bass (please refer to current copy of the Missouri Wildlife Code for the most updated regulations). As stated previously, this is part of a study implemented to "evaluate and recommend strategies for managing high-quality smallmouth bass fisheries in streams" (MDC 1999b). The remainder of streams within the Jacks Fork Watershed are currently (2000) under statewide regulations.
As part of the aforementioned study, an angler survey has been ongoing since 1990 on the Jacks Fork River in order to determine the effect of the special smallmouth regulation on angling success for smallmouth bass and shadow bass, angler acceptance of the regulation, and economic value of the fishery (MDC 1999b). The survey has been split between two different time periods designated as Segment I (pre-regulation 1990-1994) and Segment II (post-regulation 1995-1998) and includes both the smallmouth bass special management area (treatment area 24.3 miles) as well as 13.1 miles of the Jacks Fork under statewide regulations (non-treatment area). Initially, these surveys were daytime surveys conducted throughout the year. However, due to low fishing pressure during the winter months, the survey period was shortened, beginning in 1992, to include only the period of April through October of each year. This survey was originally scheduled to conclude in 2000 but has been extended through 2001 (Kruse, personal communication).
Preliminary analysis of the creel data shows an overall decline in catch of both smallmouth and shadow bass as well as angler use between the the pre-regulation and post-regulation periods for both the treatment and non-treatment areas (Table Bc04). Combined catch of smallmouth and shadow bass in the treatment area averaged 12,749 and 2,334 in the pre-regulation and post-regulation periods respectively. Combined catch of smallmouth and shadow bass in the non-treatment area averaged 1,747 and 1,028 in the pre-regulation and post-regulation periods respectively. Not surprisingly, estimated catch of both smallmouth and shadow bass appear to correspond to trends in angler use (Table Bc04). Angler use in the treatment area averaged 4,394 trips (9840 hours) and 976 trips (2722 hours) in the pre-regulation and post-regulation periods respectively. Angler use in the non-treatment area averaged 2,653 trips (3032 hours) and 1,142 trips (2107 hours) in the pre-regulation and post-regulation periods respectively. As stated previously, this project is currently ongoing and thus results are preliminary. Additional data collection and analysis are yet to be done.
Currently there are no state or federal stream stocking efforts occurring within the Jacks Fork Watershed. It appears that little comprehensive data is available regarding historical fish stocking within the watershed. Ozark Regional Office stocking records indicate that no fish stocking in streams has occurred at least since 1985. The presence of the goldfish and common carp, both introduced species, within fish community collections from the watershed prior to 1981 would indicate that these species had been stocked by some entity. The presence of goldfish could have been the result of a release from home aquaria, private pond, etc. In regards to common carp, Pflieger (1997) notes that in the late 1800s, "the Missouri Fish Commission reared more than 80,000 for stocking in public and private waters throughout the state. It is important to note that neither goldfish nor common carp have been detected within fish community samples in the watershed since 1980. It is assumed that if any historical stocking efforts had occurred which had significant impacts on the fish community of the watershed, other than those already mentioned, this impact would have been detected within the fish community collections. Undoubtedly farm ponds within the watershed have been stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, and channel catfish by private individuals who obtained fish from the MDC, commercial dealers, and/or other water bodies. It can be assumed that many pond owners have also probably stocked grass carp. The potential of these fish being washed into streams exists in all major precipitation events.
A lack of historical records, plus the occurrence of undocumented introductions makes it difficult to determine, with any reliability, all species which may have been introduced into the watershed. Effects of introductions vary. While the introduction of species already present in the watershed may have minimal to no effect, the introduction of non-native species can often times have disastrous consequences
A total of 19 species of mussels are known to occur within the Jacks Fork Watershed (Table Bc05)( MoRAP 2000b). Of these, 3 species are former Federal category-2 candidates (see table for more information) (MDC 1999e). These are the elktoe (Alsmidonta marginata), Ouachita kidneyshell (Ptychobranchus occidentalis), and purple lilliput (Toxolasma lividus). Figure Bc02 displays mussel sampling sites within the watershed. Mussel species included currently listed as "Species of Conservation Concern" include the Arkansas brokenray (Lampsilis reeveiana reeveiana) in addition to the three previously mentioned species.
Two species of snails have been identified within the Jacks Fork Watershed (Wu etal. 1997). These are the pyramid elimia (Elimia potosiensis) and Goodrich's physa (Physa goodrichi).
Five species of crayfish are known to occur within the Jacks Fork Watershed. These include the Ozark crayfish (Orconectes ozarkae), golden crayfish (Orconectes luteus), spothanded crayfish (Orconectes punctimanus), Hubbs' crayfish (Cambarus hubbsi), and the Salem cave crayfish (Cambarus hubrichti) (Pflieger 1996, MDC 1999c, and MoRAP 2000c). Four species have distributions in or closely associated with the Ozark Region (Pflieger 1996). The Ozark crayfish is found only in the White and Black River Basins in Missouri and Arkansas. The spothanded crayfish is found in the eastern half of the Ozarks in Missouri and adjacent counties in Arkansas. This species is also found in Callaway, Montgomery, and Warren Counties north of the Missouri River. The Hubbs' crayfish is limited to the principal south flowing drainages in the Ozarks from the James River Watershed in the West to the St. Francis Watershed in the East. The exception to this is the North Fork Watershed in which the Hubbs' crayfish is not found. The Salem cave crayfish, currently listed as a Missouri "Species of Conservation Concern", has been found only in Missouri and is believed to occur throughout the Eastern Ozarks from Camden to Crawford Counties, southward to Howell, Oregon, and Ripley Counties (Pflieger 1996). As its name suggests, it is a subterranean species which has been observed in a variety of subterranean habitats such as cave streams over various substrates, subterranean lakes, as well as the outlets of large springs near the limit of daylight (Pflieger 1996). It has also, on occasion, been observed in more terrestrial areas such as the outflow of a small spring, the pool at the bottom of a deep sinkhole, and the ruts left by a truck in a fen. Figure Bc03 displays crayfish collection sites within the Jacks Fork Watershed.
Since 1991, a long-term research project focusing on crayfish has been ongoing on the Jacks Fork River (DiStefano 2000). The purpose of the project is to "develop management strategies for producing optimum numbers and sizes of crayfish to support optimum production of selected sport fishes in Missouri Ozark streams". This study has been integrated with the aforementioned smallmouth bass study in order to gain further understanding of the predator/prey relationship of smallmouth bass and crayfish. The study consists of four parts or "jobs": Job 1-literature and data review, Job 2-evaluation of sampling methods, job 3-determination of crayfish population characteristics, job 4-determination of the effects of Fishing/Harvest Regulations. Final reports for Jobs 1 and 2 have been completed. The Job 3 report is tentatively scheduled to be written in spring 2001, while the completion of the Job 4 report is to be written at a later time. Information regarding the availability of these final reports may be obtained by contacting the Missouri Department of Conservation, Fish and Wildlife Research Center, 1110 South College Avenue, Columbia, Missouri 65201.
Two hundred taxa of aquatic invertebrates have been collected within the Jacks Fork Watershed since 1961 (MDC 1998d) (Table Bc06). From 1961-1974, 112 taxa were collected within the watershed. Since 1974, 165 taxa of aquatic invertebrates have been collected. Figure Bc04 displays benthic invertebrate collection sites within the Jacks Fork Watershed.
Species of Conservation Concern
Within the Jacks Fork Watershed, 51 species of conservation concern have been identified (Table Bc07) (MDC Ozark Regional Fish Collection Files, Pflieger 1996, MDC 1998c, MDC 1999c, MDC1999d, MoRAP 2000a, MoRAP 2000b). These include 32 species of plants (flowering plants, ferns, fern allies, and mosses); 2 species of insects; 1 species of crayfish; 4 species of mussels; 5 species of fish; 2 species of amphibian, 3 species of birds; and 2 species of mammals. One species, the gray bat, has both federal and state endangered species status. In addition, the Bachman's sparrow is a state endangered species as well as a former federal candidate for listing.
The following is a brief description of aquatic oriented animal species of conservation concern within the Jacks Fork Watershed:
American Brook Lamprey - According to the best available data, the American Brook Lamprey has only been collected twice within the Jacks Fork Watershed (MDC Ozark Regional Fish Collection Files, MoRAP 2000a). The first collection occurred in 1941 in a single reach. The second collection occurred in 1966 in a separate reach.
Ozark Shiner - Since 1941 the Ozark Shiner has been collected in seven reaches within the Jacks Fork Watershed (MDC Ozark Regional Fish Collection Files, MoRAP 2000a). The latest collection of the Ozark Shiner was in 1997 at which time the species was collected in two reaches. The Ozark Shiner appears to be well distributed within the watershed; having been collected in 5 of the 9 drainage units since 1941 and also 5 of the 9 units since 1981.
Checkered Madtom - The best available data indicates that the first collection of the checkered madtom within the Jacks Fork Watershed occurred in 1966 at a single site (MDC Ozark Regional Fish Collection Files, MoRAP 2000a). The same site yielded this species again in 1994. In 1997, the checkered madtom was collected at three additional sites.
Paddlefish - According to the best available data, the only collection of paddlefish within the Jacks Fork Watershed was from a single site in 1966 (MDC Ozark Regional Fish Collection Files, MoRAP 2000a).
Southern Cavefish - According to the best available data, the Southern cavefish has only been collected from a single site within the Jacks Fork Watershed. This occurred in 1992. Because the southern cavefish does not generally occur in habitats which are typically represented in fish community collections, additional efforts may be required in order to further document this species distribution within the Jacks Fork Watershed.
Four-Toed Salamander - According to Johnson (1992), the four-toed salamander "is found in mosses along heavily forested, spring-fed creeks associated with igneous (Precambrian) rock, and also in and near natural sinkhole ponds". The Natural heritage database (MDC 1999c) indicates the last observation of the four-toed salamander within the Jacks Fork Watershed occurred in 1980.
Ozark Hellbender -The Ozark Hellbender is restricted to the North Fork Watershed and to rivers and streams of the Black River System (Johnson 1992). According to the Natural Heritage Database, the last recorded observation of the Ozark Hellbender in the watershed was 1992 (MDC 1999c).
Elktoe - The elktoe has been collected at two sites within the Jacks Fork Watershed. It was last collected in the watershed in 1973 (MoRAP 2000b).
Arkansas brokenray - The Arkansas Brokenray has been collected at 9 sites within the Jacks Fork Watershed (MoRAP 2000b). This species is relatively widespread within the watershed; being found in 6 of the 9 drainage units. It was last collected in the watershed in 1982.
Ouachita kidneyshell - The Ouachita kidneyshell has been collected at 9 sites within the Jacks Fork Watershed (MoRAP 2000b). This species is relatively widespread within the watershed; having been collected in 5 of the 9 drainage units. This species was last collected in the watershed in 1982.
Purple lilliput - The purple lilliput has only been collected at a single site within the Jacks Fork Watershed. This collection occurred in 1973 (MoRAP 2000b).Crayfish
Salem Cave Crayfish - Pflieger (1996) indicates that the Salem Cave Crayfish has been collected at a single site within the Jacks Fork Watershed (no date given). As is the case with the southern cavefish, the Salem Cave Crayfish generally does not inhabit areas typically included in crayfish or benthic invertebrate samples. Additional sampling focused on subterranean habitats may be necessary in order to further document the distribution of this species within the watershed.