Navigation pools of the upper Mississippi River (UMR) vary greatly in terms of available contiguous aquatic/geomorphic habitats. These habitats are critical for the biotic diversity and overall productivity of the floodplain corridor of each pool. In this study, similarities among pools 4-26 and an open river reach (river kilometer 47-129) of the UMR were determined from multivariate analysis of eleven habitat types that were hydrologically-contiguous (non-leveed). Isolated floodplain habitats were not included in final analyses because this isolation limits their contribution to overall riverine productivity, in part due to a lack of hydrological connectivity to the main channel during the flood pulse. Cluster analysis based on simple Euclidean distance was used to produce two major pool groups and five pool subgroups. Important habitat variables in defining pool groups, as interpreted from principal components analysis (PCA) axis 1, were contiguous floodplain shallow aquatic area and contiguous impounded area. The habitat variable most important in defining pool subgroups, as interpreted from PCA axis 2, was tertiary channel. Most notably, pool 6 was more similar to pools 14-24 than other upper pools, and pools 19 and 25 were more similar to pools 4-13 than other lower pools. These results were quite different from those of two previous investigators, primarily because only areas of non-isolated aquatic habitat were considered.
Additional publication details
Classification of upper Mississippi River pools based on contiguous aquatic/geomorphic habitats