Analysis of four years of growth data failed to identify a single temperature or hydrologic variable that consistently accounted for variation in annual growth of catfishes (Ictaluridae). Instead, a composite variable that measured duration of floodplain inundation when water temperature exceeded minima for active feeding was directly related to growth. Results indicated that floodplain inundation have provided little direct energetic benefit to fishes when water temperatures were sub-optimal for active feeding, but floodplain resources were exploited when thermal conditions were sufficient for active feeding and growth. Thus, the flood-pulse concept applies to the lower Mississippi River (LMR) when modified to consider temperature. Managing the existing leveed floodplain to prolong inundation, increase water temperatures during spring flooding, and maintain connectivity of floodplain habitats with the main river channel should benefit fish production in the LMR.
Additional publication details
Habitat conservation and creation: Invoking the flood-pulse concept to enhance fisheries in the lower Mississippi River