Distribution and abundance of nonnative fishes in streams of the western United States

North American Journal of Fisheries Management
By:  and 



This report presents data from one of the largest standardized stream surveys conducted in he western United States, which shows that one of every four individual fish in streams of 12 western states are nonnative. The states surveyed included Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The most widely distributed and abundant nonnative fishes in the western USA were brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis, brown trout Salmo trutta, rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss, common carp Cyprinus carpio, smallmouth bass Micropterus dolomieu, largemouth bass M. salmoides, green sunfish Lepomis cyanellus, fathead minnow Pimephales promelas, yellow perch Percaflavescens, yellow bullhead Ameiurus natalis, cutthroat trout O. clarkii, western mosquitofish Gambusia affinis, golden shiner Notemigonus crysoleucas, channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus, and red shiner Cyprinella lutrensis. The greatest abundance and distribution of nonnative fishes was in interior states, and the most common nonnatives were introduced for angling. Nonnative fishes were widespread in pristine to highly disturbed streams influenced by all types of land use practices. We present ranges in water temperature, flow, stream order, riparian cover, human disturbance, and other environmental conditions where the 10 most common introduced species were found. Of the total western U.S. stream length bearing fish, 50.1% contained nonnative fishes while 17.9% contained physical environment that was ranked highly or moderately disturbed by humans. Introduced fishes can adversely affect stream communities, and they are much more widespread in western U.S. streams than habitat destruction. The widespread distribution and high relative abundance of nonnative fishes and their documented negative effects suggest their management and control should elicit at least as much attention as habitat preservation in the protection of native western U.S. stream biota. ?? Copyright by the American Fisheries Society 2005.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Distribution and abundance of nonnative fishes in streams of the western United States
Series title North American Journal of Fisheries Management
DOI 10.1577/M05-037.1
Volume 25
Issue 4
Year Published 2005
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title North American Journal of Fisheries Management
First page 1386
Last page 1394
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