In 1998, the Quaker Neck Dam was removed from the Neuse River near Goldsboro, North Carolina, restoring access to more than 120 km of potential main-stem spawning habitat and 1,488 km of potential tributary spawning habitat to anadromous fishes. We used plankton sampling and standardized electrofishing to examine the extent to which anadromous fishes utilized this restored spawning habitat in 2003 and 2004. Evidence of spawning activity was detected upstream of the former dam site for three anadromous species: American shad Alosa sapidissima, hickory shad A. mediocris, and striped bass Morone saxatilis. The percentages of eggs and larvae collected in the restored upstream habitat were greater in 2003, when spring flows were high, than in 2004. River reaches where spawning occurred were estimated from egg stage and water velocity data. Spawning of American shad and striped bass occurred primarily in main-stem river reaches that were further upstream during the year of higher spring flows. Hickory shad generally spawned in downstream reaches and in tributaries above and below the former dam site. These results demonstrate that anadromous fishes will take advantage of upper basin spawning habitat restored through dam removal as long as instream flows are adequate to facilitate upstream migration.
Additional publication details
Distribution of spawning activity by anadromous fishes in an atlantic slope drainage after removal of a low-head dam