Native fishes of the upper Colorado River basin (UCRB) have declined in distribution and abundance due to habitat degradation and interactions with normative fishes. Consequently, monitoring populations of both native and nonnative fishes is important for conservation of native species. We used data collected from Muddy Creek, Wyoming (2003-2004), to compare sample size estimates using a random and a fixed-site sampling design to monitor changes in catch per unit effort (CPUE) of native bluehead suckers Catostomus discobolus, flannelmouth suckers C. latipinnis, roundtail chub Gila robusta, and speckled dace Rhinichthys osculus, as well as nonnative creek chub Semotilus atromaculatus and white suckers C. commersonii. When one-pass backpack electrofishing was used, detection of 10% or 25% changes in CPUE (fish/100 m) at 60% statistical power required 50-1,000 randomly sampled reaches among species regardless of sampling design. However, use of a fixed-site sampling design with 25-50 reaches greatly enhanced the ability to detect changes in CPUE. The addition of seining did not appreciably reduce required effort. When detection of 25-50% changes in CPUE of native and nonnative fishes is acceptable, we recommend establishment of 25-50 fixed reaches sampled by one-pass electrofishing in Muddy Creek. Because Muddy Creek has habitat and fish assemblages characteristic of other headwater streams in the UCRB, our results are likely to apply to many other streams in the basin. ?? Copyright by the American Fisheries Society 2006.
Additional publication details
Random versus fixed-site sampling when monitoring relative abundance of fishes in headwater streams of the upper Colorado River basin