Maintaining aquatic biodiversity in urban or suburban areas can be problematic because urban landscapes can be nearly devoid of aquatic habitats other than engineered basins for storm water management. These areas are usually of questionable value for fish, but we examined a case study in which five regionally imperiled fish species were reintroduced into an artificial storm water detention pond and subsequently thrived. Although not a formal experiment, postintroduction survey data suggested that three of the five species maintained high population densities for 10 years after initial stocking, and two persisted in lower numbers. Success was likely due to a combination of unique design features and prior habitat preparation that resulted in clear water conditions that supported dense vegetation. Stocked fish persisted despite occasional bouts of low dissolved oxygen and increased chloride levels resulting from road salt application within the watershed. Transplanted fish served as a source population for both research and further reintroduction experiments. We suggest that, for some fish species, habitat preservation has a middle ground between natural habitats and completely artificial environments that require constant husbandry and that storm water systems could be used to create engineered sanctuaries within the human landscape that have many potential benefits for both humans and fish.
Additional publication details
Use of a storm water retention system for conservation of regionally endangered fishes