As with all large rivers in the United States, the Missouri River has been altered, with approximately 32.5 percent of the main stem length impounded and 32.5 percent channelized. These physical alterations to the environment have had effects on the fisheries, but studies examining the effects of alterations have been localized and for short periods of time. In response to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biological opinion, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers initiated monitoring of the fish community of the Missouri River in 2003. The goal of the Pallid Sturgeon Population Assessment Program is to provide information to detect changes in populations and habitat preferences with time for pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) and native target species in the Missouri River Basin. To determine statistical power of the Pallid Sturgeon Population Assessment Program, a power analysis was conducted using a normal linear mixed model with variance component estimates based on the first 3 years of data (2003 to 2005). In cases where 3 years of data were unavailable, estimates were obtained using those data. It was determined that at least 20 years of data, sampling 12 bends with 8 subsamples per bend, would be required to detect a 5 percent annual decline in most of the target fish populations. Power varied between Zones. Zone 1 (upstream from Lake Sakakawea) did not have any species/gear type combinations with adequate power, whereas Zone 3 (downstream from Gavins Point Dam) had 19 species/gear type combinations with adequate power. With a slight increase in the sampling effort to 12 subsamples per bend, the Pallid Sturgeon Population Assessment Program has adequate power to detect declines in shovelnose sturgeon (S. platorynchus) throughout the entire Missouri River because of large catch rates. The lowest level of non-occurrence (in other words, zero catches) at the bend level for pallid sturgeon was 0.58 using otter trawls in Zone 1. Consequently, the power of the pallid sturgeon models was not as high as other species at the current level of sampling, but an increase in the sampling effort to 16 subsamples for each of 24 bends for 20 years would generate adequate power for the pallid sturgeon in all Zones. Since gear types are selective in their species efficiency, the strength of the Pallid Sturgeon Population Assessment Program approach is using multiple gears that have statistical power to detect population trends at the same time in different fish species within the Missouri River. As often is the case with monitoring studies involving endangered species, the data used to conduct the analyses exhibit some departures from the parametric model assumptions; however, preliminary simulations indicate that the results of this study are appropriate.
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The power to detect trends in Missouri River fish populations within the Pallid Sturgeon Population Assessment Program