Water-Resources Investigations Report 99-4198 Abstract

Occurrence and Distribution of Fish Species in the Great and Little Miami River Basins, Ohio and Indiana, Pre-1900 to 1998

By Stephanie Harrington


Historically, 133 fish species representing 25 families have been documented in the Great and Little Miami River Basins. Of these, 132 species have been reported in the basins since 1901, 123 since 1955, 117 since 1980, and 113 post-1990. Natural processes and human activities have both been shown to be major factors in the alteration of fish-community structure and the decrease in species diversity. In the late 1800's, dam construction and the removal of riparian zones restricted fish migration and altered habitat. Industrialization and urbanization increased considerably in the 1900's, further degrading stream habitat and water quality. Species requiring riffles and clean, hard stream bottoms were the most adversely affected. The use of agricultural and industrial chemicals prompted fish-consumption advisories and an increase in studies reporting the occurrence of external fish anomalies. Over the last 20 years, water quality has improved in part because of the upgrading of wastewater-treatment facilities; and, as a result, many streams of the Great and Little Miami River Basins generally meet or exceed existing water-quality standards. Although significant improvements have occurred in the basins, continued efforts to improve water quality and restore the physical habitat of streams will be necessary to increase fish abundance and biodiversity

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