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Distribution of Fishes in the Red River of the North Basin on Multivariate Environmental Gradients

History of Stream Fish Survey Effort in the Red River Basin


From published and unpublished records of stream fish surveys, data were acquired from 1026 sampling sites located throughout the Red River basin from 1892-1994. One-hundred twelve (11%) of these sites were sampled between 1892 and 1961 (early period) (Figure 4), with the earliest records from 18 sites on streams in both the western and eastern reaches of the basin (Woolman 1896) (Table 2). Most streams were sampled for fishes at least at one site during the early period; however, only 51 sites were sampled in the basin before 1950. The Elm, Rush, and Rabbit Rivers and the Wild Rice River in North Dakota were not sampled (Figure 4).

GIF- Locations of 112 sites sampled

Figure 4. Locations of 112 sites sampled for stream fishes in the Red River basin by various investigators from 1892-1961.

From 1962-1977 (middle period), 439 sites (43%) were sampled for fishes (Figure 5, Table 2). Most streams were sampled at multiple sites including both headwater and downstream reaches during this relatively short (16-year) time span. The streams for which records were lacking during the middle period included those draining into the Upper and Lower Red Lakes in the eastern basin and the Red River from its origin at Breckenridge, Minnesota, to the Canadian border.

GIF- Locations of 439 sites sampled

Figure 5. Locations of 439 sites sampled for stream fishes in the Red River basin by various investigators from 1962-1977.

Four hundred seventy-five sites (46%) were sampled from 1978-1994 (late period) (Figure 6, Table 2). Like the middle period, most streams were sampled at multiple sites during this 17-year time span, with an exception being the Mustinka River, which was sampled at only one site. Notably, because of intensive work by Renard et al. (1985) and others (Table 2), the Red River main stem was sampled adequately for fishes.

GIF- Locations of 475 sites sampled

Figure 6. Locations of 475 sites sampled for stream fishes in the Red River basin by various investigators from 1978-1994.


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