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Volume 771997

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Temporal and Spatial Distribution of Cyprinid Fishes Between 1921 and 1995 in the North Canadian River Drainage, Oklahoma

Jimmie Pigg, Mark Coleman, and Robert Gibbs
State Environmental Laboratory, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73117

Introduction Methods Results Conclusions References Top of Page Table of Contents Home

A 20-year survey (1976-1995) of fishes in the North Canadian River, (known as the Beaver River in the Oklahoma Panhandle), Lake Eufaula, and the Canadian River below Lake Eufaula produced 23 species of cyprinids. A review of 261 past and recent fish collections (1921-1995) by others revealed an additional eight species of cyprinids found in the North Canadian River drainage. The distribution and the relative abundance of these 31 cyprinids species over time is connected to changes in using land within the drainage and to the various habitat requirements of each species. ©1997 Oklahoma Academy of Science

INTRODUCTION

Introduction Methods Results Conclusions References Top of Page Table of Contents Home

This paper presents an annotated checklist, taken from archival records and our own samples, of the cyprinid fishes known to occur in the North Canadian River drainage (NCR) of Oklahoma. We discuss the occurrence and distribution of cyprinid fishes in relation to the possible influences of human activities in the watershed.

Little is known of the effects of urbanization and other cultural alterations of land use upon native cyprinids in large Oklahoma streams. Most cyprinids in these streams are tolerant of physiochemical stress, as are most native fishes in prairie streams. The present species have evolved in streams with stressful, physical (high water temperatures), and chemical (low dissolved oxygen and high salinity) conditions similar to those produced by urbanization (1). Therefore, the relative abundance of those species that are more tolerant of such conditions would be expected to remain similar over time or to increase while the relative abundances of less tolerant species would be expected to decline.

METHODS

Introduction Methods Results Conclusions References Top of Page Table of Contents Home

Historical Collections (1921-1995): In Table 1, we have compiled a comprehensive list of the fish surveys recorded between 1921 and 1995. The earliest fish collections we found that were recorded from the drainage were taken by an unknown collector in 1921 from Buffalo Creek, a tributary of Gaines Creek, in Latimer and Pittsburg Counties.

In unpublished records of University of Oklahoma Museum of Natural History (OKMNH), we found two extensive fish surveys from the 1960s. In 1962, A. Houser and H. L. Lindsay of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) conducted a pre-impoundment survey, which included more than 100 collections taken from the mainstem of the NCR and its tributaries in the area of the then proposed Lake Eufaula. Then, in 1963, H. L. Lindsay and M. Bates of the Oklahoma Biological Survey (OBS) made 36 collections from the Beaver River and its tributaries in the Panhandle and other areas in NW Oklahoma (Table 1). [Editor's note: This paper has an unusually large number of extensive tables; all tables are collected at the end of the text; see pp. 55- 92.]

Collections before 1975 from the central urbanized (Oklahoma City) sections of the river are rare. Since 1975, however, there have been six fish surveys in this area. In Table 1 we list 261 past fish collections (year-year) taken from the NCR drainage.

Additional records of cyprinid fishes listed in collections from reservoirs were obtained from unpublished ODWC Job Performance Reports (ODWCLS) that are on file at

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the Oklahoma Fisheries Research Laboratory (OFRL) for the years 1964-1994. Most of these reports lacked voucher specimens, limiting their usefulness. However, most of the earlier collections of lake minnows were taken by ODWC field personnel, most of whom were former students, who referred most of these specimens to G. A. Moore and C. R. Riggs for identification (personal communiations with ODWC field people).

Current Collections (1976-1995): We include information on minnows from the following reservoirs: Lake Canton, Lake Fort Supply, Lake Optima, Lake Overholser, Lake Hefner, Shawnee City Lake #1, Shawnee City Lake #2, Lake McAlester, American Horse Lake, and Lake Eufaula (Table 1).

In 1976-1995 Oklahoma State Departmental of Environmental Quality (ODEQ), formerly the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), conducted surveys that included 467 collections from 60 sites on the NCR and its tributaries and reservoirs. We collected fishes at ten mainstem, long-term monitoring sites and 30 additional short-term ones from river and stream, and 21 sites in ten lakes (Table 2). A review of 261 fish collections from the drainage (1921 to 1995) found in museums at Oklahoma State University (OSUS), University of Oklahoma (OKMNH), University of Kansas (UK), University of Michigan (UMMZ), United States National Museum of National History (USNM), and University of Tulsa (UT) now OSUS, provided additional data on the past occurrence and distribution of cyprinid fishes (Table 1).

The ten, long-term sampling sites (Figure 1) were established on the mainstem of the NCR between 1976 and 1980 and were visted two or three times a year through 1995 (Table 2). Collecting locations were selected primarily on the basis of their accessibility by roads and were areas that were influenced by water quality, impoundments, wastewater discharges, and storm water runoff as nonpoint-sources (2).

A heavily leaded seine, 3.31.3 m with 3.0-mm mesh, was used in all sampling. A 200-m reach of stream was sampled during each visit. The sampling technique for all stream sites consisted of slow seining as close to shore and cover as possible. We would first establish the upstream boundary, then seine downstream 200 m, and this point became the downstream boundary.

Lake surveys consisted of shoreline seining of 100 m (10 hauls of 10 m each using a 3.3-m minnow seine) to catch smaller fish. In lakes larger cyprinids (carp) were also collected by using 330-m experimental gill nets set overnight.

In this study, we define six categories of relative abundance values calculated as the number of specimens per collection (approximately 200 m) (2) as follows: very abundant (VA) = over 5,000; abundant (A) = 4,999–500; common (C) = 499–100; rare (R) = 99–20; very rare (VR) = 19–1; 0 = no specimen collected; and '—' = no collection that year.

RESULTS

Introduction Methods Results Conclusions References Top of Page Table of Contents Home

The 467 collections produced 532,183 fish of which 338,410 (64%) were cyprinids. In the 371 collections from the ten, long-term mainstem sites, cyprinids consist of 66% of all fish collected (Tables 3 and 4). In the collections from the tributaries 51% of the fish collected were cyprinids. In lake collections cyprinids comprised 14% of the fish (Table 3).

Campostoma anomalum (Rafinesque) Central stoneroller: Stonerollers have never been common in the mainstem of the NCR. We found past records of this species from the mainstem (Table 5). We found the stoneroller to be VR (1-4) in the lower segments (E, F, and G) of the mainstem (Table 6).

In the past, stonerollers were found in some of the tributaries of the NCR east of Seminole County. The 1962 ODWC survey found stonerollers to be A (3,416) in 51 collections from 18 tributaries of the proposed Lake Eufaula (Table 5). In 1988 we found this species to be VR (1-8) from tributaries in the lower reaches of NCR (Table 6).

Past collections taken by OBS from tributaries in Beaver and Texas Counties did not contain the stoneroller. In 1988, in single collections from each of two sites on Corrumpa

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Creek, we found this species to be C (224 specimens) (Table 3).

Today, stonerollers are primarily collected in the NCR or in some of the tributaries below Lake Eufaula GM10 (Table 3). This species probably has always been in the headwater tributaries of the NCR in Cimarron County, and in the tributaries of lower reaches of the river below Lake Eufaula (Table 5). This species may have disappeared from the mainstem above Lake Eufaula because of habitat limitations (Table 7). Lake Optima, and a dry section of the Beaver River west of the lake, apparently prevent downstream movement from the western tributaries, where the species is common today. The lack of gravel and rock substrata in the Beaver River and its lower tributaries may also limit stoneroller downstream movements. Lake Eufaula may be a barrier to the upstream migration of stonerollers from downstream tributaries where this species was C (134-842) (Table 5).

Cyprinus carpio (Linnaeus) Common carp: Common carp likely has occurred in western Oklahoma and southwestern Kansas since its introduction to Kansas in the early 1880s (3). A 1962 preimpoundment survey (Lake Eufaula) produced 131 common carp from seven tributaries and six specimens from mainstem sites (Table 5).

Comman carp were C in most ODWC lake surveys between 1965 and 1994. Unpublished job reports at OFRL indicated it is C in lakes of the NCR (Table 3).

These carp were more common in the mainstem of NCR and reservoirs than in the tributaries, being present in 37% of our mainstem collections (Table 8), in all our reservoir collections, and in 63% of our lake collections (Table 3).

These carp were most numerous in the central segments of the NCR (Table 8) segments C, D, and E. Before 1992, they were R in collections from the headwaters (Ml, M2, and M3), and VR in collections from lower segments (M10) of the NCR (Table 7).

Ctenopharyngodon idella (Valenciennes) Grass carp: We failed to collect any grass carp; however, it was stocked by ODWC for weed control in several small lakes including Beaver City Lake in Beaver County and Guymon City Lake in Texas County in 1983 (Table 9). Both the grass carp and the hybrid C. idella Hypophthalmichythys noblilis were introduced into the American Horse Lake (ODWC unpublished stocking records) in Blaine County (Table 9). Throughout the drainage, the grass carp has also been stocked by landowners in many small ponds with aquatic weed problems (4). No grass carp have been collected from the mainstem.

Hybognathus placitus (Girard) Plains minnows: The plains minnow was collected by Ortenburger in 1926, from Coldwater Creek in Texas County (Table 5). Past collections from the westernmost tributaries indicated this species was C (Table 5). Two of our collections made in 1988 from Palo Duro Creek contained 220 specimens (Table 3).

During the 1962 ODWC survey, collections from the mainstem in the area of the proposed Lake Eufaula produced 12,469 plains minnows (Table 5). In the past, this species was VA in the mainstem now inundated by Lake Eufaula (Table 10).

This species was once A in the mainstem, downstream of Lake Eufaula; preimpoundment collections found 1,580 specimens (Table 11). In 1982 we found that this species was R; we collected 21 specimens from the mainstem north of Whitefield (Site M10) (Table 10).

In 1981 we collected a single specimen from the river north of El Reno (M7). This was the last record of this species from segments D and E of this species. Downstream from Oklahoma City our last collection of this species was at Harrah (M10) in 1986 (Table 10).

The plains minnow was collected from all ten mainstem sites (Table 10), and in 117 of the collections from the mainstem. In our collections, this species was VR (ten specimens) in reservoirs and C (339 specimens in four collections) in some western tributaries (Table 3).

Today, the plains minnow is R in the

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drainage. Since 1982, this species has not been found downstream of Lake Eufaula (Table 11). A notable decline in the numbers of the plains minnows occurred after 1983; three sites (M4, M8, and M9) exhibited declines (Table 10). This decline of the plains minnow may be related to construction of reservoirs and in-stream flow depletions because of deep-well irrigation. A review of collection records indicated this species has never been reported to be A in the central sections of the river upstream of Lake Overholser. This lake, which was constructed in 1919, and Canton Lake, constructed in 1948, might have restricted upstream dispersals. However, it is R within Canton Lake. In the 1962 surveys conducted by ODWC, this species was VA in the river below Oklahoma City and downstream to the mouth of the river (Table 5). Since the construction of Lake Eufaula in 1964, this minnow has almost disappeared from the river downstream of Lake Eufaula. Since 1983 it has also declined above the lake. Cross (3) indicated a similar change in abundance in the Cimarron and Salt Fork Rivers of the Arkansas drainages in Kansas.

It was once an A minnow but today is a VR minnow between sites Ml and M4 below Lake Optima and west of Woodward. Stream flow patterns in the Beaver River between Lake Optima and Wolf Creek are still mainly controlled by storm events and spring flows. Because Lake Optima has never released water, the river downstream still retains the natural flow patterns for a small prairie stream.

In the sections of the river with a continuous flushing action by daily discharges from the reservoir, or increases in daily discharges from sewage treatment plants, the changes in flow may contribute to the decline of the plains minnow over a long period. This herbivorous minnow feeds on diatoms, other microorganisms, and finely divided detritus that accumulates in pools and calm, shallow water or along sandbars. Increased discharges from lakes or the South Side Oklahoma City Waste Water Treatment Plant (95 million gallons/day wash away this food source). In sections of the river below these discharges, there are very few pools or calm areas for feeding. With the increases in downstream flows and unstable substrata of sand, the sand may have covered much of the organic debris and other food materials for this species. Burial of the organic debris by sand would make the food unavailable to plains minnows and would contribute to a decline in abundance.

Macrhybopsis aestivalis (Girard) Speckled chub: Hubbs and Ortenburger (5) collected nine (OKMNH 6219) and 18 (UMMZ 80431) specimens in 1926 from Coldwater Creek, a tributary of the NCR 13 km southeast of Guymon in Texas County. Examinations of past fish collections indicate this species was R in the river west of Woodward and it is now extirpated from the river west of Woodward (Table 5).

Apparently, there has been a decline in the number and distribution of the speckled chub in the study area. The virtual absence of speckled chub, in our collections and in collections made by other workers (6,7,10) during the 1980s and 1990s, indicates a serious depletion. This species was collected only twice during our survey. We found record of one recent collection (1993) from the mainstem north of Whitefield (6). This was the site (M10) where we collected it in 1982.

The lack of suitable habitat of pea-sized gravel substrata and main channel habitat may account for the absence of this species in our tributaries and reservoirs collections.

Platygobio gracilis (Richardson) Flathead chub: The flathead chub was always VR in the river. In 1988 we took three from Corrumpa Creek south of Wheeless, east of the New Mexico state line in Cimarron County. In 1977 a single specimen was collected from Fort Supply Lake by ODWCLS (Table 9). The status of this species in the river seems critical and appears limited to the westernmost sections of the mainstem above Lake Optima.

Macrhybopsis storeriana (Kirtland) Silver chub: Only one record of silver chub from the NCR drainage was found. One 1962 collection took six specimens from the NCR near the mouth of the Deep Fork River. It is likely that the silver

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chub has always been VR in the river. We collected twice (two to seven specimens) from Site M10 near Whitefield (Table 9). A recent survey (1993) also found this species at site M10 (6). The silver chub was not found in any of our tributaries or reservoirs. The silver chub now seems limited to the mainstem downstream from Lake Eufaula near Whitefield (M10).

Notemigonus crysoleucas (Mitchell) Golden shiner: The first collections of golden shiners from the drainage were made by Ortenburger in 1926 from Coldwater Creek in Texas County, and in 1927 from the NCR in Hughes County (Table 5). Some time after the 1930s, this species was widely transported for bait.

Most collections of golden shiners were from the tributaries. We found records of only two collections from the mainstem (Table 5). This species was R in the river before 1975 and remains R today (Table 4). Golden shiners were present in our collections from mainstem sites M4-M10. Collections from the westernmost mainstem sites (M1, M2, and M3) failed to produce this species. and it was present in only one of our tributary collections (Table 4).

The annual lake surveys by the ODWC of Optima, Canton, Fort Supply, Hefner, Overholser, Shawnee City #1, and Eufaula Reservoirs in the 1970s and 1980s usually indicated this species was R. In our survey, golden shiners were found in five reservoirs, usually R (maximum = 34 specimens) in four collections from Lake Canton, and the species was R in tributaries (Table 5).

Bait bucket discards may account for up to 1,223 specimens found in the reservoirs. A similar probability may account for the increase in numbers at site M10 where there is more fishing than at other mainstem sites.

Scardinius erythrophthalmus (Linnaeus) Rudd: On 26 June 1990, we collected two large specimens of this exotic species from the Elm Point area of Lake Eufaula, in the Gaines Creek arm of the lake (12). These specimens of rudd may be bait bucket discards (Table 9).

Notropis atherinoides (Rafinesque) Emerald shiner: Our collections show a decline in the abundance of the emerald shiner in the three Panhandle counties. During the time we collected from the these counties, this species was not found any of our 90 collections, 79 from the mainstem and 11 from the tributaries (Table 12). The absence of emerald shiners from all 79 collections from the Beaver River in the Oklahoma Panhandle reflects a substantial change in the recent distribution of this species west of Woodward, where at one time it was VB (Table 5).

The emerald shiner exhibited a tendency toward greater abundance in downstream areas than in other areas of the NCR (Table 12). Most of the specimens (93%) were collected between sites M7 and M9. Between sites M4 and M8 this species has declined in abundance since 1980, and 7 specimens have been collected since 1986 (Table 11). This species was C during the 1962 ODWC survey of the proposed Lake Eufaula (Table 5). But recent surveys indicate that this species is very rare above Lake Eufaula. It still occurs at site M10 below the lake (6) (Table 12).

Past ODWC lake surveys indicate this species occurred in both Canton Lake and Lake Eufaula. A recent (1990-1992) ODWC lake survey of Lake Eufaula indicated emerald shiners were still common (Table 5). During our lake surveys (1976-1996) this species was VR in all lakes (Table 12), and appears to be on the decline. The lack of voucher specimens limits the usefulness of this ODWC data, but we have included it to make others aware of emerald shiner presence.

Notropis bairdi (Hubbs and Ortenburger) Red River shiner: The Red River shiner is a recent invader of the Arkansas River basin from the Red River System (11,12). Our survey produced the only known record of this species in the NCR drainage (Table 9). Our specimens were deposited at OSUS, but were not cataloged into the collections; we assume they have now been lost. Recent surveys, since 1983, have failed to find the Red River shiner (1,6,7). This species apparently has not established

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itself in the NCR.

Notropis blennius (Girardi) River shiner: The river shiner has been rare in past collections from the NCR and limited to the lower segments (M9-M10). We observed a similar distribution (M7-M10), and relative abundance is VR (four collections from three sites yielded 11 specimens) (Table 9). These specimens were deposited at OSUS, but they were not cataloged and may be lost. A recent collection at site M10 in 1993 found 25 specimens that were placed in the museum at OSUS (#26354) (7).

A review of past and recent collection records would suggest that there has been little change in distribution and abundance of the river shiner (Table 9).

Notropis boops (Gilbert) Bigeye shiner: Past collection records found that the bigeye shiner was limited to the tributaries of the lower reaches of the NCR (segment F) and produced 1–64 specimens (Table 5). We found this species to be C (up to 157 specimens) and to comprise over half the fish collected from the tributaries of Gaines Creek (Table 4). We could not find any records of this shiner from the mainstem.

Notropis buchanani (Meek) Ghost shiner: We found 18 records of this species from the drainage. In 1962, 2,344 specimens were collected from the tributaries of Gaines Creek and the mainstem of NCR (Table 5). We found ghost shiners to be VR (nine specimens) in the mainstem. We found ghost shiners were VR also in Lake Overholser and Lake Eufaula (Table 4).

This shiner has a spotty distribution. In the past, the largest number collected was from the large, turbid tributaries of Lake Eufaula (Gaines and Longtown Creeks). Recent collections found the ghost shiner was rare in lakes and in the NCR upstream of Lake Eufaula (Table 5).

Luxilus cardinalis (Fowler) Cardinal shiner: The cardinal shiner was reported in the area of Belle Starr Landing in McIntosh County and was listed as abundant. This is the only record of this species in the drainage. Because there is no voucher specimen, this record may be a questionable one.

Notropis emilate (Hay) Pugnose minnow: In 1921, the first pugnose minnow collected was from Gaines Creek, a large tributary that now empties into Lake Eufaula (OKMNH 15450). Examination of past collections showed this species was restricted to the tributaries of the NCR in Pittsburg and Latimer Counties (Table 5). In other past collections this minnow was VR to R (nine collections, 38 specimens). Today, it is still rare and limited in distribution to the same area. We collected a single specimen from Gaines Creek near the mouth of Pit Creek. This is the only recent record (since 1962) of this species from the drainage.

Notropis girardi (Hubbs and Ortenburger) Arkansas River shiner: The first collection of this shiner from the NCR drainage occurred in 1926 when 215 specimens were collected from Coldwater Creek southwest of Guymon, in Texas County, by Hubbs and Ortenburger (5). In the past, Arkansas River shiner was common in the tributaries and mainstem west of Woodward (M1-M4) (Table 5). Past collections from the tributaries and mainstem of the lower NCR drainage (M9- M10) found this species to be A before 1965. Records of past collections of this shiner from the central segments (M4-M8) are lacking. Most sites described in the 1962 ODWC survey of the proposed Lake Eufaula are now inundated by Lake Eufaula (Table 5).

Past collections show that since 1965, this species has been on the decline. In our collections we observed that this species has disappeared from the NCR drainage (12) except for 1 specimen found in 1994 from the westernmost site (M1). In the 372 collections we have made since 1976, we found this shiner to be VR, occurring in 16 collections (Table 13). Recent surveys of the NCR by others failed to find this shiner (Table 5).

In the past, the Arkansas River shiner was VA in the western segments (M1-M4) and eastern segments (M9-M10) of the mainstem of the NCR river. This species has also declined from the western tributaries (Coldwater Creek) where in the past it was C. At one time it may have been found throughout

the drainage. Long-term pollution problems in central Oklahoma during the later 1920s and early 1930s (Oklahoma City oil field) may account for the decline of this species in segments M7-M9. The first recorded fish collection (OKMNH 42064 and OKMNH 22983) from the urbanized Oklahoma City segment (M7-M8) was in 1936 and reported only two species of fish. Today the Arkansas River shiner is virtually absent from the drainage (Table 5).

After it disappeared from the river, this shiner was present in several reservoirs; ODWC surveys of Lake Canton and Lake Eufaula found this species (Table 5). One collection by ODWC found this species was C (135 specimens). These specimens might have washed in from the South Canadian River (JPDEQ unpubl. data) where this species is still VA. However, collections from Lake Eufaula after 1988 did not find this species and we found none in our collections from the lake. The lack of voucher specimens would limit the usefulness of these lake records; however, it is important to let others know of the possible presence of the Arkansas River shiner.

Cyprinella lutrensis (Baird and Girard) Red shiner: The first collection of the red shiner from the drainage was made by Ortenburger in 1926 from Coldwater Creek, southwest of Guymon in Texas County (OKMNH 6235). Since 1926, this shiner has occurred in varying numbers (2-5,482 specimens) at most sites and in all counties through which the river flows. It is apparent that this minnow was VA and widely distributed in the past (Table 5). Today, it is still VA, widely distributed, and fairly stable in abundance (Tables 14 and 15).

The red shiner was the most abundant species collected and composed more than 41% of the total fishes collected at seven of the mainstem sites (Table 15). This shiner had the widest distribution of all the minnows, representing 48% of the fish and occurring in 88% of the collections. It was absent in our collections from the headwaters tributaries of Gaines Creek, but it appears to be limited in distribution in the headwaters of the tributaries in eastern sections of the NCR drainage. In the present survey, this species was abundant at most mainstem sites except M10, and was present in most collections from the reservoirs and tributaries (Table 3). The red shiner seems to be sustaining itself better than most cyprinids, perhaps because of its tolerance to intermittent flow and its opportunistic feeding and reproductive behavior (1).

Notropis nubilus (Forbes) Ozark minnow: Ozark minnow is VR. There is one record of this minnow from the drainage. In 1966 the ODWCLS of Belle Starr Landing in Lake Eufaula collected the Ozark shiner (Table 9) and it was listed as R by the collector. The lack of a voucher specimen would limit the usefulness of this record.

Notropis ortenburgeri (Hubbs) Kiamichi shiner: The first known collection of the Kiamichi shiner from the drainage was in 1931 by Ortenburger. Since 1931, this species was collected only during the 1962 ODWC survey of the proposed Lake Eufaula (Table 5). We could not find any recent records of this species from the NCR drainage, and we failed to collect any Kiamanchi shiner during our survey (1976-1995).

In the past, this species was limited to the tributaries of Gaines Creek in Pittsburg and Latimer Counties and occurred in varying numbers (1-33 specimens) (Table 5). Today this species is rare in the NCR drainage and appears to be limited in distribution to the eastern tributaries in Pittsburg and Latimer Counties. The 1962 collections were the last records of this species from the NCR drainage.

Notropis potteri (Hubbs and Bonham) Chub shiner: A single specimen of chub shiner was collected from Canton Lake in 1979 during the ODWCLC survey. This is the only known collection of this species in the NCR drainage and probably represents bait transport from Red River drainage. The lack of a voucher specimen would limit the usefulness of this record.

Notropis rubellus (Agassiz) Rosyface shiner: The rosyface shiner is R

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and has been collected only one time from the NCR drainage. In 1952, 20 specimens (USNM 00165834) were collected from a tributary of the NCR, 19.4 km north of Seminole near the Pottawatomie and Seminole County line on Oklahoma Highway 9, or RTE 99, which was known as the Arkansas Drive at that time (Table 9).

Notropis stramineus (Cope) Sand shiner: In past collections sand shiner was A in the upstream sections of the mainstem of the river, but showed spotty distribution in the tributaries. Records shows that the sand shiner was absent in the headwaters tributaries of the lower NCR and the proposed Lake Eufaula (Table 5). We observed a similar trend in distribution and abundance during our study (1976-1995) (Tables 16 and 17). This species was not found downstream during the 1962 ODWC survey (OKMNH). It probably was never abundant in the lower reaches of the river (Table 5).

We found the sand shiner was abundant and widely distributed in the mainstem west of Oklahoma City (upstream of M8) (Table 16). It represented 6% of all fish and was found in 66% of the collections. This species was taken from nine of the mainstem sites (M1-M9), and was C or R, except from M10 below Lake Eufaula where it was VR (Table 16). In the past (before 1976) and during recent surveys (1976-1995), this species was not found downstream from M10 (Table 5).

We found this shiner in four tributaries (Kiowa, Palo Duro, Wolf and Longtown Creeks) (Table 3). Its abundance in these tributaries was highly variable. The largest numbers (1,022 specimens from three collections) were found in Palo Duro Creek. This species was absent from the headwaters tributaries of the NCR river and many of the smaller tributaries of the river in Latimer and Pittsburg Counties (Table 5).

In the past, this shiner was C in collections from upstream reservoirs (L1-L3). However, in downstream reservoirs (L4-L9) it was R. Two recent ODWCLC collections (1991 and 1994) from Lake Eufaula found this shiner to be C (Table 5).

While this shiner is fairly stable in abundance in the western segments of the river, during the period of our study the abundance of the sand shiner appears to be on the decline in those lower mainstem sites (M9-M10) (Table 17).

Lythrurus umbratilis (Girard) Redfin shiner: The 1962 ODWC survey of the proposed Lake Eufaula found redfin shiner in 35 collections; all were collected from the tributaries in McIntosh, Okmulgee, Pittsburg, Haskell, and Latimer Counties (Table 5).

As in the past, we found the redfin shiner is VR in the mainstem. We made one collection from the mainstem (M10) and also observed it was VR (only two specimens) in our collections from the tributaries (Table 4).

Notropis volucellus (Cope) Mimic shiner: In past and recent collections, mimic shiner was VR. We observed that it was limited in distribution to Lake Eufaula and its tributaries. All past and recent collections were from this area (Table 9).

We collected a single mimic shiner from the Oak Ridge area of Lake Eufaula on 14 September 1984. On 20 July 1992, we obtained another specimen from Elm Creek two miles south of Featherson in Pittsburg County. These specimens were transported to OSUS, but apparently were discarded without being cataloged. In 1988, four specimens of this shiner were collected from Lake Eufaula by ODWCLS (Table 4). Lack of voucher specimens would limit the usefulness of this collection.

One past collection of this species from the river or the tributaries was indicated on a distribution map of freshwater fishes in the United States: the exact location was difficult to determine from the atlas (8). However, it appears that this location may be Featherson Creek, where we collected minic shiners in 1964 (OKMNH 34089-6 specimens). Featherson Creek is a tributary of Sans Bois Creek on the Arkansas River.

Phenacobius mirabilis (Girardi) Suckermouth minnow: Suckermouth minnow was first taken from the drainage in 1926 by Ortenburger from Coldwater Creek southeast of Guymon (OKMNH 9243, specimens).

Since 1926 it has been rare in collections from the tributaries and the mainstem west of Woodward (Table 5). In our collections we found this species was VR to C (up to 174 specimens) in the western segments (M1-M4) of mainstem of the Beaver River (Table 4).

Past collections from the lower tributaries of the proposed Lake Eufaula found this minnow was R (316 specimens from 24 collections). In past collections from the mainstem from three collections (18 specimens), we found it to be VR in Okfuskee, Okmulgee, and McIntosh Counties (Table 5). Downstream from Lake Eufaula, this species was more abundant in the past than it is today (Table 17). After the impoundment of Lake Eufaula, this species seems to have declined in the river immediately downstream and upstream from the lake. A decline in the numbers collected at M10 was observed after 1962. For the period 1926-1995, it appears to be fairly stable in abundance above Lake Eufaula (Table 18).

Since 1980, we have been unable to collect this minnow below the lake (M10) but collected it at sites M1-M9. During this survey it was most abundant (up to 174 specimens) in the upstream reaches of the mainstem (M2-M4) (Table 18). Other recent collections (1989 and 1992) found up to ten specimens of this species in the mainstem above the Lake Eufaula (6,7) (Table 5).

We found the suckermouth minnow in variable numbers (0-21 specimens) in 4 collections from the tributaries and 14 specimens in 6 collections, from Lake Canton. Between 1967 and 1983, this species was collected by the ODWCLS from Lake Canton and Lake Optima (Table 5). There are no voucher specimens for these collections, which should be viewed with limited confidence.

Pimephales notatus (Rafinesque) Bluntnose minnow: The first record of the bluntnose minnow from the drainage was made in 1925 by E.B. Force (9), who collected 14 specimens from Okmulgee County. We found 86 past collections of this species; most came from the tributaries in the eastern sections of the drainage. Past collections from the mainstem indicate VR (two collections) (Table 5).

We collected bluntnose minnows three times from two NCR mainstem locations (M8 and M10). Six of our collections from five eastern tributary sites included this species (Table 4).

In this survey, this species clearly exhibits greater abundance in downstream areas then elsewhere in the drainage, with 99% coming from the river downstream of Lake Eufaula (M10) or from the tributaries of Lake Eufaula. Our westernmost collection was from west of Harrah (M8) in Oklahoma County. A recent collection (1989) included a single specimen from the river north of Dustin, in Okfuskee County (7). This minnow remains VR in the NCR mainstem, but is C in the eastern tributaries in Haskell, Pittsburg, and Latimer Counties.

We failed to find this species in our lake surveys. Past collections by the ODWCLS found two to eight specimens in the western lakes, but it was C (3-218 specimens) in Lakes Hefner and Overholser (Table 5).

Pimephales promelas (Rafinesque) Fathead minnow: Fathead minnow was first collected from the mainstem near Weleetka in Hughes County in 1924 by Ortenburger (OKMNH). Since 1924, it has been found to be A up to 1,064 specimens from the mainstem and tributaries of the western segments (A, B, and C) of the NCR. Extensive collecting in the lower reaches of the NCR and tributaries found this species to be R (201 specimens from 14 collections) (Table 5). Recent collections from the central, urbanized segment of the NCR mainstem included 14-16 specimens (Table 5).

Most of the specimens (63%) we obtained came from nine mainstem sites (M1-M9). None was collected from site M10, which is downstream from Lake Eufaula. This species was in 220 (60%) of the mainstem collections and represented 3% (13,978) of the fish taken from the mainstem (Table 19).

In the tributaries, this species formed 5% (701 specimens) of the fish taken and was present in 29% of our collections. It

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was found in four of the reservoirs and represented 2.1% of the fish taken. In six collections from the lakes, we found 360 specimens (Table 4).

In this survey, this most adaptable minnow exhibited greater abundance in upstream areas than in the lower reaches of the NCR (Table 19). This species represented from 2% to 11% of the fish collected at sites upstream from site M6. Downstream from site M6 the percentage varied from 0.0% to 2.0%. The largest numbers were collected at site 3 north of May in Beaver County and site 4 north of Woodward in Woodward County (Table 19).

The flushing flows from Oklahoma City South Side Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) and Lake Eufaula have contributed to declines in this species at sites M8-M10 (Table 19). The largest numbers were collected in 1985 and 1986 and in 1993 and 1994 (Table 20).

Pimephales tenellus (Girard) Slim minnow: A single specimen of the slim minnow was collected from Emachaya Creek west of Whitefield on Highway 9 in Haskell County by M. Curd, R. Sisk, and B. Branson in 1959 (OSUS-UPR). On 20 July 1992, we collected two specimens from Elm Creek 3 km south of Featherson in Pittsburg County. These specimens were deposited at OSUS, but were apparently discarded without being cataloged. In a 1950 ODWCLS collection from Lake Canton, we found one record of this species that was deposited at OKMNH (Table 9).

Pimephales vigilax (Baird and Girard) Bullhead minnow: The first collection of bullhead minnow from the NCR drainage was by Ortenburger in 1928 from the river north of Woodward (Table 5) (OKMNH). Past collections from the Beaver River north of May (M3) downstream to Watonga (M6) produced 1-7 specimens. Other past collections (1962-1975) indicated that the bullhead minnow was more abundant (up to 142 specimens) in the lower reaches (M9-M10) of the mainstem and the lower tributaries of the NCR than in other areas of NCR (Table 20). In the past this species was VR below site M10.

The bullhead minnow was abundant and widely distributed in our survey, comprising 1% of the fish collected, and was found in 53% of the collections. This species was collected from nine of the mainstem sites with the exception of the westernmost site M1 (Table 22). The bullhead minnow was in 216 (58%) of the mainstem collections, which produced 98% of the specimens (Table 4).

We found this minnow was C in collections from reservoirs, where it occurred in 31 collections and comprised 2% of the fish. The reservoirs produced 17% of the specimens, with the largest numbers taken from Lake Canton (Table 4).

The bullhead minnow appeared to increase in abundance downstream. Numbers increased from zero specimens at the westernmost site M1 to 2,519 specimens at site M9. This omnivorous minnow was R downstream of Lake Eufaula (Site M10) (Table 21).

The number of specimens collected in 1991 and 1994 was much greater than the number collected earlier (Table 20). We have observed a substantial increase of this species since 1991 at sites M8-M9.

Erimystax x-punctatus (Hubbs and Crowe) Gravel chub: We found one past record of the gravel chub from the NCR drainage. In 1962 a single specimen was collected from Gaines Creek during the ODWC survey led by Houser and Lindsay. This specimen was deposited into the University of Tulsa fish collections (TU #437) and later transferred to OSUS (Table 9).

CONCLUSIONS

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In Tables 7, 11, 14, 17, and 21, we attempt to show changes in fish numbers using relative abundance based on the number of specimens per collection. Eighteen species occurred in such small numbers (fewer than 20 specimens) that we made no attempt to establish a trend for these species. These were C. idella, E. x-punctatus, L. cardinalis, L. umbratilis, M. aestivalis, M. storeriana, N. bairdi, N. boops, N. emilate, N. nubilus, N. ortenburgeri, N. potteri, N. rubellus, N. volucellus, P. notatus, P. gracilis, P. tenellus, and S.

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erythrophtalmus. The remaining 13 species were evaluated for spatial or temporal trends. These species were C. anomalum, C. carpio, C. lutrensis, H. placitus, N. crysoleucas, N. atherinoides, N. blennius, N. buchamani, N. girardi, N. stramineus, P. mirabilis, P. promelas, and P. vigilax. Four species (carp, red shiner, suckermouth minnow, and golden shiner) exhibited a wide distribution in the drainage and appeared to be fairly stable in abundance.

Plains minnows exhibited an upstream distribution trend and a decline in abundance downstream below Oklahoma City. This decline may be connected to changes in flows because of the increase in discharges from Oklahoma City Southside Waste Water Treatment Plant. This increase in flows may flush out bottom microflora and organic detritus used by this species for food.

The emerald shiner showed a downstream distribution and was R. The lack of fast, deep channels, their preferred habitat, may limit this species to the lower reaches of the mainstem of the NCR.

The Arkansas River shiner and the speckled chub are two species that had almost disappeared from the NCR where in the past they were C. The lack of elevated flows during periods of reproduction may account for this decline.

Sand shiners and fathead minnows exhibited an upstream trend in distribution and abundance. Fathead minnows find large deposits of organic matter, plankton, and insect larvae in the upstream sites.

Three additional species showed trends in distribution and abundance. The bullhead minnows showed a downstream trend both in distribution and in abundance. The bigeye shiner was limited in distribution to the smaller tributaries in the lower reaches of the drainage. The central stonerollers were limited in distribution to headwater tributaries and the tributaries of Lake Eufaula. The lack of gravel and bedrock substrata may account for the absence of this grazing species in the mainstem.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Oklahoma State Department of Health and Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality administrative support and backing were provided by Mark S. Coleman, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, and Judith A. Duncan, Division Director, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.

Members of the State Environmental Laboratory Staff who assisted in fish collection and field efforts included Derek Smithee, Bill Janacek, John Burks, Jay Wright, Randy Hankins, Mike Boss, Steve Pendleton, Bob Kellogg, Bill Stallings, Terry Yates, Jim McGovern, Mark Young, Dowl Nichols, Ed Hartin, Waymon Harrison, Mike Petzel, David Lessman, San Gail Lee, Keith Bowden, Kelvin Clary, Geron Cottam, and Randy Parham.

A special thanks is given to the science students from Moore High School who aided in fish and stream water data collections. These included David Holcomb, Daniel Kim, Darrel Meeks, Russell Osborn, Phil Pigg, Ron Lucern, Robert Eates, Chris Pursley, Mike Brown, Mary Williamson, Linda Taylor, Jung Kim, Kurt Cunningham, Tom Laughton, David Henderson, Tom Williamson, Roy Cowan, Joe O'Rear, Fred Wilham, Dale Awtrey, and Steve McKinley. Special thanks goes to Aaron Mitchum and Dr. A.A. Echelle for their reviews and helpful comments and James B. Jackson for the map.

REFERENCES

Introduction Methods Results Conclusions References Top of Page Table of Contents Home

1.   Matthews, W.J. and Gelwick, F.P., Fishes of Crutcho Creek and the North Canadian River in central Oklahoma: effects of urbanization. Southwest. Nat. 35, 403-410 (1990).

2.   Pigg, J., Coleman, M.S., and Duncan, J., An ecological investigation of the ichthyofauna of the North Canadian River in Oklahoma: 1976-1989. Proc. Okla. Acad. Sci. 72, 21-32 (1992).

3.   Cross, F.B., Moss, R.E., and Collins, J.T., Assessment of Dewatering Impact

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on Stream Fisheries in the Arkansas and Cimarron River. Kansas Fish and Game Commission (1985).

4.   Pigg, J., Gibbs, R., and Stahl, J., Distribution records for three new introduced species of the ichthyofauna of Oklahoma waters. Proc. Okla. Acad. Sci. 72, 1-2 (1992).

5.   Hubbs, C.L. and Ortenburger, A.L., Notes on Oklahoma fishes. Bull. Univ. Okla. Biol. Surv. 1. no. 2, 17-43, Norman, OK (1929) pp 116.

6.   Luttrell, G.R., Echelle, A.A., and Zale, A.V., Status of the Speckled Chub in the Arkansas River Basin. Oklahoma Dept. Wildl. Conserv. Final Project Report. Project No. E-8, Job No. 3, Oklahoma City, OK (1993).

7.   Larson, R.D., Echelle A.A., and Zale, A.V. Life History and Distribution of the Arkansas River Shiner in Oklahoma. Okla. Dept. Wild. Conserv. Final Project Report. Project No. E-8, Job No. 1, Oklahoma City, OK (1991).

8.   Lee, D.S., Gilbert, C.R., Hocutt, C.H., Jenkins, R.E., McAllister, D.E. and Stauffer, J.R., Atlas of North American Freshwater Fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History. Publication #1980-12 of North Carolina Biological Survey. (1980).

9.   Force, E.R., Fish of the ponds and streams of Okmulgee County. Proc. Okla. Acad. Sci. 7, 137 (1927).

10.   Pigg, J., Survey of fishes in the Oklahoma Panhandle Harper County, Northwestern Oklahoma. Proc. Okla. Acad. Sci. 67, 45-59 (1987).

11.   Marshall, C.L., The distribution of Notropis bairdi along the Cimarron River in Logan County, Oklahoma. Proc. Okla. Acad. Sci. 58, 109 (1978).

12.   Luttrell, G.R., Underwood, D.M., Fisher, W.L. and Pigg, J., Distribution of the Red River shiner, Notropis bairdi, in the Arkansas River drainage. Proc. Okla. Acad. Sci. 75, 61-62 (1995).

13.   Pigg, J., Decreasing distribution and current status of the Arkansas River shiner, Notropis girardi, in the rivers of Oklahoma and Kansas. Proc. Okla. Acad. Sci. 71, 5-15 (1991).

Received: 1996 Oct 28; Accepted: 1997 Apr 25

[Pages 55–92 consist of Tables 1–21]

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