2007 NORTHEASTERN NATURALIST 14(1):125–138
Effects of Lowhead Dams on Unionids in the Fox River, Illinois
Jeremy S. Tiemann1,*, Hope R. Dodd2,5, Nick Owens3, and David H. Wahl4
Abstract - We sampled 9 sites (5 free-flowing and 4 impounded) to investigate
effects of lowhead dams on the habitat characteristics and the freshwater mussel
assemblage of the Fox River in Illinois. We used 2 habitat indices, the Qualitative
Habitat Evaluation Index (QHEI) and the Stream Habitat Assessment Protocol
(SHAP), to determine effects of lowhead dams on habitat quality. Free-flowing sites
had higher QHEI and SHAP scores than impounded sites, indicating higher quality
stream habitat. We calculated 3 variables, catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE), extant species
richness, and percent missing species, to establish effects of lowhead dams on
freshwater mussels. Free-flowing sites had higher CPUE and extant species richness
and lower percent missing species than impounded sites. We also examined literature
reviews and museum collection holdings to determine species distributions within
the basin. These data suggest that dams limit the upstream distribution of 5 species.
Freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionidae) are important components of
stream ecosystems (Strayer et al. 1994). Not only does their sensitivity to
stream disturbances make them good biological indicators of stream integrity,
but they also provide habitat or a food source for many animals. During
the past century, freshwater mussels have become one of the most imperiled
groups of organisms in North America, where nearly 70% of the approximately
300 species have become extinct or are endangered, threatened, or in
need of conservation status (Williams et al. 1993). Among factors affecting
freshwater mussels are anthropogenic disturbances that result in habitat
destruction/fragmentation and environmental degradation.
Impoundments are one of the major sources of anthropogenic disturbances
on streams (Baxter 1977). Dam effects include converting lotic
habitats to lentic habitats, changing flow regime, altering physicochemical
parameters, increasing siltation upstream from and scouring substrates
downstream from the dam, and altering fish assemblages and/or blocking
movement of host fishes (Baxter 1977, Tiemann et al. 2004, Watters 1996).
The resultant dam effects can alter the freshwater mussel fauna, including
restricting distributions and isolating populations (Watters 1996), reducing
1Illinois Natural History Survey, Center for Biodiversity, 1816 S. Oak Street,
Champaign, IL 61820. 2Illinois Natural History Survey, Center for Aquatic Ecology
and Conservation, 1816 S. Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820. 3Illinois Natural
History Survey, Center for Wildlife and Plant Ecology, 1816 S. Oak Street,
Champaign, IL 61820. 4Illinois Natural History Survey, Center for Aquatic Ecology
and Conservation, Kaskaskia Biological Station, RR 1 Box 157, Sullivan, IL 61951.
5Current address - National Park Service, Missouri State University, 901 S. National
Avenue, Springfield, MO. *Corresponding author - email@example.com.
126 Northeastern Naturalist Vol. 14, No. 1
native species richness and abundance (Parmalee and Hughes 1993), increasing
non-native species richness and abundance (Parmalee and
Polhemus 2004), and altering evenness (Dean et al. 2002). Several studies
have documented effects of large dams on freshwater mussels (e.g., Bates
1962, Blalock and Sickel 1996, Suloway et al. 1981, Williams and Fuller
1992), but few have addressed effects of lowhead dams (< 4 m in height)
(e.g., Dean et al. 2002, Watters 1996). Data on how lowhead dams affect
freshwater mussels are important for the protection of this imperiled fauna.
The objectives of this study were to investigate whether lowhead dams
affect the habitat characteristics, freshwater mussel fauna, and unionid
species distributions in the Fox River in Illinois. We predicted that habitat
quality and freshwater mussel abundance and extant species richness
would be lower, while percent missing species would be higher in impounded
sites than free-flowing sites; we also presumed that some species
of freshwater mussels would be restricted in their distribution due to dams.
To test these hypotheses, we calculated indices for habitat quality and
conducted timed searches for unionids at 9 sites upstream from 5 lowhead
dams in the Fox River in Illinois; in addition, we examined literature
reviews and museum collection holdings to determine species distributions
within the Fox River basin.
The Fox River begins near Menominee Falls in Waukesha County, WI,
and flows approximately 315 km south-southwest before converging with
the Illinois River near Ottawa in LaSalle County, IL (Schanzle et al. 2004).
The basin, nearly 6900 km2, is predominately agricultural land (66%) and
urban areas (18%) with some woodlands (9%), wetlands (5%), and lakes and
streams (2%) (Santucci et al. 2005). The mainstem of the Fox River is
impounded with 19 lowhead dams, 15 of which occur in Illinois (Schanzle et
al. 2004). Dams, which range from 44–183 m long and 0.8–9.0 m high,
impound small areas (2–346 ha); due to the number of dams, 47% of the
length and 55% of the surface area of the river is impounded (Santucci et al.
2005). Historically, the Fox River basin contained at least 33 species of
freshwater mussels (Schanzle et al. 2004 and references therein); 25 of these
have been collected in the basin since 1969 (Illinois Natural History Survey
[INHS] Mollusk Collection, Champaign, IL).
We sampled 9 sites in a 17.3-km stretch of the Fox River, Kane County,
IL, in July 2003, to assess effects of lowhead dams on the habitat characteristics
and the freshwater mussel assemblage (Fig. 1). Two of these sites
(Geneva Free-Flowing and Aurora Impounded) were measured for habitat in
April 2006; values obtained were similar to those reported in 2000 (V.J.
Santucci, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Spring Grove, IL, pers.
2007 J.S. Tiemann, H.R. Dodd, N. Owens, and D.H. Wahl 127
comm.). This area of the Fox River primarily drains urban areas. The 9 sites
consisted of 2 site types (5 free-flowing and 4 impounded) upstream from
each of 5 lowhead dams (Fig. 1). The South Batavia Dam was breached and
no longer contained an impounded area; therefore, no impoundment data
from this site were included in this study. Free-flowing sites were outside the
zone of direct dam influence on flow, predominately had gravel/pebble
substrates, and ranged from 55–100 m in width, 0.5–1 m in depth, and 100–
200 m in length. Impounded sites were inundated, primarily had silt substrates,
and ranged from 140–200 m in width, 0.5–2 m in depth, and 150–400
m in length.
No pre-impoundment data were available. We concluded impounded
areas were more similar to free-flowing areas than wide, deep, silted pool
areas before being dammed due to the steep gradient (0.85 m/km) of this
section of the Fox River. Also, we considered free-flowing sites to be normal
conditions for presently undammed portions of the Fox River. Therefore, we
believed the sites we chose acted as suitable and valid standards for their
respective areas presently found in the basin.
We assessed habitat at each site using two qualitative habitat indices
designed to evaluate stream integrity and habitat quality: the Qualitative
Habitat Evaluation Index (QHEI) (Ohio EPA 1989) and the Stream Habitat
Assessment Procedures (SHAP) (Illinois EPA 1994). Both indices are
multi-metric and provide empirical, quantified evaluations of stream habitat
(Holtrop and Fischer 2002, Santucci et al. 2005). They score and rate
Figure 1. Study area in the Fox River, Kane County, IL, and locations of lowhead
dams (bars) and study sites (Xs).
128 Northeastern Naturalist Vol. 14, No. 1
habitat quality based on visual observation data that describe channel morphology,
substrate, and flow characteristics. The QHEI has 7 principal
metrics (substrate, instream cover, channel morphology, riparian zone and
bank erosion, pool-glide quality, riffle-run quality, and gradient), and the
SHAP has 15 (bottom substrate, deposition, substrate stability, instream
cover, pool-substrate characterization, pool quality, pool variability,
canopy cover, bank vegetative protection/stability, top-of-bank land use,
flow-related refugia, channel alteration, channel sinuosity, width/depth ratio,
and hydrologic diversity). For each index, higher scores indicate better
habitat quality for aquatic organisms.
We collected live freshwater mussels and valves of dead specimens by
hand-groping while wading for 1–4 collector-hours at each site. Handgroping
has been documented to be an effective and efficient means of
estimating abundance and species richness of freshwater mussels (Metcalfe-
Smith et al. 2000, Obermeyer 1998, Vaughn et al. 1997). Variation in
sampling effort was due to the differences in the size of the sample area and
the ease of groping in silt versus gravel/pebble substrates. At each site, we
recorded the number of live individuals of each species before returning the
unionids to the stream reach from which they came. We vouchered and
deposited valves of each species from each site into the INHS Mollusk
Collection. We identified species using Cummings and Mayer (1992), with
common and scientific names following Turgeon et al. (1998), except we did
not recognize subspecies.
We standardized freshwater mussel abundance at each site as catch-perunit-
effort (CPUE), which was the number of live individuals per
collector-hour. We determined extant species richness as the number of
species found live at a given site during the survey. We calculated percent
missing species using the formula: ([(number of historical species - number
of extant species) / number of historic species] x 100), where the
historical count was established as the number of species found at a given
site either live or as valves during this survey or previous visits (data taken
from the INHS Mollusk Collection).
We pooled data for analysis at the site-type level. We used the Shapiro-
Wilk test to evaluate distributions of means for normality and the Levene’s
test to examine homogeneity of variance (Zar 1999). We preformed multivariate
analysis of variance (MANOVA) using Wilk’s lambda () (Zar
1999) to investigate effects of lowhead dams on the habitat characteristics
and the freshwater mussel assemblage. We used analysis of variance
(ANOVA) to examine effects of lowhead dams on individual habitat indices
(QHEI and SHAP) and freshwater mussel assemblage variables (CPUE,
extant species richness, and percent missing species). We used the Statistical
Analysis System, Version 8.1 (SAS Institute, Incorporated, Cary, NC) to
calculate all statistical tests and considered tests significant at P 0.05.
We conducted literature reviews (Baker 1906, 1928; Calkins 1874;
Cummings and Mayer 1997; Eldridge 1914; Mathiak 1979; Schanzle et al.
2007 J.S. Tiemann, H.R. Dodd, N. Owens, and D.H. Wahl 129
2004) and inspected museum collection holdings (Academy of Natural Sciences
of Philadelphia, Chicago Academy of Science, Carnegie Museum of
Natural History, Field Museum of Natural History, INHS, Illinois State
Museum, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Ohio State University Museum
of Zoology, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, National Museum
of Natural History) of the Fox River basin to determine historical species
distributions within the basin. To recognize whether dams affected unionid
distribution, we determined presence of a given species and compared those
data to locations of lowhead dams (Santucci et al. 2005, Watters 1996). A
species was considered extant at a site if it had been collected there since
1970 (Cummings and Mayer 1997).
Mean QHEI was 73.0 (SD = 8.58) in free-flowing sites versus 37.5 (SD
= 6.94) in impounded sites, and mean SHAP was 121.8 (SD = 26.46) in
free-flowing sites versus 64.8 (SD = 8.42) in impounded sites (Table 1).
MANOVA showed that the habitat characteristics varied significantly between
site types ( = 0.12, n = 9, F = 20.80, P = 0.002). ANOVA indicated
that both QHEI (F1,7 = 44.66, P = 0.0003) and SHAP (F1,7 = 16.08, P =
0.004) were significantly higher at free-flowing sites than impounded sites.
Post-hoc pooled t-tests (df = 7) with sequential Bonferroni correction of
individual QHEI and SHAP variables showed that free-flowing sites had
shallower depths (t = 4.64, P = 0.002), fewer channel alterations (t = 4.66,
P = 0.002), less silt deposition (t = 5.82, P = 0.0006), higher gradient (t =
6.52, P = 0.0004), more riffle/run sequences (t = 5.92, P = 0.0006), more
diverse substrate composition (t = 6.35, P = 0.0004), higher substrate
stability (t = 6.75, P = 0.0003), and higher hydrologic diversity (t = 5.81,
P = 0.0006) than impounded sites.
We collected 104 individuals of 6 unionid species in 16 collector-hours
at the 5 free-flowing sites; however, we found no live individuals in 7
Table 1. Freshwater mussel assemblage data and habitat-quality indices by site from surveys
upstream from 5 lowhead dams in the Fox River, IL, July 2003. Site codes are Gv (Geneva), NB
(North Batavia), SB (South Batavia), NA (North Aurora), and Au (Aurora). FF are free-flowing
sites and Im are impounded sites.
Mussel data GvFF GvIm NBFF NBIm SBFF NAFF NAIm AuFF AuIm
Effort (collector-hours) 2 2 4 2 4 4 2 2 1
Abundance of live indiv. 4 0 1 0 43 37 0 19 0
Catch-per-unit-effort 2.0 0 0.3 0 10.8 9.3 0 9.5 0
Extant species richness 2 0 1 0 4 5 0 3 0
Historic species richness 10 1 13 1 8 12 1 9 4
% missing species 80 100 92 100 50 58 100 67 100
Habitat quality index
QHEI 59.5 34.0 74.5 46.5 76.0 83.0 39.0 72.0 30.5
SHAP 78 61 142 63 129 142 77 118 58
130 Northeastern Naturalist Vol. 14, No. 1
Table 2. Freshwater mussel assemblage data by site from surveys upstream from 5 lowhead dams in the Fox River, IL, July 2003. Species found at a given site
during previous visits are indicated by an asterisk (*) (data from the INHS Mollusk Collection). Numbers represent individuals collected live and “V” indicates
species collected only as valves. Site codes are Gv (Geneva), NB (North Batavia), SB (South Batavia), NA (North Aurora), and Au (Aurora). FF are freeflowing
sites and Im are impounded sites.
Scientific name Common name GvFF GvIm NBFF NBIm SBFF NAFF NAIm AuFF AuIm
Alasmidonta marginata Say Elktoe * * * *
Lasmigona complanata (Barnes) White heelsplitter 1 10 V
Lasmigona costata (Rafinesque) Flutedshell V V
Pyganodon grandis (Say) Giant floater 3 V V 36 2 V * V
Utterbackia imbecillis (Say) Paper pondshell * V V
Amblema plicata (Say) Threeridge V *
Cyclonaias tuberculata (Rafinesque) Purple wartyback V* *
Elliptio dilatata (Rafinesque) Spike V V V V *
Fusconaia flava (Rafinesque) Wabash pigtoe V V V
Pleurobema sintoxia (Rafinesque) Round pigtoe V V *
Quadrula pustulosa (Lea) Pimpleback *
Quadrula quadrula (Rafinesque) Mapleleaf 2 20 3 V
Actinonaias ligamentina (Lamarck) Mucket * V * 7 V
Lampsilis cardium Rafinesque Plain pocketbook 1 1 3 7 6 V
Lampsilis siliquoidea (Barnes) Fat mucket *
Toxolasma parvus (Barnes) Lilliput 2
Venustaconcha ellipsiformis (Conrad) Ellipse ** V V
Villosa iris (Lea) Rainbow *
2007 J.S. Tiemann, H.R. Dodd, N. Owens, and D.H. Wahl 131
collector-hours at the 4 impounded sites. An additional 8 species were
represented as valves at free-flowing sites, and 4 species were collected as
valves at impounded sites (Table 2). None of the species collected live are
listed at the state (Illinois) or federal level; two species, Cyclonaias
tuberculata (Rafinesque) (purple wartyback) and Elliptio dilatata
(Rafinesque) (spike), collected as valves are listed as state-threatened, and
these were found only at free-flowing sites. A state-endangered species,
Villosa iris (Lea) (rainbow), previously had been recorded at a free-flowing
site within the study area, but was not collected during this survey (Table 2).
At free-flowing sites, mean CPUE was 6.4 (SD = 4.84) per-hour, mean
extant species richness was 3.0 (SD = 1.58), and mean percent missing
species was 69.5 (SD = 16.91) (Table 1). Because no live unionids were
found at impounded sites, mean CPUE was 0.0 per-hour, extant species
richness was 0.0, and mean percent missing species was 100.0. MANOVA
showed that the freshwater mussel assemblage varied significantly between
site types ( = 0.23, n = 9, F = 5.73, P = 0.04). ANOVA indicated a
significantly higher CPUE (F1,7 = 6.69, P = 0.04) and extant species richness
(F1,7 = 14.00, P = 0.007) and significantly lower percent missing species (F1,7
= 13.07, P = 0.009) in free-flowing sites than impounded sites.
Examination of literature reviews (n = 7 articles) and museum collection
holdings (n > 2000 specimens) of the Fox River basin indicated that lowhead
dams appear to limit the upstream distribution of 5 species of freshwater
mussels within the basin. The distribution of Leptodea fragilis (Rafinesque)
(fragile papershell), Potamilus alatus (Say) (pink heelsplitter), Potamilus
ohiensis (Rafinesque) (pink papershell), Tritogonia verrucosa (Rafinesque)
(pistolgrip), and Truncilla donaciformis (Lea) (fawnsfoot) was related to the
presence of dams in the Fox River. Records suggest that: 1) T. donaciformis
is extant only downstream from the Dayton Dam, the downstream-most dam
in the Fox River; 2) P. alatus and T. verrucosa currently are found only
downstream from the Dayton Dam, but a historical record (pre-1900) for
each species exists downstream from the Carpentersville Dam (there is no
evidence that either species now exists at the Carpentersville Dam site);
3) P. ohiensis is extant from downstream from the Yorkville Dam (the
second downstream-most dam) to the confluence of the Illinois River; and
4) L. fragilis is found from downstream from the Yorkville Dam to the
confluence of the Illinois River, in addition to an isolated population downstream
from the Carpentersville Dam (no records exist between the
Yorkville and Carpentersville dams) (Fig. 2). These 5 species are widespread
and fairly common in the upper Midwest (Cummings and Mayer
1992), and all have been collected live at several locations in the Illinois
River basin both upstream and downstream from its confluence with the Fox
River and in neighboring systems (INHS Mollusk Collection). The question
of why there is such a large distribution gap (e.g., no records exist between
the Yorkville and Carpentersville dams) for L. fragilis, P. alatus, and T.
verrucosa could not be addressed in this study.
132 Northeastern Naturalist Vol. 14, No. 1
The habitat characteristics and the freshwater mussel assemblage within
the Fox River study area varied significantly between site types, suggesting
that these lowhead dams have negative effects on habitat and freshwater
Figure 2. Distribution of (a) Truncilla donaciformis, (b) Potamilus alatus and
Tritogonia verrucosa, (c) Potamilus ohiensis, and (d) Leptodea fragilis in the Fox
River basin, IL. Solid circles (●) denote sites where specimens have been found
since 1970, solid triangles (▲) denote sites where specimens were found pre-1900,
and open circles (O) denote sites where specimens were not found. Solid rectangles
(❚) are lowhead dams and include Dayton, Carpentersville, and Yorkville.
2007 J.S. Tiemann, H.R. Dodd, N. Owens, and D.H. Wahl 133
mussels similar to those reported for large dams and lowhead dams in other
lotic systems. Impounded sites had lower QHEI and SHAP scores than freeflowing
sites, indicating that these areas had poor habitat quality and degraded
conditions. Impounded sites had greater depths, channel alterations, and silt
deposition, and less gradient, riffle/run sequences, diverse substrate composition,
substrate stability, and hydrologic diversity. These characteristics are
often found in impounded areas upstream from large dams (Baxter 1977) and
lowhead dams (Tiemann et al. 2004), and cause alterations in freshwater
mussel faunas (Dean et al. 2002, Parmalee and Hughes 1993, Vaughn and
Reductions in the freshwater mussel assemblage likely are the result of
modifications in habitat in the impounded areas. The freshwater mussel
assemblage variables for the free-flowing areas were within the ranges
reported by Schanzle et al. (2004) for the Fox River mainstem. Free-flowing
sites had higher CPUE and extant species richness and lower percent missing
species than impounded sites. Although we found valves at impounded
sites, we found no live specimens and therefore zero extant species richness
and 100% missing species in these areas. The 6 species we collected at freeflowing
sites are widespread and common in the Fox River (Schanzle et al.
2004), yet we did not collect them in impounded areas. Reductions in
freshwater mussel abundance and/or extant species richness are common in
impounded areas, as reported for both large dams (Combes and Edds 2005)
and lowhead dams (Dean et al. 2002).
CPUE and extant species richness of freshwater mussels in the Fox
River free-flowing areas is lower compared to similar areas in other
streams in the Illinois River basin. Schanzle et al. (2004) stated that the
decline in abundance and species richness parallels the increased urbanization
of the Fox River watershed, despite the passage of the Clean Water
Act in 1972. Even though the Fox River has had water quality problems
(e.g., high nutrient loads) due to urban runoff, municipal wastewater discharges,
and other domestic and industrial sources, water quality has been
shown to be improving over the last few decades (Santucci et al. 2005).
However, recolonization by freshwater mussels could take decades and is
dependent upon source populations of both unionids and host fishes
(Sietman et al. 2001, Watters 1996).
Given the large number of lowhead dams in the Fox River, their negative
effects on the stream ecosystem could be widespread. Lowhead dams might
contribute to the overall reduction of the freshwater mussel fauna by not
only creating unsuitable and fragmented habitat, but also by artificially
restricting freshwater mussel distributions. The 5 species that appear to have
distributions limited by dams in the Fox River basin have been collected in
the headwaters of neighboring unimpounded systems, including the Mazon
River and Aux Sable Creek (INHS Mollusk Collection), both of which are
Illinois River tributaries that are in the same physiographic region as the Fox
River basin. Watters (1996) reported a similar distribution pattern for L.
134 Northeastern Naturalist Vol. 14, No. 1
fragilis and P. alatus in 5 midwestern stream systems. Both species appeared
to have their distributions limited by lowhead dams, but were collected
throughout neighboring unimpounded systems. Watters (1996) stated that
the distribution pattern of L. fragilis and P. alatus in relation to the locations
of dams could be coincidental; however, that these species were found in the
headwaters of neighboring, unimpounded systems implies that their distributions
cannot be attributed to the size of the stream reach or distance from
the mouth of the stream.
The 5 species listed above are expanding their ranges in the Illinois River
basin (Cummings and Mayer 1997, Sietman et al. 2001; INHS Mollusk
Collection). However, colonization of upstream portions of the Fox River
might not occur due to lowhead dams. Watters (1996) reported that the
distributions of L. fragilis and P. alatus might be restricted because lowhead
dams prohibit upstream movement of their host fish, Aplodinotus grunniens
Rafinesque (freshwater drum). These patterns also might occur for P.
ohiensis and T. donaciformis because they also use A. grunniens as a host; T.
donaciformis also uses Sander canadensis (Griffith and Smith) (sauger) as a
host (Watters 1994). Watters (1996) suggested that the distribution pattern
of Quadrula quadrula (Rafinesque) (mapleleaf) might be limited due to
lowhead dams prohibiting the upstream movement of its host fish, Pylodictis
olivaris (Rafinesque) (flathead catfish). The same also might occur for T.
verrucosa because it also uses P. olivaris and other ictalurids as a host (G.T.
Watters, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, pers. comm.). Sander
canadensis is found only downstream from the Dayton Dam, whereas A.
grunniens and P. olivaris are present throughout the Fox River, including
impounded areas (Santucci et al. 2005). Because the 5 freshwater mussel
species listed above are not distributed throughout the Fox River, or are in
small, isolated populations, their chances of parasitizing host fishes are low.
Even if the host fishes do become parasitized, the lowhead dams could act as
physical barriers and impede the upstream movement of the fishes, and thus
limit freshwater mussel distribution and range expansion within the watershed.
Therefore, restricted dispersal capabilities, coupled with suboptimal
habitat in inundated areas, limit the potential of freshwater mussels for
sustaining their populations in portions of the Fox River.
Other anthropogenic disturbances (e.g., water quality) often co-occur
with dams to cause alterations in a freshwater mussel fauna (Vaughn and
Taylor 1999). Lowhead dams play a notable role in the widespread occurrence
of substandard water quality in the Fox River (Santucci et al. 2005).
Dissolved oxygen concentrations in the river have been shown to widely
fluctuate on a daily basis in impounded areas; these concentrations often
reach substandard levels, last for most of the day, and occur when water
temperatures are high and discharge is low (Santucci et al. 2005), creating
unsuitable conditions for freshwater mussels. Also, pollutants could settle in
the sediments of impounded areas and further compound the unfavorable
conditions for the freshwater mussel fauna in these areas (Harman 1974).
2007 J.S. Tiemann, H.R. Dodd, N. Owens, and D.H. Wahl 135
Given the proportion of impounded waters in the Fox River, lowhead dams
are having an adverse effect on the ecological condition of the stream
(Santucci et al. 2005).
We recognize the limitations of our study (e.g., limited number of sites
and limited sampling effort). However, our results suggest a negative effect
of lowhead dams on habitat characteristics and freshwater mussel assemblages
similar to those found in other studies on lowhead dams (e.g., Dean et
al. 2002, Tiemann et al. 2004, Watters 1996). Future studies could address
water quality and pollutants in their relations to dams/dam removal and
freshwater mussels. Our data, coupled with those of other dam studies, can
be used in the protection of stream ecosystems.
Dam removal is one management option for improving the condition
of streams. The North Batavia Dam and South Batavia Dam in the Fox
River might be removed in the near future. Over the short term, dam
removal has been shown to result in desiccation of freshwater mussels
within the former impounded areas and suffocation of freshwater mussels
from the release of trapped sediments in downstream reaches (Sethi
et al. 2004). However, over the long term, dam removal has been shown
to improve biotic integrity and habitat quality upstream and downstream
from the formerly impounded areas and enhance fish passage in streams
(Kanehl et al. 1997, Orr and Stanley 2006, Stanley et al. 2002). With
proper dam-removal methods (e.g., notching of the dam to control sediment-
flushing or dredging of sediments), freshwater mussels could have a
chance to recolonize regions of the Fox River without being artificially
supplemented if habitat conditions are optimal, host fishes are extant, and
source populations are in close proximity (Sietman et al. 2001). Reconnecting
the river should allow improved habitat characteristics and water
quality conditions and corresponding improvements to fish and freshwater
The Office of Water Resources, Illinois Department of Natural Resources
(IDNR), Environmental Protection Trust Fund of the IDNR, and the Illinois Department
of Transportation provided funding for this study; R. Lee coordinated activities
with the Office of Water Resources; J. Butler, S. Butler, A. Defore, and B. Sauder
assisted in data collection; V. Santucci and G. Watters shared experiences; and K.
Cummings, G. Levin, D. Thomas, B. Tiemann, C. Warwick, and two anonymous
reviewers offered constructive comments on the manuscript.
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