Caddo Lake Institute

Cypress Basin Bioblitz

In September and October 2104, CLI began work with Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and others on a "bioblitz," an intensive effort to collect and categorize the fish, insects, mussels, etc. and survey the habitat throughout the Cypress Basin.

CLI's consultant Joe Trungale designed the sampling plans and participated in the initial effort to assure that the work provides both the basic data needed by TPWD and the baseline data needed for adaptive management work on environmental flows in the Caddo Lake watershed.  This data is, for example, needed to help evaluate the value of changes in the flow patterns in Big Cypress Bayou and to Caddo Lake resulting from modifications in operations at Lake O' The Pines.  TPWD is collecting the data to fill gaps in its Fishes of Texas Project.

CLI and TPWD were joined in this effort by experts with:

  • University of Texas at Austin
  • Texas State University
  • University of Texas at Tyler 
  • The Nature Conservancy

Fish, benthic macroinvertebrate, mussel, water quality, and riparian and instream habitat data were collected at one oxbow and sites on Big, Little and Black Cypress Bayous upstream of Caddo Lake. 

A summary of the activity includes: At least 26 species of fish were collected.  The fish samples are still being processed, so the species number will likely increase.  Fish collected include at least 6 species of sunfish, Spotted and Largemouth Bass, Spotted and Longnose Gar, Bowfin (pictured above), Spotted Sucker, Pirate Perch, 3 species of darters, Channel Catfish, madtoms and several minnow species.  Of the fish species collected, at least one, the Blackside Darter, is listed as state threatened by TPWD.  A healthy mussel population was also found in the bayous (9 species collected in photo below), including one state threatened species, the Texas Pigtoe.

On top of collecting fish and invertebrate data, the overall stream health was measured by assessing the riparian corridor and instream habitat and stream water quality.  All of the data collected will serve as a benchmark to measure how the river changes through time.  This study will serve as a new starting point for a continued biological monitoring program in the watershed.

All photos from Sarah Robertson, TPWD, River Studies Program

Additional information on Caddo Lake and its watershed can be found on CLI's data website - www.caddolakedata.us.

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