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LTRMP Technical Report 2014–P001a

LTRMP logo A product of the Long Term Resource Monitoring Program, an element of the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Upper Mississippi River Restoration-Environmental Management Program

Monitoring Rationale, Strategy, Issues, and Methods: UMRR-EMP LTRMP Fish Component

By Brian S. Ickes, Jennifer S. Sauer, and James T. Rogala

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (6.27 MB)Summary

The Long Term Resource Monitoring Program (LTRMP), an element of the multiagency partnership Upper Mississippi River Restoration-Environmental Management Program, has been monitoring fishes in the Upper Mississippi River System (UMRS) for over two decades, using scientific and highly standardized methods. Today, the LTRMP’s data assets represent one of the world’s largest and most extensive datasets on a great river.

Methods and procedures used over the past two decades have been documented and have proven a key tool towards gaining data that are (a) scientifically valid, (b) comparable over time, and (c) comparable over space. These procedures manuals coordinate and standardize methods, procedures, and field behaviors in the execution of long-term monitoring, permitting the informed management and control of important sources of error actually under program control.

As LTRMP databases have matured in scope and accumulated more years' worth of data, their utility in research and management in the UMRS basin has increased notably. To maximize their utility, data users need not only be aware of “how the data were collected,” as portrayed in the procedures manuals, but also “why the data were collected in the way they were, at the scales they were, and in the manner that they were.” Whereas the procedures manuals contribute information as to the “how” the data were gained, this document seeks to contribute information as to the “why.” As such, this document is intended to be a companion document to the procedures manuals.

Herein, we present information on the rationale for monitoring nearly one-fifth of the entire North American freshwater fish fauna (representing the greatest freshwater fish diversity on the planet at temperate latitudes); strategies employed and their reasoning; and discussions on issues associated with the sampling design itself, data arising therefrom, and uses of those data in different contexts.

First posted July 22, 2014

For additional information contact:
Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center
U.S. Geological Survey
2630 Fanta Reed Road
La Crosse, WI 54603

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Suggested citation:

Ickes, B.S., Sauer, J.S., and Rogala, J.T., 2014, Monitoring rationale, strategy, issues, and methods: UMRR-EMP LTRMP Fish Component. A program report submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Upper Mississippi River Restoration-Environmental Management Program, Program Report LTRMP 2014–P001a, 29 p.,



Executive Summary

A General Case for Monitoring in the Upper Mississippi River System

A Case for Monitoring Fishes in the UMRS

A Focus on the Wider Fish Community and Tradeoffs

A Fishery-Independent Source of Information

General Sampling Approach

General Sampling Design

Sampling Design Specifics

Considerations and Issues


Literature Cited



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