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Open-File Report 2007–1302

Prepared in cooperation with the National Park Service

Methods for Monitoring Fish Communities of Buffalo National River and Ozark National Scenic Riverways in the Ozark Plateaus of Arkansas and Missouri: Version 1.0

By James C. Petersen1, B.G. Justus1, H.R. Dodd2, D.E. Bowles2, L.W. Morrison2, M.H. Williams2, and G.A. Rowell2

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Open-File Report
2007-1302 PDF (2.8 MB)

Buffalo National River located in north-central Arkansas, and Ozark National Scenic Riverways, located in southeastern Missouri, are the two largest units of the National Park Service in the Ozark Plateaus physiographic province. The purpose of this report is to provide a protocol that will be used by the National Park Service to sample fish communities and collect related water-quality, habitat, and stream discharge data of Buffalo National River and Ozark National Scenic Riverways to meet inventory and long-term monitoring objectives.

The protocol includes (1) a protocol narrative, (2) several standard operating procedures, and (3) supplemental information helpful for implementation of the protocol. The protocol narrative provides background information about the protocol such as the rationale of why a particular resource or resource issue was selected for monitoring, information concerning the resource or resource issue of interest, a description of how monitoring results will inform management decisions, and a discussion of the linkages between this and other monitoring projects. The standard operating procedures cover preparation, training, reach selection, water-quality sampling, fish community sampling, physical habitat collection, measuring stream discharge, equipment maintenance and storage, data management and analysis, reporting, and protocol revision procedures. Much of the information in the standard operating procedures was gathered from existing protocols of the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Assessment program or other sources. Supplemental information that would be helpful for implementing the protocol is included. This information includes information on fish species known or suspected to occur in the parks, sample sites, sample design, fish species traits, index of biotic integrity metrics, sampling equipment, and field forms.

1 U.S. Geological Survey.
2 National Park Service.

Version 1.0

Posted March 2008

Suggested citation:

Petersen, J.C., Justus, B.G., Dodd, H.R., Bowles, D.E., Morrison, L.W., Williams, M.H., and Rowell, G.A., 2008, Methods for monitoring fish communities of Buffalo National River and Ozark National Scenic Riverways in the Ozark Plateaus of Arkansas and Missouri: Version 1: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2007–1302, 94 p.




Protocol Narrative

Background and Objectives

Sampling Design

Spatial Design

Establishing the Sample Frame

Selecting the Stretches to be Sampled



Establishing Sample Reaches

Temporal Design

Field Methods and Rationale

Data Management

Analysis and Reporting



Personnel Requirements and Training

Operational Requirements

Annual Workload and Field Schedule

Facility and Equipment Needs

Startup Costs and Budget Considerations

Protocol Revision

Protocol for Monitoring Fish Communities

SOP 1: Preparation Version 1.0

SOP 2: Training Version 1.0

Sampling Efficiency and Consistency Considerations

Safety Considerations

SOP 3: Reach Selection Version 1.0

SOP 4: Documenting CORE 5 Water-Quality and Weather Conditions Version 1.0

Discrete CORE 5 Sampling with Hand-Held Meters

Unattended CORE 5 Measurements with Data Logging Sondes

Analysis and Reporting


SOP 5: Fish Community Sampling Version 1.0

Electrofishing Overview

Seining Overview

Sampling Methods for Wadeable Streams



Sampling Methods for Nonwadeable Streams



Sample Processing Procedures

Quality Assurance/Quality Control Procedures

SOP 6: Physical Habitat Collection Version 1.0

Habitat Collection

Instream Habitat Assessment

Fish Cover

Bank Measurements

SOP 7: Measuring Stream Discharge Version 1.0

Background Information

Preparation and Meter Calibration

Field Measurements

SOP 8: Equipment Maintenance and Storage Version 1.0

Water-Quality and Current Meters

Fish Sampling Equipment

SOP 9: Data Management Version 1.0

Data Model

Data Recording

Data Entry

Entering Sampling Occasion Data

Entering Fish Data

Entering Habitat and Discharge Data

Entering Water-Quality Data

Data Verification

Data Validation

File Organization

Version Control



Data Availability

SOP 10: Data Analysis Version 1.0

SOP 11: Reporting Version 1.0

SOP 12: Protocol Revision Version 1.0


References Cited

Appendix 1. Fish species collected within Buffalo National River

Appendix 2. Fish species collected or suspected of occurring within Ozark National Scenic Riverways

Appendix 3. Mainstem and tributary sites selected by the Generalized Random Tessellation Stratified method for monitoring fish communities at Buffalo National Park and Ozark National Scenic Riverways

Appendix 4. Comparison of selected characteristics of the NAWQA, EMAP, and RBP protocols and the Ozark Rivers Fish Community protocol

Appendix 5. Fish species known to occur in Buffalo National River and Ozark National Scenic Riverways classified by tolerance and by habitat, spawning, substrate, and trophic preference

Appendix 6. Metrics used in an index of biotic integrity for midwestern streams

Appendix 7. Metrics modified from the original index of biotic integrity for use on the Current River in southeastern Missouri

Appendix 8. Metrics modified from the original index of biotic integrity for use in Missouri streams by the Missouri Department of Conservation

Appendix 9. Metrics selected for an index of biotic integrity for wadeable streams in the Ozark Highlands

Appendix 10. Equipment necessary for attended water-quality measurements

Appendix 11. Equipment necessary for unattended water-quality measurements

Appendix 12. Equipment necessary for conducting fish monitoring at Buffalo National River and Ozark National Scenic Riverways

Appendix 13. Equipment necessary to collect physical habitat data

Appendix 14. Equipment necessary for collecting discharge data

Appendix 15. Fish community field forms for recording environmental conditions and reach location

Appendix 16. Fish community field forms for recording individual fish data

Appendix 17. Data sheet for collecting instream habitat data

Appendix 18. Data sheets for collecting fish cover data

Appendix 19. Data sheets for collecting bank measurement data

Appendix 20. Data sheet for collecting discharge data

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