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Abstract

Old Woman Creek (OWC) National Estuarine Research Reserve and State Nature Preserve is one of only a handful of protected freshwater estuaries in the nation and is one of the few undisturbed natural areas found along the Ohio shore of Lake Erie. Located at the mouth of Old Woman Creek, about 5 km east of the city of Huron, OWC estuary represents a remnant of a once extensive costal marsh ecosystem that provides spawning and nursery habitat for many Lake Erie fishes. Fishes were collected nine times from four sites during a two year time period extending from late July 2002 to early August 2004. A total of 34 species of fish representing 11 different families was collected. Two species never observed in the OWC system were collected including the invasive Apollonia melanostomus (round goby). The absence of larger piscivorous fish previously reported as common in the estuary, such as Esox lucius (northern pike) and Amia calva (bowfin), may be a result of the cumulative effects of years of siltation and the resulting habitat alteration. Spawning Oncorhynchus mykiss (rainbow trout) were observed in the estuary in April followed by the collection of juveniles the following spring and fall, providing the first documentation of successful rainbow trout reproduction in this system. This work provides current data concerning fish present in OWC estuary and contrasts this with historical data, providing a benchmark by which the effects of future environmental impacts may be assessed.

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Brammell, B. F., Struewing, I. T., Klare, D. M., & Lynn, S. G. (2009). An evaluation of the ichthyofauna of old Woman creek estuary, a unique aquatic resource. Journal of Freshwater Ecology, 24(4), 521–527. https://doi.org/10.1080/02705060.2009.9664328

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