Missouri's Approach to Stream Resource Management

Despite continued deterioration and outright destruction of many streams Missourians still have a notable and diverse stream resource. Nearly 9,900 miles of permanent streams and 8,200 miles of intermittent streams with permanent pools remain. Positive stream management practices and activities in Missouri include water quality surveillance and control, access site acquisistion and development, stocking for put-and-take trout fishing, National Scenic Riverways designation, commercial fishing on some larger rivers, and continuing research projects. Three examples of application of research to stream resource problems are discussed. The first is an evaluation of gigging for rough fishes. On Big Piney River, it was shown that giggers had catch rates up to 22 times higher than hook and- line anglers. The harvest by gig, expressed as pounds per acre, nearly equaled the average annual harvest by anglers. This regulation allows a substantial harvest of suckers which comprise most of the standing crop of stream fish. The second example is an evaluation of a 12-inch minimum length regulation on black basses in Big Piney River. There was little change in estimated manhours of fishing, after initiating the length limit, except for an increase in the last 2 years (1971 and 1972). The harvest of black basses declined from 2.9 to 2.5 pounds per acre during the I0-year study. However, the total fish harvest increased due to increased harvest of other centrarchids. The total number of black bass caught, including those released, nearly doubled. Similar results are evident in a 12-inch bass length study in progress on Huzzah Creek. Because of the favorable results of these studies, including good angler acceptance, sustained total harvest, high catch rates, and good black bass angling, a statewide 12-inch minimum length limit on black bass in streams will be initiated January I, 1974. The last example is a measurement of the total recreational use of a stream. This study was conducted on a small stream in northwest Missouri that was threatened by channelization. Approximately 96,500 recreational trips, totaling over 348,000 man-hours, occurred in a 1-year period on a 57-mile section of this stream. Fishing pressure alone was 420 hours per acre, severalfold greater than the fishing pressure measured on other Missouri streams. Eleven types of hunting and eight non-consumptive recreational uses also were measured. Subsequent to the study, a standoff occurred between the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Platte River Drainage District. In July, 1973, a Corps spokesman said the project was "out of the question" because of its probable adverse effects on Platte River.

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