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Published on: Aug. 29, 2011

perch, trout and lamprey families. Some of these collections represent new locations for species in the state, some represent collections of species from river basins where they had not been recorded in more than 50 years, and others are collections of rare species. The vast majority of species were where they were expected to be.

Fifty-seven percent of fish communities sampled so far are in good health, being similar to reference stream communities. Forty-two percent are degraded to some degree, and just 1 percent are highly degraded. In general, most streams sampled in the Ozarks are in good health, but most streams in the Prairie portion of Missouri are somewhat degraded. The few highly degraded fish communities are associated with urban areas.

Macroinvertebrate community collections include 363,510 individuals of 568 different taxa. (The word “taxa” is used, instead of species, because many can only be identified to the level of family or genus. Taxa is a general term for the different levels of classification.) Six insect species have been collected that were not previously known from Missouri, including one that is a nonnative rice crop pest. Two species of rare snails have been found to inhabit watersheds where they were previously not known to occur.

Macroinvertebrate community health was similar to fish communities with 61 percent good, 20 percent degraded, and 19 percent highly degraded. Good, degraded and highly degraded macroinvertebrate communities are distributed evenly across the state without the distinct regional differences apparent in fish communities.

Information in Action

RAM Program data provide conservation benefits beyond a cost-effective estimate of the health of warm-water, wadeable streams statewide. The Conservation Department uses the information to make better decisions for conserving Missouri’s aquatic resources.

Aquatic community and aquatic species distribution information is used to prioritize and focus conservation efforts in watersheds across Missouri. Species distribution information is used to prioritize conservation efforts for sensitive or threatened species as well. Locations of sensitive species are used to assess potential impacts of development activities like power-line extension, bridge construction and impoundment construction. In the future, the Conservation Department will also be able to make better decisions for conserving Missouri’s aquatic resources based on the information we are collecting now.

Our partners also make use of RAM Program data. The RAM Program is a partnership with the Department of Natural Resources, and they use the data in their watershed planning, protection and reporting efforts.

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