|Table of Contents|
Table of Contents
Discussion of sampling methods
Results and discussion
Summary of conclusions
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PREVIOUS NUMBERS IN THIS VOLUME OF THE
FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION
1. "Effects of Backpumping from Agricultural
Drainage Canals on Water Quality in Lake
Okeechobee". Patrick L. Brezonik &
2. "Limiting Nutrients in the Kissimmee River-
Lake Okeechobee Basin Based on Algal
Bioassay Techniques". Craig W. Dye,
Douglas A. Jones, Landon T. Ross &
Ronald L. Willmore.
3. "A Study of the Precipitation Regimes of
the Kissimmee River-Lake Okeechobee
Watershed". Kenneth L. Echternacht.
4. "Agricultural Practices to Reduce Non-
Point Pollution in the Okeechobee-
Kissimmee Basin". L.B. Baldwin.
5. "Studies of the Geochemical Exchanges
Across the Sediment-Water Interface in the
Kissimmee River-Lake Okeechobee Watershed".
Thomas M. Burton, Robert C. Harriss,
Charles F. Dreyer & Douglas H. Taylor.
This study was conducted under contract
to the Florida Department of Pollution
Control, a predecessor agency of the
Florida Department of Environmental
Regulation, as an integral component of
the Department's contribution to the
"Special Project to Prevent the
Eutrophication of Lake Okeechobee"
authorized by Chapter 73-335 Laws of
at a cost
this report may be obtained
of $3.00 each, prepaid,
Florida Department of
2562 Executive Center
DEPARTMENT OF POLLUTION CONTROL
AQUATIC VERTEBRATE FAUNA
KISSIMMEE RIVER - LAKE OKEECHOBEE BASIN
Ralph W. Yerger, Contractor
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. Introduction 1
II. Methods 2
Preliminary survey 2
Sampling methods 2
Collection stations 3
Sorting of collections 3
Calculation of indices of diversity and similarity 4
Photographic slides 4
Reptiles and amphibians 4
III. Discussion of Sampling Methods 4
Selection of rotenone method 4
Limitations of rotenone sampling 5
Number of collecting efforts 6
IV. Results and Discussion 7
Description and characterization of the fauna 7
Diversity and organization of tributary systems 8
Blanket Bay Slough 8
Ice Cream Slough 8
Shingle Creek 9
Taylor Creek 11
Effects of channelization 12
V. Summary of Conclusions 14
VI. Acknowledgments 16
VII. Literature Cited 17
IX. Figures 30
The southern part of peninsular Florida is highly dependent on water from
the Kissimmee River - Lake Okeechobee drainage basin for domestic, agricultural,
and industrial uses. The fishery resources in this system support a large
recreational fishery for resident and non-resident sport fishermen, as well as a
small commercial fishery in Lake Okeechobee (Ager, 1974).
In a massive effort to minimize flood damage to the rapidly expanding
human population and property development in the area, the Flood Control
District (FCD) initiated an extensive channelization program in the 1960's.
Consequently, virtually all of the tributary streams and sloughs have been
channelized, and channel C-38 has replaced the natural Kissimmee River channel
as the major water input into Lake Okeechobee.
Concern for the ecological perturbations produced by this. project has
prompted the Florida Department of Pollution Control (DPC) to initiate a broad-
based investigation into the effects of this channelization. One aspect of this
program concerns the aquatic.vertebrate fauna of the drainage basin, particularly
the fishes. Knowledge of the fishes is particularly important to the public
because fishes have direct value as food and for recreational activity; the
layman has little understanding of physical and chemical parameters, and even of
other aquatic organisms in the ecosystem.
Relatively little information on the fishes of this drainage basin is
available. The Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission completed surveys
of several lake populations (Wegener and Holcomb, 1972; Wegener, Williams, and
Buntz 1973; Wegener, Williams, and Holcomb, 1973; Ager, 1971, 1974). The FCD
sampled fishes from the Kissimmee River and adjoining marshland (Dineen et al.,
The primary objectives of this investigation were to collect samples of
the aquatic vertebrate fauna in designated tributary systems within the
Kissimmee River-Lake Okeechobee Basin, and to describe and characterize (a) the
faunal composition, (b) diversity, (c) organization, and (d) affinities.of the
ichthyofauna in these systems. The four tributary systems designated by the
DPC for study were Shingle Creek, Ice Cream Slough, Blanket Bay Slough, and
Taylor Creek. Secondary goals included the deposition of voucher collections
of specimens in a recognized museum or institutional collection, and the
preparation of a photographic slide collection of all fish species from the study
Preliminary Survey.- A reconnaissance of the Kissimmee-Okeechobee basin was made
in late April 1974 to acquire familiarity with the designated habitats prior to
planning sampling procedures and techniques. At that time qualitative fish
samples were taken in each of the four tributary systems using 15-foot seines
Sampling Methods.- After consultation with field biologists of the Florida Game
and Fresh Water Fish Commission and careful evaluation of all sampling methods,
the use of rotenone was determined to be the best quantitative method for the
streams and sloughs under investigation. The merits of this method will be
At four of the eight collection stations - Blanket Bay Slough (BBS), Ice
Cream Slough (ICS), upper Shingle Creek (USC), and upper Taylor Creek (UTC) - a
section of the stream or slough was blocked off with seines of appropriate
length, from 10 to 40 feet long. At the other four stations - middle (MTC)
and lower (LTC) Taylor Creek, and middle (MSC) and lower (LSC) Shingle Creek -
the great width of the water channel and insignificant water flow rendered
block nets unnecessary or unfeasible.
Rotenone (Nox-fish, manufactured by S. B. Penick and Company) was applied
at a rate of approximately 0.65.gallons per acre-foot of water, and mixed as
evenly and thoroughly as possible throughout the water mass at the station.
Neutralization of the rotenone with potassium permanganate (KMnO4) was.avoided
because of the toxicity of KMnO4 to livestock.
Pickup of dead and dying fishes was accomplished with dipnets during a 2
hour period following the rotenone application. Attempts were made to pick up
all fish, but in practice this goal could not be realized. At four stations
(Blanket Bay Slough, Ice Cream .lough, upper Taylor Creek and upper Shingle
Creek) all fish pick-up was done by wading. At the other four stations, pick-
up by netters wading along the shoreline was augmented by netters in outboard
motor boats. All fish were preserved in 10% formalin, except for the extensive
samples of large schooling species (golden shiners and gizzard shad), in which
case all specimens were counted, a few specimens representative of all size classes
were preserved, and the remainder discarded. All collections were carefully
labeled in the field, and appropriate field notes were recorded at each station.
Collection Stations.- The locations of collection stations are shown on Figures
1, 2, and 3. Field data for each station are presented in Appendix A.
Sorting of Collections.- Each collection was carefully sorted and all specimens
were identified in the laboratories at Florida State University. Numbers of each
species in each collection were tabulated. Representative series of each species
from each collection station were placed in water for one week, then transferred
to 40% isopropyl alcohol for permanent storage as a voucher collection. All
voucher specimens were catalogued in the Florida State University Fish Collection
(see Appendix A for catalogue numbers).
Calculation of Indices of Diversity and Similarity.- Shannon-Weaver species
diversity index (H') was calculated for each station (Lloyd and Ghelardi, 1964;
Whittaker, 1972:224). Two similarity indices, CA (Morisita, 1959; Horn, 1966)
and the Jaccard index, Sj (Jaccard, 1902; Hocutt, et al., MS.; Whittaker, 1972)
were calculated for each combination of two stations.
Photographic Slides.- Color slides were made of freshly preserved specimens of
each species collected. Large specimens were photographed in the field under
natural light with Kodachrome II, daylight film. Smaller specimens were
photographed in the laboratory in water under flood lights, with Kodachrome II
Professional Film, Type A.
Reptiles and Amphibians.- Herpetological specimens were collected incidentally
to the collection of fishes. The small numbers taken in these samples precluded
their use in quantitative analyses of the fauna. A list of species and their
occurrence by drainage systems is given in Appendix B.
DISCUSSION OF SAMPLING METHODS
Selection of Rotenone Method.- Quantitative sampling in freshwater streams has
been accomplished with 1) seines (Tramer and Rogers, 1973; Harima and Mundy, 1974),
2) electrofishing (Boccardy and Cooper, 1963), and 3) rotenone (Boccardy and
Cooper, 1963; Hocutt, Hambrick and Masnik, 1973). Hocutt et al. (1973) have
shown that rotenone is more efficient than seine hauls and yields more species
per collection. Furthermore, the assumptions made when attempting to seine
quantitatively, namely that each seine haul is roughly equal to the others (Tramer
and Rogers, 1973), or that all specimens are removed from a certain stream segment
(Harima and Mundy, 1974), are often invalid due to various obstacles, to stream
dimensions, to human efforts, and to the secretive nature of some species.
Boccardy and Cooper (1963) showed that rotenone was more efficient than
electrofishing for collecting fishes in small streams.. Based on this prior
knowledge, and in consultation with biologists with the Florida Game and Fresh
Water Fish Commission, we selected rotenone to obtain the best quantitative
Limitations of Rotenone Sampling.- Despite the fact that rotenone is the best
method for quantitative collecting, many variables still preclude an ideal
quantitative sample. Collecting effort per station was never the same in terms
of the number of personnel per unit area. The size of the stream at some stations
and/or the swiftness of water flow prevented the use of stop-nets. Failure to use
stop-nets has greatly reduced the number of stricken fishes recovered in certain
situations (Hocutt et al., 1973). Water depth and clarity affected the number
of unrecovered fish left on the bottom, a number that can equal the number
collected at the surface in certain situations (Rupp and DeRoche, 1965). Human
nature is a factor in any rotenone collection; personnel tend to concentrate
pick-up efforts on the larger fishes which surface with spectacular splashes,
and thus bias the sample in the direction of these fishes. At some stations small
specimens were often obscured by luxuriant littoral vegetation, and consequently
were not recovered. A sensitivity gradient to rotenone exists among fish species
(Hocutt et al., 1973) and presents additional problems. Darters (e.g., Etheostoma
fusiforme) are very sensitive to rotenone and surface almost immediately, but
because they lack a swimbladder, those dying before a collector can reach them
sink immediately to the bottom and are often lost. Shad (Dorosoma) likewise are
very sensitive to rotenone, and are very mobile fish. They often enter the
collection area from adjacent waters and are quickly stricken; consequently a
disproportionate number of these are collected. Furthermore, a complete kill
of those species with low sensitivities to rotenone (e.g., catfish) may not be
realized at certain stations.
Number of Collecting Efforts.- An explanation should be made as to why a
single collecting effort was made during a period of low flow (June) and not
repeated at periods of high flow (July - September). The most important reason
is that repetitive samples with rotenone in stream situations would not give a
valid picture of the community. Gunning and Berra (1969) demonstrated that the
population structure of sharpfin suckers was altered at experimental sites and
remained so for up to 13 months after artificial decimation of the population by
physical removal with seines. In addition, certain species have been shown to
have small home ranges while others range freely up- and downstream (Funk, 1955;
Gerking, 1959; Gunning and Shoop, 1963; Huck and Gunning, 1967). Thus, a
decimated area may quickly repopulate with mobile species but remain virtually
devoid of sedentary species for a long time. The net result, then, would be a
fish community vastly different in structure from the original..
Sampling at periods of high flow was ruled out for several additional
reasons. The action of rotenone in fast-flowing water is much less effective
because it is rapidly carried'downstream and out of the collecting area. The
use of stop-nets is precluded by the volume of water and the accumulation of fish
and debris in the net. Both factors result in a significantly poorer, less
quantitative return than under low flow conditions. Water levels at high flow
also tend to be higher; at such times the fish disperse over wide areas of the
flooded lowlands, and collecting effort per unit area and per unit time is
When all of the diverse and difficult factors related to the collection of
fishes are considered, it becomes apparent that the data presented in any study
of this kind are, at best, semi-quantitative. The conclusions based on these
data should be viewed in this regard.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Description and Characterization of the Fauna
A total of 42 species representing 15 families of fishes were collected
from eight sampling sites within the Kissimmee-Okeechobee basin (Table 1;
common names of fishes are listed in Table 2). As might be expected the two
larger systems, Shingle Creek (LSC,.MSC, USC) and Taylor Creek (LTC, MTC, UTC),
had larger numbers of species, 35 and 33 respectively. The two smaller systems,
Ice Cream Slough (ICS) and Blanket Bay Slough (BBS), had fewer species, 28 and
The faunal composition is characteristic of the Central Florida Peninsula,
south of the Suwannee River and west of the St. Johns River. It is dominated
(35 of 42 species) by primary freshwater fishes (fishes living in freshwater
with little or no salinity tolerances). Three species that are common in waters
of low salinity or freshwater high in calcium and chlorides (secondary marine
fishes) were collected or observed near Lake Okeechobee (LTC): Atlantic needle-
fish (Strongylura marina), tidewater silverside (Menidia beryllina), and mullet
(Mugil sp.). Finally, four species of secondary freshwater fishes (fishes
typically living in freshwater but capable of entering waters of low salinity),
were widely distributed in the basin: sailfin molly (Poecilia latipinna),
mosquito fish (Gambusia affinis), gizzard shad (Dorosoma ccpedianum), and
threadfin shad (D. petenense). In terms of numbers of species the sunfish
and bass family (Centrarchidae) was most numerous, followed by the minnow
family (Cyprinidae), the catfish family (Ictaluridae), and the killifish family
(Cyprinodontidae). These findings are basically in agreement with Briggs' (1958)
checklist of Florida fishes.
Members of the sunfish-bass family, the catfish family, and the chain
pickerel (Esox niger) comprise the only important sources of sport and commercial
Diversity and Organization of Tributary Systems
Blanket Bay Slough (BBS).- Of all the collecting sites Blanket Bay Slough
probably represents the most "natural" area, but like all the systems sampled,
BBS has been channelized. This channelization appears to have been done in the
distant past, for natural processes such as sedimentation and plant growth have
secondarily returned it to a more typical aquatic habitat. BBS is the smallest
system (in linear distance) we examined and is probably the least stressed
area, receiving only agricultural run-off from cow pastures. However, certain
portions are periodically subjected to "choking" by water hyacinths.
In our study BBS had the highest diversity index (H' = 3.96) (Table 1; Fig.
4). This diversity may reflect the "natural" conditions in. this system, or it
may have been due in part to the optimum collecting conditions at this site.
The dimensions of this slough and low water flow allowed blocknetting above
and below the sampling site, a technique which resulted in optimal access to the
total fish population and maximum pick-up of specimens.
Blanket Bay Slough shared high faunal affinities with Ice Cream Slough
(ICS) and the upper station on Taylor Creek (UTC), based on combined Jaccard
(Sj) and Morisita (CA) values (Tables 3 and 4).
Ice Cream Slough (ICS).- Ice Cream Slough is essentially a straight "ditch"
which has been channelized fairly recently. However, it possessed a greater
variety of microhabitats (holes, rock ledges and overhangs, isolated crevices
and pockets, etc.) than any of the. other stations. Like BBS, ICS is not highly
stressed, receiving only agricultural run-off from cow pastures and, to a
minor extent, runoff from a recreational subdivisional (River Ranch) near its
This system yielded more species from a single sampling site than any
other. Diversity at this site was the second highest in the study, though not
significantly higher than the next three highest indices (Table 1; Fig. 4).
The diversity index may have been somewhat depressed by collecting difficulties
due to more rapid water flow and temporary loss of the stop-net (see discussion
on limitations of rotenone sampling). High diversity in ICS is to be expected,
a result of high habitat diversity.
Ice Cream Slough shares high faunal affinities with BBS and UTC based on
combined S. and CX values (Tables 3 and 4).
Shingle Creek (LSC, MSC, USC)
Shingle Creek is a relatively long drainage system which in the upstream
portions is severely stressed by effluents from two sewer treatment plants (STPs)
and urban runoff from the Orlando area.
Upper Shingle Creek (USC).- Upper Shingle Creek appears to be "natural" with
respect to flow, substrate, aquatic vegetation, and similar features; the. site
has largely recovered from channelization sometime in the past. However, USC
is rather severely stressed chemically by the effluent of an STP seven miles
upstream and by urban runoff from the Orlando region.
Fish diversity at this site is significantly lower than at all other sites
except two (Table 1; Fig. 4), and is explained by the extreme dominance of four
species: sailfin molly (Poecilia latipinna), mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis),
least killifish (Heterandria foimosa), and golden shiner (Notemigonus crysoleucas).
No strong faunal affinities for USC are manifest when both Sj and CX values
are considered together (Tables 3 and 4).
Middle Shingle Creek (MSC).- The aquatic environment at this site is under severe
stress. There is evidence of fairly recent channelization. Urban wastes from an
Orange County STP two miles upstream from this station contribute to the stress
already encountered at the USC station. In addition the area is subject to
hyacinth "choking". In our preliminary survey of the area in April we could not
sample this site because of the hyacinths. Approximately one week before our
June collection the site was chemically denuded. A subsequent visit in September
revealed that the stream was once again choked with hyacinths.
Middle Shingle Creek had a significantly lower diversity index (H' = 1.39)
than all other sites sampled. It also yielded the fewest species. The fauna
was extremely dominated by fishes known to respire at the air-water interface
(Lewis, 1970), such as the livebearing topminnows (Poeciliidae) and the bluefin
killifish (Lucania goodei), and by fishes capable ,f air-breathing such as gar
and bowfin. The rarity of other fish species probably reflects low dissolved
oxygen (DO)levels in this area.
Comparison of Sj and Cx values reveal no strong faunal affinities between
MSC and the other sites sampled (Tables 3 and 4).
Lower Shingle Creek (LSC).- At this collection site Shingle Creek is a fairly
large, deep stream. It appears to have been channelized in the distant past
and partial recovery is evident. It flows through an area that is partly urban,
but with agricultural areas interspersed. Environmental stress at this station
is most certainly reduced from that encountered upstream.
Diversity at LSC is quite high (Table 1; Fig. 4). Difficult collecting at
this site due to the dimensions of the stream probably had adverse effects on the
number of fishes picked up, and perhaps influenced the diversity values.
Lower Shingle Creek bears strong faunal affinities with lower Taylor
Creek (LTC) based on combined Sj and CA values (Tables 3 and 4). This similarity
is probably a function of habitat similarity. Both sites are large streams near
their entrances into a large lake, although LTC is restricted in flow because of
.the presence of a diverting structure upstream. Both stations are subject to at
least moderate amounts of environmental stress.
Taylor Creek (LTC, MTC, UTC).
Taylor Creek is a fairly large drainage system passing for most of its
length through agricultural (cattle) lands far removed from urban areas. It is
channelized over most of its length. The lower reaches of the stream pass through
the town of Okeechobee and thence into Lake Okeechobee. A large volume of Taylor
Creek's water is diverted north of Okeechobee into Nubbin Slough.
Upper Taylor Creek (UTC).- The Upper Taylor Creek station is a small stream that
appears to have been channelized and secondarily returned to a "natural" condition.
A water control structure immediately upstream of the site probably restricts
upstream movement of fish. Agricultural run-off from cow pastures appears to be
the only source of environmental stress in the area.
Diversity at UTC is quite high (Table 1; Fig. 4). Collecting conditions were
about as favorable here as they were at BBS. The flood control structure acted
as an upstream stop-net and the dimensions and flow were such that maximum pick-up
was possible. The fauna was partially dominated by unusually high numbers of golden
shiners (Notemigonus crysoleucas), redear sunfish (Lepomis microlophus), swamp
darters (Etheostoma fusiforme), and Florida gar (Lepisosteus platyrhincus).
Upper Taylor Creek had high fauna affinities with both BBS and ICS based
on combined Sj and CA values (Tables 3 and 4).
Middle Taylor Creek (MTC).- The station on Middle Taylor Creek has been extensively
channelized recently, and has only partially recovered. Control structures are
present some distance above and below the site. Environmental stress is still
primarily agricultural run-off though there is some contamination upstream from
the Okeechobee Boys' School.
Diversity at MTC is high (Table 1; Fig. 4). Collecting operations were
difficult, as at LSC. Water flow and stream dimensions probably caused diversity
values to be somewhat depressed.
No strong faunal affinities between MTC and other sites could be demonstrated
by combined Sj and CA values (Tables 3 and 4).
Lower Taylor Creek .(LTC).- Lower Taylor Creek is a large deep "stream" which has
been channelized apparently in the distant past. The area is stressed by urban
runoff from the town of Okeechobee and from effluent from an STP a short distance
upstream, conditions which are compounded by the lack of flow due to the diversion
of Taylor Creek waters into Nubbin Slough further upstream. .The area also receives
backflow from Lake Okeechobee.
Diversity at LTC was rather low (Table 1; Fig. 4). Dominance by large
numbers of gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum), threadfin shad (D. petenense),
golden shiners (Notemigonus crysoleucas) and bluegills (Lepomis macrochirus)
probably contribute to this situation. In addition, difficult collecting conditions
similar to those at LSC and MTC were encountered at LTC.
As discussed under LSC, LTC shares strong faunal affinities with LSC on the
basis of combined Sj and CA values (Tables 3 and 4).
Effects of Channelization
Previous studies on the effects of stream channelization on fish populations
have invariably demonstrated a reduction in the number of species (diversity) and
standing crop. In the Little Sioux River, Iowa, Hansen (1971) found greater
numbers of species in the unchannelized portions. Congdon (1971) reported 21
species in unchannelized sections of the Chariton River, Missouri, compared to 13
species in the channelized section, and an 86% reduction in the standing crop of
catchable-size fish. In eastern North Carolina a reduction of 90% in the number
per acre of fish over 6 inches long was reported in channeled streams 40 years
after channelization as compared with natural streams (Bayless and Smith, 1967).
Tarplee, et al. (1971) found that the carrying capacity of channelized streams in
North Carolina was 32% of that in natural streams, with a 77% reduction of the
standing crop of game fish. Most drastic was the 98% reduction in the standing
crop in the Tippah River, Mississippi, immediately after channelization (Wharton,
Attempts to correlate diversity with channelization effects in the four
stream and slough systems in the present study are virtually impossible because
all of the sample sites, as well as nearly the entire lengths of the drainage
systems, have been channelized at one time or. another. The level of recovery or
"healing" process towards a return to pre-channelization conditions varied from one
sample site to another. With increasing age, the channel becomes less uniform;
straight-cut, vegetation-free banks become sloping shores through erosion and
sedimentation; shore and aquatic vegetation proliferates; and habitat diversity
increases. These restoration processes, particularly revegetation, probably are
more rapid in the warmer, semi-tropical Florida peninsula than in the cool to cold
temperate regions of continental United States.
Blanket Bay Slough (BBS) appears to have attained the highest level of recovery,
and it is notable that it also has the highest species diversity. At the opposite
extreme, Middle Shingle Creek (MSC) probably represents the station with the most
visible physical effects of channelization, and it has the lowest diversity.
However, this low index is more likely attributable to stress factors - pollution
and low dissolved oxygen (as previously discussed) than to channelization. The
remaining stations show varying levels of recovery from channelization operations
and have diversity indices intermediate between these extremes. Although I believe
that pollution levels are more significant in determining diversity in these
systems than channelization per se, it is evident that diversity is also influenced
by channelization and the degree to which such streams have recovered towards the
Summary of Conclusions
Diversity.- Differences in species diversity may be due to many factors. In the
absence of environmental stress, differences in habitat diversity would be sufficient
to account for differences in species diversity. The presence of environmental
stresses due to pollution can be an additional source of variation in species
diversity (Odum, 1969; Woodwell, 1970; Tramer and Rogers, 1973). In the Kissimmee-
Okeechobee basin there are two major sources of pollution. The first is from
agricultural run-off from cattle lands as encountered at BBS, ICS, LSC, LTC, MTC,
and UTC. The second major source is from urban run-off, primarily storm run-off
and especially STP effluents, as seen at MSC, USC, and LTC, and to a lesser
extent at LSC and MTC. An additional source of stress throughout the system is
associated with the presence of water hyacinths and their mechanical and chemical
One apparent trend is noteworthy. Despite varying diversities of habitats,
those stations in predominantly agricultural situations (BBS, ICS, LSC, MTC, UTC)
have significantly higher species diversity than those in or near urban situations
(MSC, USC, LTC). In addition, the stresses from hyacinth "choking" and/or their
removal appear to reduce species diversity even further, as seen at MSC.
Tramer and Rogers (1973) reported that the typical longitudinal zonation of
species diversity from low to high as one moves downstream in unpolluted streams
(e.g. Sheldon, 1968; Whiteside and McNatt, 1972; Deacon and Bradley, 1972) was
cancelled by stress conditions in the lower parts of the stream. Our data for
streams with multiple sampling stations seem to agree with their conclusions,
especially in Taylor Creek where the upper two stations have significantly higher
species diversities than the lower station which receives urban wastes from the
town of Okeechobee. That the lower station (LSC) on Shingle Creek does not have
a species diversity significantly higher than those stations located in small
stream situations throughout the basin (BBS, ICS, UTC) probably reflects a
situation where the effects of urban pollution from upstream areas are still being
felt-. in the lower reaches of the creek.
Conclusions regarding differences in diversity due to channelization as
compared with unchannelized streams cannot be drawn, simply because all four
systems in this study have been channelized extensively. Diversity tends to be
higher at those stations at which recovery processes have progressed farthest
towards a secondarily "natural" state. However, environmental stress caused by
pollution precludes any direct comparison of channelization effects.
Similarity.- Both similarity indices, Sj and CA, indicate that stations BBS,
ICS and UTC share strong faunal affinities, a condition which is to be expected
since all are essentially small streams with little environmental stress. As one
would also expect, LSC and LTC have strong faunal affinity because both are near
the points of entry into large lakes, and therefore have similar habitats. No
consistent pattern of affinities was apparent between any of the other systems.
Areas with similar habitats such as MTC and MSC had vastly different magnitudes
of environmental stress.
I wish to express my appreciation to the many persons who contributed to
this study. Members of the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission assisted
in planning stages and/or in field operations: Lothian Ager, Phil Chapman,
Dennis Hammons, Craig Jones, King Keirs, Dan McCall, Forrest Ware, and William
Wegener. Wegener generously supplied boat equipment, gear, and supplies essential
to field collections. Craig Dye and Ron Wilmore of the DPC Algal Assay Laboratory
provided administrative services, boat transportation, and invaluable assistance
on collecting operations. Other DPC employees assisted in various ways; Patricia
Wood computed diversity and similarity indices, Gordon Cherr participated in all
field operations, and Patrick McCaffrey provided coordination and liason. Bruce
Means aided in the identification of amphibians and reptiles. Hal A. Beecher
and Thomas C. Lewis deserve special recognition and thanks for their major
contributions to every aspect of the project from beginning to end.
Ager, L.A. 1971. The fishes of Lake Okecchobee. Quart. J. Fla. Acad. Sci.
. 1974. Commercial fishery on Lake Okeechobee, Florida. Quart. J.
Fla. Acad. Sci. 35(4): 217-224.
Bayless, J. and W. B. Smith. 1967. The effects of channelization upon the
fish populations of lotic waters in eastern North Carolina. Proc. Ann. Conf.
S.E. Assoc. Game and Fish Comm. 18: 230-238.
Boccardy, J. A. and E. L. Cooper. 1963. The use of rotenone and electrofishing
in surveying small streams. Trans. Amer. Fish.Soc. 92: 307-310.
Briggs, J. C. 1958. A list of. Florida fishes and their distribution. Bull.
Fla. State Mus. 2(8): 223-318.
Congdon, J. C. 1971. Fish populations of channelized and undhannelized sections
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Table 1. List of species, numbers of individuals, and Shannon-Weaver indices
with .95 confidence intervals for each station.
Species BBS ICS LSC MSC USC LTC MTC UTC
1. Lepisosteus platyrhincus
2 1 43
2. Amia calva
- 1 1
3. Dorosoma cepedianum
4. Dorosoma petenense
- 1 25
- - 80
- - 537 117
- - 285
SS. Esox americanus
6. Esox niger
7. Notemigonus crysoleucas
8. Notropis chalybeus
9. Notropis emiliae
10. Notropis maculatus
11. Notropis petersoni
- 410 269
- - - a - -
- 3. -
-- - 2
5 57 6 1 15
12. Erimyzon sucetta
Table 1 (continued)
Species BBS ICS LSC MSC USC LTC MTC UTC
13. Ictalurus catus
14. Ictalurus natalis
15. Ictalurus nebulosus
16. Ictalurus punctatus
17. Noturus gyrinus
18. Aphredoderus sayanus
19. Strongylura marina
20. Fundulus chrysotus
21. Fundulus cingulatus
22. Fundulus seminolis
23. Jordanella floridae
24. Lucania goodei
25. Gambusia affinis
26. Heterandria formosa
27. Poccilia latipinna
28. Labidesthes sicculus
29. Menidia beryllina
2 - - 3
- - - 17
- 5 -
- - - - - 1
. 1 51
- - 3 1
- - - .- - 1
18 15 -
- a -
- - 2
4 1' 1 135
22 1 145 27
76 75 43
18 19 1
16 - S
4. 34 9 2
- 32 11
3 16 1
- - 1
Table 1 (continued)
Species BBS ICS LSC MSC USC LTC MTC UTC
30. Elassoma evergladei 10 16 1 3 1 - 1 2
31. Enneacanthus glorious 30 113 3 1 1 - 12 14
32. Lepomis auritus - - 15 - 1 - - -
33. Lepomis gulosus 51 47 32 4 14 13 31 8
34. Lepomis macrochirus 45 30 173 3 2 193 84 -
35. Lepomis marginatus 14 47 2 - 64 - 1 18
36. Lepomis microlophus 14 10 163 - 1 118 7 183
37. Lepomis punctatus 3 14 30 - 97 a 7 18
38. Micropterus salmoides 86 45 21 1 4 92 91 82
39. Pomoxis nigromaculatus 4 2 1 1 2 1 20 -
40. Etheostoma fusiforme 44 23 23 2 6 2 44 128
41. Percina nigrofasciata - - a - - - - -
42. Mugil sp. - - - - - 1 - -
Total no. species 26 28 27 18 25 23 24 19
(26) (27) (26) (18) (24) (21) (22) (19)
Total no. individuals 633 1046 658 1358 3896 155 781 852
TAble 1 (continued)
Species BBS ICS LSC MSC USC LTC MTC UTC
Diversity (H') 3.96 3.31 3.26 1.39 2.62 2.61 3.21 3.13
.95 Confidence interval 0.09 0.11 0.13 0.08 0.05 0.07 0.11 0.09
a Species collected in the preliminary survey (April), but not taken in the subsequent
quantitative collections (June).
b Numbers of species recorded at each .station, followed in parentheses by the number
of species taken in the quantitative survey only.
Table 2. List bf scientific and common names of fishes collected in the Kissimmee
River - Lake Okeechobee basin.
1. Lepisosteus platyrhincus
2. Amia calva
'Florida gar, Florida spotted gar
bowfin, mudfish, dogfish, cottonfish, grindel
13. Erimyzon sucetta
redfin pickerel, grass pickerel
chain pickerel, jackfish, jack
MINNOWS, CARPS, SHINERS
Table 2 (continued)
13. Ictalurus catus
14. I. natalis
15. I. nebulosus
16. I. punctatus
17. Noturus gyrinus
18. Aphredoderus sayanus
19. Strongylura marina
20. Fundulus chrysotus
21. F. cingulatus
22. F. seminolis
23. Jordanella floridae
24. Lucania goodei
25. Gambusia affinis
26. Heterandria formosa
27. Poecilia latipinna
yellow bullhead, butterball
Table 2 (continued)
28. Labidesthes sicculus
29. Menidia beryllina
30. Elassoma evergladei
31. Enneacanthus glorious
32. Lepomis auritus
33. L. gulosus
34. L. macrochirus
35. L. marginatus
36. L. microlophus
37. L. punctatus
38. Micropterus salmoides
39. Pomoxis nigromaculatus.
40. Etheostoma fusiforme
41. Percina nigrofasciata
42. Mugil sp.
Everglades pygmy sunfish
redbreast sunfish, river bream
redear sunfish, shellcracker
spotted sunfish, stumpknocker
black crappie, speckled perdh, chinkapin bream
Table 3. Cx values for the collections.
A. Information for each station
Station Total N AX S
B. Comparison of stations
Station BBS ICS LSC MSC USC LTC MTC UTC
ICS 0.5167 -
LSC 0.3813 0.1520 -
MSC 0.3414 0.1580 0.1373 -
USC 0.3387 0.2903 0.1062 0.4767 -
LTC 0.2526 0.3888 0.5040 0.0170 0.0945 -
MTC 0.6543 0.3144 0.4173 0.6879 0.4551 0.4534 -
UTC 0.5872 0.7109 0.4414 0.1072 0.2015 0.3003 0.3737
Table 4. Jaccard Index (S ) for the collections.
A. Number of species occurring in common between stations.
ICS LSC MSC USC LTC MTC UTC
B. Sj between stations
Station BBS ICS LSC MSC USC LTC MTC UTC
ICS 0.74 -
LSC 0.61 0.57 -
MSC 0.57 0.53 0.45 -
USC 0.70 0.56 0.58 0.54 -
LTC 0.72 0.62 0.65 0.56 0.58 -
MTC 0.44 0.46 0.47 0.37 0.33 0.57 -
UTC 0.61 0.57 . 0.48 0.54 0.57 0.31 0.59
Rte 578 ? t
ITaf -Vineland Rd
Figure 1. Collection stations on Shingle Creek.
Figure 2. Collection stations on Blanket Bay and Ice Cream Sloughs.
Collection stations on Taylor Creek.
U -- U U I U U
ICS LSC 1SC USC LTC MTC UT
Shannon-4eaver species diversity indices per station.
I = .95 Confidence Interval.
Field Data for Collection Stations and
Voucher Numbers of Specimens
USC Florida, Orange County. Shingle Creek, on State Road 528A, 0.75 miles
west of Florida Turnpike, southwest of Orlando; 0.5 miles east of
Tangelo Park. Quadrangle T23S, R29E, Sec. 33. 15-40 feet wide, 1-2 feet
deep with hole 5-6 feet deep. Water white, clear. Sand, clay rubble,
little mud on bottom. Aquatic vegetation: Ludwigia, Pontederia,
Anacharis, Juncus (?). Cleared weedy banks with willow and cypress.
A. 28 April 1974. RWY 925. 1230-1350 hours EDT. Flow 20 c.f.s.
Current slow. Weather partly cloudy. 15' seine.
VOUCHER NUMBERS: FSU 22686-22700
B. 8 June 1974. RWY 930. 1030-1230 EDT. Flow 15 c.f.s. Current
slow. Cloudy 7/10. Air 28�C. Water 25�C. Rotenone, dipnets, and
block net approximately 280 feet downstream from rotenone input.
One gallon rotenone distributed under bridge and in western
tributary branch above deep hole near bridge.
VOUCHER NUMBERS: FSU 22818-22841.
MSC Florida, Orange County. Shingle Creek, at Taft-Vineland Road,
about 1.75 miles west of Route 441 & 17, about 4 miles SW of Orlando.
RWY 929. Quadrangle T24S, R29E; Sec. 8. 8 June 1974. 0800-0930 EDT.
30 feet wide, 6 feet deep. Water white, moderately turbid. Flow 5
c.f.s. Current sluggish. Organic ooze, sand and mud bottom. Almost
no aquatic vegetation in immediate area of poison station, but dense
mats of Eichhornia crassipes present above and below station; Panicum
along edge. Poison station recently (25 April 1974) covered completely
with hyacinths. By 20 May the mat had been sprayed. On 8 June there
was 400-500 feet of open water with dead hyacinths above and below.
West shore cypress swamp; east shore weed field. Partly cloudy 3/10.
Air 28�C. Water 270C. Poison station about 50 yards upstream from
bridge and extending 300 feet upstream. Few fish appeared after 1 gallon
of rotenone was applied, so a second gallon of rotenone was spread over
the area, also with minimal results.
VOUCHER NUMBERS: FSU 22801-22817 and FSU 22901.
LSC Florida, Osceola County. Shingle Creek, 2 miles southwest of Kissimmee
on Route 92 and 17.
A. 27 April 1974. 1700-1800 EDT. 1 mile upstream from Route 17 bridge,
near railroad bridge. RWY 924. Quadrangle T25S, R29E, Sec. 31.
50-80 feet wide, 3 feet deep. Water brown,.turbid. Sluggish
current. Soft, gooey mud on bottom. Hyacinths along margins.
Shore, lawn and weedy banks. Partly cloudy. 15' seine.
VOUCHER NUMBERS: FSU 22679-22685.
B. 7 June 1974. 1145-1320 EDT. Half-mile upstream from Route 92 &
17. RWY 929. Quadrangle T25S, R29E, Sec. 32. 60-80 feet wide,
6 feet deep. Water slightly brown, moderately turbid. Flow 50
c.f.s. Sluggish current. Mud bottom with sand along edges. Small
amount of Eichhornia, blue-green algal bloom on surface above and
below station. Steep mud banks with cypress and oaks. Cloudy
7/10. Air 29�C. Water 26�C. Rotenone and dip nets.
VOUCHER NUMBERS: FSU 22776-22800.
BBS Florida, Osceola County. Blanket Bay Slough, approximately 1/2 mile
upstream from C-38, approximately 3 1/2 miles southeast of Route 60
(at Structure 65). Quadrangle T31S, R31E, Sec. 24. 20-45 feet wide,
3-4 feet deep. Water white, slightly turbid. No current. Soft,
slippery mud bottom. Eichhornia, Pontederia, Salvinia along edges of
slough. Grassy cow pasture.
A. 27 April 1974. RWY 922. 1115-1200 EDT. Clear. 151 seine.
VOUCHER NUMBERS: FSU 22646-22660.
B. 6 June 1974. RWY 926. 0900-1100 EDT. Clear. Air 28�C. Water
28�C. Rotenone, dipnets, and 2 block nets. 300 feet of slough
poisoned with 1 gallon of rotenone.
VOUCHER NUMBERS: FSU 22704-22729.
ICS Florida, Polk County. Ice Cream Slough, approximately 1 mile upstream
from C-38, about 4 1/2 miles south of Structure 65 on State Road 60.
Quadrangle T31S, R31E, Sec. 35. 10-30 feet wide, 5-6 feet deep. Mud,
clay bottom with rocky ledges and deep holes. Eichhornia, Pontederia,
Polygonum, Hydrocotyle, Cyperus, Eleocharis. Steep, weedy 10 foot
A. 27 April 1974.. RWY 923. 1230-1400 EDT. Clear. Water light brown
and clear. No flow. 15' seine, dip net.
VOUCHER NUMBERS: FSU 22661-22678.
B. 6 June 1974. RWY 927. 1230-1400 EDT. 6/10 cloudy. Air 30�C.
Water 300C. Water light brown and slightly turbid. Flow 10 c.f.s.
Slow current. Rotenone, dipnets, and blocknet. Poisoned 200 feet
of stream. 1 gallon of rotenone dumped constantly for about 20
minutes into upper end of poison station.
VOUCHER NUMBERS: FSU 22749-22775.
UTC Florida, Okeechobee County. Taylor Creek, 5.8 miles east of junction
of Routes 68 and 98, 5.0 miles west of junction of Routes 68 and 441,
11 miles northwest of Okeechobee. Quadrangle T35S, R34E, Sec. 26.
A. 26 April 1974. RWY 919. 1350-1430 EDT. Small canal-stream,
channelized some years ago, at bridge. 15-25 feet wide, 4 feet
deep. Water medium brown and-slightly turbid. No current. Sand,
mud bottom Typha, Lemna along edge, algae moderately thick. Cleared
grassy canal banks with some willow. Dip nets.
VOUCHER NUMBERS: FSU 22615-22621.
B. 10 June 1974. RWY 93.3. 1350-1500 EDT. Small 25 x 50 foot pool
below small concrete structure about 1/8 mile downstream from highway
bridge. 4 feet deep. Water white, slightly turbid. No current.
Mud bottom, paved at structure. Abundant Myriophyllum, Lemna,
Panicum, green algae along shore. Steep weedy banks with some
willow. Cloudy 9/10. Air 31�C. Water 28�C. Rotenone, dipnets,
and block net. Half gallon of rotenone spread by buckets.
VOUCHER NUMBERS: FSU 22882-22900.
Florida, Okeechobee County. Taylor Creek, about 4 miles north of
A. 26 April 1974. 1455-1555 EDT. Taylor Creek on U.S. 441, 3.7 miles
north of Okeechobee (junction of Routes 441 and 98). RWY 920. T36S,
R35E, Sec. 34. 30-40 feet wide, 5-6 feet deep. Flow 5-10'c.f.s.
Sluggish current. Lightly stained, clear water. Soft and hard
mud bottom. Maidencane, few hyacinths and Pistia, filamentous algae
abundant. Grassy canal banks. Partly cloudy 5/10. 15' seine.
VOUCHER NUMBERS: FSU 22622-22631 and FSU 22701.
B. 9 June 1974. 1200-1330 EDT. Taylor Creek, 0.3 miles south of
Cemetery Road, 4 miles north-northeast of Okeechobee. RWY 931.
T375, R35E, Sec. 3. 55-70 feet wide, 6 feet deep. No flow. White,
moderately turbid water. Mud bottom. Panicum, large masses of
floating green algae Oscillatoria ?. Grassy spoil banks. Cloudy
8/10. Water 31�C. 1 1/2 gallons rotenone applied along approximately
200 feet of shoreline. Most fishes collected from boat.
VOUCHER NUMBERS: FSU 22842-22862.
LTC Florida, Okeechobee County. Taylor Creek, near mouth.
A. 26 April 1974. RWY 921. 1700-1800 EDT. Taylor Creek, 200 yards
from entry into Lake Okeechobee, east shore. T37S, R35E, Sec. 35.
150 feet wide, 5 feet deep. Flow 100-300 c.f.s. Current slow.
Water white, clear. Sand and small rubble on bottom. Maidencane,
water lily, hyacinths, and Pistia on shore. Shore, sand and rock
banks, and roadway. Clear. 15' seine.
VOUCHER NUMBERS: FSU 22632-22645.
B. 10 June 1974. RWY 932. 0915-1115 EDT. Taylor Creek, approximately
2 miles upstream from Highway Bridge 441 and 98, above mouth, 1
mile southeast of town of Okeechobee. T37S, R35E, Sec. 27. 100-120
feet wide, 5 feet deep. No flow. Water slightly brown, moderately
turbid. Mud and muck bottom, little sand. Patches of water lily on
left shore. Few hyacinths. Shore, grassy pasture. Cloudy 5/10.
1 1/2 gallons of rotenone distributed along 200 feet of shore. Dip
nets. Two boats used in pick-up.
VOUCHER NUMBERS: FSU 22863-22881.
Appendix B. Amphibians and reptiles collected during Kissimmee-Okeechobee aquatic vertebrate survey.
Species USC MSC LSC BBS ICS UTC MTC LTC
Diemictylus viridescens piaropicola, peninsula newt
Siren lacertina, great siren
Acris gryllus dorsalis, Florida cricket frog
Hyla cinerea cinerea, green tree frog
Hyla crucifer bartramiana, southern spring peeper
Rana grylio, southern bullfrog
+ + +
Rana pipiens sphenocephala, southern leopard frog
Gastrophryne carolinensis carolinensis, eastern narrow-mouthed toad
Kinosternon bauri bauri, striped musk turtle
Pseudemys floridana peninsularis, peninsular turtle
Pseudemys nelsoni, Florida red-bellied turtle
Natrix cyclopion cyclopion, Florida green water snake
+ + + + +
Due Returned Due Returned
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