Aquatic vertebrate fauna of the Kissimmee River-Lake Okeechobee watershed


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Aquatic vertebrate fauna of the Kissimmee River-Lake Okeechobee watershed
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Yerger, Ralph W.
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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Front Matter
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
    Table of Contents
        Page iv
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Discussion of sampling methods
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Results and discussion
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
    Summary of conclusions
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Literature cited
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
    Back Cover
        Back Cover
Full Text

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1. "Effects of Backpumping from Agricultural
Drainage Canals on Water Quality in Lake
Okeechobee". Patrick L. Brezonik &
Anthony Federico.

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

Copies of
at a cost

this report may be obtained
of $3.00 each, prepaid,

Technical Library
Florida Department of
2562 Executive Center
Montgomery Building
Tallahassee, Florida


Circle, East








Ralph W. Yerger, Contractor

December, 1974


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
Diversity 14
Similarity s15

VI. Acknowledgments 16

VII. Literature Cited 17

VIII.Tables 21

IX. Figures 30

X. Appendices


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

and dipnets.

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

discussed later.

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.


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

data possible.

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

drastically reduced.

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.



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

26 respectively.

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

natural state.

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.



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. 1974. Commercial fishery on Lake Okeechobee, Florida. Quart. J.

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S.E. Assoc. Game and Fish Comm. 18: 230-238.

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in surveying small streams. Trans. Amer. Fish.Soc. 92: 307-310.

Briggs, J. C. 1958. A list of. Florida fishes and their distribution. Bull.

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Moapa River in Clark Co., Nevada. Trans. Amer. Fish.Soc. 101: 408-419.

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Kissimmee River revisited. In Depth Report, Central and South Florida

Flood Control District 2(2): 1-12.

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Reviews 34: 221-242.


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decimated segments in the headwaters of two streams. Trans. Amer. Fish.

Soc. 98: 305-308.

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(eds. E. Schneberger and J. L. Funk). North Central Div., Amer. Fish. Soc.

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biofacies of a small stream. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 103: 457-461.

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large river system. Arch. Hydrobiol. 72: 245-252.

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Biological assessment of water quality in a large river system: an evaluation

of a method for fishes. 35 p. Manuscript.

Horn, H. S. 1966. Measurement of "overlap" in comparative ecological studies.

Amer. Nat. 100: 419-423.

Huck, L. L. and G. E. Gunning. 1967. Behavior of longer sunfish, Lepomis

megalotis (Rafinesque). Tulane Stud. Zool. 14: 121-131.

Jaccard, P. 1902. Lois de distribution florale dans la zone alpine. Bull.

Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 38: 69-130.

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inhabiting oxygen deficient waters. Copeia 1970 (2): 319-326.

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component of species diversity. J. Animal Ecology 33: 217-225.


Morisita, M. 1959. Measuring of interspecific association and similarity.

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Fish. Soc. 94: 9-25.

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Table 1. List of species, numbers of individuals, and Shannon-Weaver indices

with .95 confidence intervals for each station.




1. Lepisosteus platyrhincus

22 3

- 1

2 1 43


2. Amia calva

- 1

- 1 1


3. Dorosoma cepedianum

4. Dorosoma petenense

- 1 25

- - 80

- - 537 117

- - 285


SS. Esox americanus

6. Esox niger

- a

1 1


7. Notemigonus crysoleucas

8. Notropis chalybeus

9. Notropis emiliae

10. Notropis maculatus

11. Notropis petersoni


57 410

- 410 269

33 222

2 81

1 2

- - - a - -

- 3. -

-- - 2

5 57 6 1 15



12. Erimyzon sucetta

Table 1 (continued)




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 7

2 - - 3

- - - 17

- 5

- 5 -

- - - - - 1

. 1 51


- 1

- - 3 1

- 86

- - - .- - 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









15 58

13 253

- 32 11

3 16 1

10 1

- - 1


Table 1 (continued)




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)



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.

Scientific Name


1. Lepisosteus platyrhincus


2. Amia calva

Common Names


'Florida gar, Florida spotted gar


bowfin, mudfish, dogfish, cottonfish, grindel


Dorosoma cepedianum

D. petenense


Esox americanus

E. niger


Notemigonus crysoleucas

Notropis chalybeus

N. emiliae

N. maculatus

N. petersoni


13. Erimyzon sucetta


gizzard shad

threadfin shad


redfin pickerel, grass pickerel

chain pickerel, jackfish, jack


golden shiner

ironcolor shiner

pugnose minnow

tailight shiner

coastal shiner


lake chubsucker






Table 2 (continued)

Scientific Name


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

Common Names


white catfish

yellow bullhead, butterball

brown bullhead

channel catfish

tadpole madtom


pirate perch.


Atlantic needlefish


golden topminnow

banded topminnow

Seminole killifish


bluefin killifish



least killifish

sailfin molly

27 .

Table 2 (continued)

Scientific Name


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.

Common Names


brook silverside

-tidewater silverside


Everglades pygmy sunfish

bluespotted sunfish

redbreast sunfish, river bream


bluegill, bream

dollar sunfish

redear sunfish, shellcracker

spotted sunfish, stumpknocker

largemouth bass

black crappie, speckled perdh, chinkapin bream


swamp darter

blackbanded darter


mullet, lisa

Table 3. Cx values for the collections.

A. Information for each station

Station Total N AX S

















B. Comparison of stations



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.

Station BBS










.Total Species








B. Sj between stations



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

P is

ITaf -Vineland Rd

* .-j

*- -


Figure 1. Collection stations on Shingle Creek.

I ile

W. Lake

La ke

I mile

Figure 2. Collection stations on Blanket Bay and Ice Cream Sloughs.

Figure 3.


Collection stations on Taylor Creek.


U -- U U I U U


Figure 4.

Shannon-4eaver species diversity indices per station.
I = .95 Confidence Interval.



Appendix A

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Appendix B. Amphibians and reptiles collected during Kissimmee-Okeechobee aquatic vertebrate survey.




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

+ + + + +

Date Due
Due Returned Due Returned
z z l
APR2 0199 AR 1 51992
APl A lPR 151--
JAPR_ 2 9 1"? APRP 15 1992
120 1 I
lllpjft AP---
MAY 0 7 19 9 APR 0 5L 99
la- 11 -Zoo!1
llIj ^i l

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