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Warm water stream fish assemblages (2005) and habitat variables (2004 and 2005) were examined from May to September at 108 sites in the Tonawanda and Johnson Creek Watersheds of Western New York. Seventy species and > 27,500 fishes were identified; ~98% were from Families Cyprinidae, Centrarchidae, Catostomidae and Percidae. Data were analyzed at 16 spatial scales using best subsets and backward stepwise multiple linear regression to explore associations between individual fish species ≥9% of total catch and fish assemblage variables [catch per unit effort (CPUE), species richness, Simpson’s diversity] with six habitat variables (pool type, maximum depth, substrate size, instream wood, bank cover, aquatic vegetation). CPUE was the only fish assemblage variable related to habitat variables, especially aquatic vegetation and pool type. Only two species (johnny darter, Etheostoma nigrum; round goby, Neogobius melanostomus) were significantly associated with habitat variables. The results reflected inherent difficulties understanding the complexities of habitat use by warm water stream fishes and their assemblages and how to manage them on a broad scale.


We thank Douglas M. Carlson (NYSDEC) for encouragement, advice, sharing of knowledge and editing. Ross Abbett gave extraordinary assistance in the field and laboratory. Hilary Richardson, Patrick Herbert, Coral Reina, Yorr Marchione, William Guenther, Crystal Kerr, Charles Mangan, Michael Koch, Brendan Farrell, Caleb Snyder, Linda Driscoll, Paul Wiedenmeyer, Nicholas Herbert, Todd Barton, Tracie Wells, Jordin Kelly, Cheryl Scott, Jevon Scott, Michael Wells, Christopher Wells, Thomas Kowaleski, Eric Kowaleski, Fenton Caster and Catherine Wells-Kelly provided assistance in the field. Thomas Bedard, Christopher Van Maaren and Robert D'Argenio (NYSDEC Region 6); Michael Wilkinson (NYSDEC Region 9) and Webster Pearsall (NYSDEC Region 8); Jason Becker (Michigan DPR) and Thomas Goniea (Michigan DNR); Michael Goehle, Michael Weimer, Elizabeth Trometer and Emily Zollweg (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service); and William Snyder (SUNY Morrisville) provided additional advice and assistance. Special thanks go to the Tonawanda-Seneca Nation for allowing access to tribal lands, and for survey assistance

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Wells S.M., Haynes J.M., Fish-habitat relationships in the Tonawanda and Johnson Creek Watersheds of Western New York State, USA. JENE. Vol.5(12), pp. 396-406, December 2013.

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