From 2003 to 2012, we surveyed the fishes of Lick Fork, a Blackside Dace (Chrosomus cumberlandensis) stream in Bell County, KY The downstream half of Lick Fork flows through a subdivision, where it is interrupted by a perched culvert that restricts the movement of fishes within Lick Fork. The fish faunas and abundance of Blackside Dace upstream and downstream of the culvert were strikingly different. Downstream of the culvert, the fish fauna was species-rich (9–13 species), KIBI scores were high (48–56, considered “Good” to “Excellent”), and Blackside Dace were common. In contrast, upstream of the culvert Blackside Dace were rare, only two species—Semotilus atromaculatus (Creek Chub) and Rhinichthys atratulus (Blacknose Dace)—were found in abundance, and KIBI scores were lower (33–48, considered “Fair” to “Good”). Comparison with historical collections (1994) revealed declines or extirpations of some fishes (Chrosomus and Etheostoma) upstream of the culvert. The striking difference in the upstream and downstream faunas and the decline of some fish species, including Blackside Dace, is likely due to upstream extirpations from droughts or other stochastic events, coupled with the inability to recolonize from downstream populations because of the culvert barrier. This conclusion suggests that bridge and culvert design and placement are important considerations in management of Blackside Dace streams, as they can have a significant effect on community composition and fish movement.
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Vol. 12 • No. sp4