Yazoo Darter Road Crossing Evaluation

Greg Easson, Hal Robinson and Thomas Bracket
The University of Mississippi Geoinformatics Center

Goals

To analyze the barriers and pathways to the migration and movement of the Yazoo Darter in a portion of its ecosystem in northern Mississippi.

Summary

The ability of the Yazoo Darter to migrate and move through its habitats in northern Mississippi is both impeded and enhanced by the presence of culverts and other drainage structures that allow road crossings. It is important to determine which drainage features impede the movement of the organisms. This project will use geospatial analysis techniques to determine the location of existing drainage structures. Once this preliminary dataset is created, these sites will be visited to determine whether the structures impede or promote movement. In addition, the locations of additional drainage structures will be mapped, a coordinate location obtained through Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) systems.

The initial study area focused on a portion of the Yazoo Darter range in Lafayette and Marshall Counties. The initial focus was used to test the methodologies and analysis techniques before proceeding to the larger complete habitat of the Yazoo Darter.

Figure 1: Initial Study Area – Lafayette County MS

Figure 1: Initial Study Area – Lafayette County MS

The current study area encompasses the expanded area of interest covering the parts of counties including Lafayette, Marshall, Benton and Union as defined by species distribution identified by Thompson and Muncy, 1985.

Expected Outcomes

This project will map and evaluate the potential of road drainage structures serving as impediments or migration barriers for the Yazoo Darter fish species in Northern Mississippi.

  • Map the locations of bridges, culverts, pipes, crossing along paved and unpaved roads.
  • Determine if the crossing structures are fish passage barrier for the species.
  • GIS overlay this with the range/watersheds of the species historical coverage with other available data.
  • Maps and data set will be produced.

Example Obstructions

Figure 2: Concrete box culvert with 8-12 inch pour off and riprap erosion control. Significant obstruction to fish passage.

Figure 2: Concrete box culvert with 8-12" pour off and riprap erosion control. Significant obstruction to fish passage.

Figure 3: Beaver Dam at road crossing. Some obstruction but easily remedied.

Figure 3: Beaver Dam at road crossing. Some obstruction but easily remedied.



Collaborators

United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)



Contact Information

For more information, please contact Greg Easson
E-mail: UMGC@olemiss.edu
Phone: +1 (662) 915-7320
www.mmri.olemiss.edu