Restoration versus invasive species: bigheaded carps' use of a rehabilitated backwater.
Knowledge of how invasive species use invaded habitats can aid in developing management practices to exclude them. Swan Lake, a 1100-ha Illinois River (USA) backwater, was rehabilitated to restore ecosystem functions, but may provide valuable habitat for invasive bigheaded carps [bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis) and silver carp (H. molitrix)]. Use (residency and passages) of Swan Lake by invasive bigheaded carps was monitored using acoustic telemetry (n=50 individuals/species) to evaluate the use of a large, restored habitat from 2004 to 2005. Passages (entrances/exits) by bigheaded carps were highest in winter, and residency was highest in the summer. Bighead carp backwater use was associated with the differences in temperature between the main channel and backwater, and passages primarily occurred between 18:00h and midnight. Silver carp backwater use was positively correlated with water level and main channel discharge, and fewer passages occurred between 12:00h and 18:00h than during any other time of day. Harvest occurring during summer or high main channel discharge could reduce backwater abundances while maintenance of low water levels could reduce overall backwater use. Conclusions from this study regarding the timing of bigheaded carps' use of backwater habitats are critical to integrated pest management plans to control invasive species.