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Gravel Augmentation at Spawning Habitats in the Oconee and Ogeechee Rivers of Georgia

The robust redhorse (Moxostoma robustum), a species that had been lost to science for about 150 years, was discovered on the Oconee River in 1991. Wild populations subsequently found in the Savannah River (Georgia/South Carolina) and Pee Dee River (North Carolina) have been augmented by stocking in other areas of Georgia and South Carolina. The species is very particular about the water quality and depth as well as the gravel quality of its spawning sites. To encourage propagation of this native species, the Robust Redhorse Conservation Committee coordinates activities in several southeastern states. The gravel augmentation is expected to benefit invertebrates, including mussels, as well as anadromous species such as striped bass, American shad, and Atlantic sturgeon.

Partner(s): Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Oconee River Projects - Washington County, GA

Description of Site:

  • Phase I was within the Oconee River channel about 200 yards above the existing spawning site to increase spawning habitat.
  • Phase II within the river channel at several points close to Dublin, GA. Although not used for spawning, this area has characteristics of suitable spawning habitat but lacks the amount and quality of gravel necessary to attract spawning fish.


  • Since rediscovery, the population has been declining and the Robust Redhorse Conservation Committee was established to conserve this native species. More information at

    Natural gravel distribution during Phase I.



  • Phase I: 75 tons of gravel were placed in the channel, allowing natural processes to extend existing spawning site.
  • Phase II: Almost 1,000 tons of gravel are distributed into the channel by barge loads with a high pressure water pump. Gravel is contoured to develop characteristic spawning riffles

Annual electrofishing is being used to monitor usage. Seasonal movements of radio-tagged robust redhorse fishes will be evaluated.

Contact Info

Simulated spawning habitat created in Phase II.

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