Heritage Brook Trout

silverfox

silverfox

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I saw that 8% figure that you referenced. Believe that and perhaps I can sell you some swamp land too.
That's the sentiment that probably explains why we don't have any significant brook trout specific restoration efforts that I'm aware of.

Meanwhile, other states in the EBT native range are rotenoning miles of stream and reintroducing brook trout, manually removing BT, have restoration hatcheries to reintroduce brook trout to restored watersheds, have mandatory angler removal of BT, have regional or statewide angling regulations requiring C&R for brook trout, and are in general, at least trying to achieve the goal. In some cases without having any connection to the bay.
 
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troutbert

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troutbert, et al,
Starting from square one, what would be the definition of “populations” in the following phrase…end stocking on those sections with native brook trout populations? Note: if proponents are talking about extremely low densities of wild ST for example, I don’t see that as being viewed as being very pragmatic. Why is that important? Because such an all or none approach would sacrifice the streams that would have a better chance of being removed if the request was more pragmatic. It’s called negotiating.

It's a good question. What "cut off" would you suggest?
 
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Mike

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I'm sorry, but that makes no sense at all. Why are the options "sympatric or no trout"? If it's sympatric then it already has and can support brook trout?

Are you suggesting that we introduce brown trout as soon as we restore a water to a high enough quality that it can support brown trout and just stop there? That the target for temperature and habitat restoration is brown trout and not brook trout?


That's assuming the biomass calculations accurately reflect the actual current "populations" throughout an entire 12-month timespan. I personally think a regional approach like MD (and NJ) implemented makes sense. That is to establish zones of importance for the species and manage based on prioritizing the species in those regions.

What you're suggesting is that people should just accept that we've established a human constructed imaginary line in the sand based on a biomass assessment that may only be accurate seasonally where we favor stocked trout or other nonnative speices over brook trout. That I should just be ok with some level throwing our state fish under the bus? I'm not ok with that, and that's not a lack of pragmatism, it's principals.

We're already prioritizing nonnative fish all over the state. If the water can support brook trout, then it should be managed for brook trout alone.
You’re right. I meant to say allopatric Brown Trout. I’ll take that anytime over no trout and as most streams improve with respect to substrate and temperature, Brown Trout are usually the first Pa wild trout for which they become suitable. Wild populations from upstream or elsewhere in the basin, or reproduction by holdover stocked fish provide the “feed stock” for reproduction. Exceptions to that generality occur in mining recovery and acid precip recovery situations.
 
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Mike

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“That's the sentiment that probably explains why we don't have any significant brook trout specific restoration efforts that I'm aware of.”

You’re probably not aware of such efforts, or at least some of them, because the biologists I know who are practicing in the broad approachs to fisheries management, habitat improvement, permit review (including formulation and application of project mitigation), dam removal and other passage problems are more interested in getting their jobs done by improving fisheries resources than broadcasting their efforts. In SE Pa alone, which is not exactly a ST hot spot, there have been multiple efforts with varied degrees of PFBC involvement depending upon the circumstances to restore ST or enhance water quality for sympatric and allopatric ST. Some are on-going. In the recent past to the more distant past efforts of various types took a headwaters section of stream from no trout to a Class A ST and another from a Class D stretch of ST water to Class A. If such efforts were and are occurring in SE Pa, similar things were and are probably occurring elsewhere.

On another topic, I would caution those who would perhaps be quick to solely blame BT for the extirpation of former ST populations without knowing a stream’s history. One very good ST population in Bucks Co was lost to sedimentation and then replaced by BT that were more tolerant of the terrible conditions. In fact, when I first surveyed the population of ST it was hard to believe that they were reproducing in that stream. Silt, not sand, was about a half inch to an inch deep and there was a pond discharging directly into the sampling site. It was the most sediment laden ST stream that I had ever seen. That observation wasn’t far off as the next time the stream was surveyed decades later the ST were gone and replaced by BT. It would be a fair assumption that the silt got the best of them.
 
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silverfox

silverfox

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“That's the sentiment that probably explains why we don't have any significant brook trout specific restoration efforts that I'm aware of.

You’re probably not aware of such efforts because the biologists I know who are practicing in the broad approachs to fisheries management, habitat improvement, permit review (including formulation and application of project mitigation), dam removal and other passage problems are more interested in getting their jobs done by improving fisheries resources than broadcasting their efforts. In SE Pa alone, which is not exactly a ST hot spot, there have been multiple efforts with varied degrees of PFBC involvement depending upon the circumstances to restore ST or enhance water quality for sympatric and allopatric ST. Some are on-going. In the recent past to the more distant past efforts of various types took a headwaters section of stream from no trout to a Class A ST and another from a Class D stretch of ST water to Class A. You’re right; you probably never heard of any of these, but if they were and are occurring in SE Pa, similar things were and are probably occurring elsewhere.

On another topic, I would caution those who would perhaps be quick to solely blame BT for the extirpation of former ST populations without knowing a stream’s history. One very good ST population in Bucks Co was lost to sedimentation and then replaced by BT that were more tolerant of the terrible conditions. In fact, when I first surveyed the population of ST it was hard to believe that they were reproducing in that stream. Silt, not sand, was about a half inch to an inch deep and there was a pond discharging directly into the sampling site. It was the most sediment laden ST stream that I had ever seen. That observation wasn’t far off as the next time the stream was surveyed decades later the ST were gone and replaced by BT.
I wouldn't expect that public outreach, education, and marketing would fall under the job description of the people carrying out the restoration work or even those responsible for directing the work. I can say as a member of the public who is keenly interested in any such efforts if it's this difficult to find any mention or even admission of any such work then whoever is responsible for relaying important information to the public could do a better job. Believe me, I could be swayed to be an effective cheerleader for any such efforts if I knew they existed.

I'm not claiming as a rule that in every case BT are responsible for the extirpation of ST. However, I've read enough papers on the subject to know that it happens and is absolutely possible. Possibly more often than not. There's a reason the range-wide assessment listed "nonnative fish" AND "brown trout" (specifically) as "threats". Downplaying that potential is reckless in my opinion. Suggesting that the species simply "coexist" and there's no harm is as wrongheaded as claiming that they displace brook trout in every instance.

If that stream you mentioned with the siltation issues had "a very good ST population", was there any effort to correct the habitat issues and restore it to a "very good ST population"? Or did we just write it off as a loss, thank the stars we have wild BT now, and move on (sure seems indicative of the across-the-board approach)? So are you saying that BT are uniquely suited to spawn in silt whereas ST aren't? Is this the claimed reason there are no ST in the Letort for example? That's surprising to me since brook trout are so successful at spawning in ponds.
 
silverfox

silverfox

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The unassessed waters project has been re prioritized repeatedly, the vast majority of the obvious trout strongholds have more or less been documented. There is ample information available about this program and clearly it is used to determine presence/absence of a wild trout population. If survey results indicate a strong population that may reach class A the Class A survey must be done by PFBC staff following the appropriate protocols and survey length.

Think about how many unassessed streams not stream sections there were just a decade ago... Now that sample to document the presence of a wild trout population isn't enough and you want every inch of every stream surveyed?

Edna can be a valuable tool, but even if it would detect presence of trout a follow up survey to electrofish would be needed to actually document the trout population so that the stream can be properly designated. It does not take a well coordinated crew much longer to conduct an unassessed survey than it does to collect and filter an Edna sample. Plus you do not have to wait for sample processing and results.
Here's the video where VA discusses the use of eDNA + electrofishing.

 
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