Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: West Virginia
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

West Virginia Project

Modeling effects on Brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) distribution in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

May 2010 - December 2012


Participating Agencies

  • Great Lakes Science Center

Brook trout provide important recreational fisheries in small, cold-water streams throughout eastern North America. However, brook trout have declined dramatically across their range, including within the Delaware Water Gap (DEWA), and are predicted to decline further due to projected water temperature effects of climate change. To understand how brook trout distributions will change in response to climate change, research is needed to examine brook trout distributions, spatial and temporal variation in water temperatures, and barriers to brook trout movement. Goals and research objectives of this research are as follows: A. Project goal � the overall goal of this research is to examine the relationship among brook trout habitat, physical barriers to brook trout movement, and brook trout occurrence models. Our approach would produce maps of potential and actual brook trout streams, and would yield new insights about the interactive effects of key stressors in limiting brook trout distributions. B. Research objectives 1. We will assess and map habitat for brook trout in DEWA based on assessment of stream temperature, stream size (order), and landscape variables including forest cover, geology, landform, location of impoundments, and location of dispersal barriers (waterfalls, culverts). 2. We will use statistical analyses to model and assess stream temperature and other environmental attributes of stream reaches within DEWA.