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

Pennsylvania Project

The use of riparian buffer best management practices to reduce thermal stress on trout populations

October 2023 - September 2025


Participating Agencies

  • Penn State University, College of Ag

Riparian buffers are one of several best management practices used as part of watershed management plans developed for improving stream habitat for cold-water species of fish, including recreationally important trout. However, how riparian buffer development over time affects trout population viability is understudied. Critically, individual trout health has received almost no attention due to the lack of effective assessment tools. This study will assess thermal stress of trout living in streams with different age riparian buffers. To accomplish this, we will use a cutting-edge technique that involves quantifying the level of expression of thousands of genes. This research will help inform the effectiveness of riparian buffers at reducing thermal stress in trout populations.