Tag Archives: habitats

River, Wetland and Habitat Restoration – First Do No Harm

THI.DoNoHarmAD.2013(F)It is one of the precepts all students are taught in medical school. It reminds a physician that he or she must always consider the possible harm any intervention might cause. It also applies quite accurately to the process of restoring rivers, wetlands and uplands. The very act of “restoring” any resource or habitat implies that you do no harm.

Our natural environment plays host to an immense variety of species, many of them microscopic. Whether reducing excessive erosion or enhancing habitat for fish, we not only tread lightly on the delicate ecosystems that exist, we strive to protect and enhance it.  >Learn More about EcoBlu!

My Top Ten Water Wishes 2015

PaintingWater news and alerts continued to receive notice throughout 2014. Severe drought as well as dramatic flooding again topped U.S. headlines. My personal Top Water Wishes for the New Year include a quick look back at some of the important water stories that streamed through our offices this past year.

  1. Wishing for increased understanding of the vital, intrinsic relationships between our economy and ecology. >More http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/secretary-jewell-discusses-path-for-both-economy-and-ecology/
  1. Wishing the real price tag for nature’s defenses was better understood. >More http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/what-is-the-price-tag-for-natures-defenses/
  1. Wishing that governments and policy-makers recognize some of the many values and opportunities of public-private partnerships and refocus efforts to restore our water resources. >More http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/service-and-conservation-corps-will-soon-add-waders-in-the-water/
  1. Wishing environmental data be better leveraged for business, government and non-profits. >More http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/benefits-of-big-data-for-environmental-management/
  1. Wishing that we respect how precious our water resources are to all life and all development.>More http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/10-cities-that-could-run-out-of-water/
  1. Wishing for more consistent implementation of Clean Water standards across the U.S. >More http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/wyoming-finalizes-its-first-stream-mitigation-procedure/
  1. Wishing that invasive and damaging strategies for species ‘restoration’ will be abolished. >More http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/rotenone-1952-called-and-wants-its-fisheries-management-strategy-back/
  1. Wishing that we can stem the steady tide of wetland losses. >More http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/wetland-losses-go-on-and-on/
  1. Wishing that we will undam the nation’s longest undammed river. >More http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/the-yellowstone-river-still-the-longest-undammed-river-in-the-lower-48/
  1. Wishing that we will all spend more time near water! >More http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/science-shows-being-near-water-makes-you-happier-healthier-more-connected/

FlyTalk Asks ‘Why Not Quality Trout Management?’

Kirk Deeter recently asks “Why Not More ‘Quality Trout Management?’” on the blog FlyTalk http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/flytalk. “Trout anglers can learn a lot from deer hunters, and bird hunters. At least they should when it comes to managing fisheries. I think we’re all starting to wake up to the fact that, in certain places, hatcheries, and hatchery fish, do more harm than good,” he notes.

For nearly twenty years, Trout Headwaters and its clients have focused considerable energy and investment on trout habitat restoration. Our work has been to restore cold water habitats across the U.S., increasing biodiversity and restoring ecological function. Over this time unfortunately we have been witness to lots of invasive management and restoration techniques which damaged stream and wetlands systems, including inappropriate hatchery stockings. Some of these damaging so-called “restoration” projects were simply accidents or catastrophes (depending on scale) others have been part of some accepted ill-informed management strategy. See “Rotenone? 1952 Called and Wants Its Fisheries Management Strategy Back” for a pertinent example.

Read the full post Why Not More ‘Quality Trout Management?’

My Top Water Wishes for 2014

THIProjectSite2013Water alerts continued to receive notice throughout 2013. Both drought and flooding again topped the nation’s headlines. 

My Top Water Wishes for the New Year include a quick look back at some of the important water stories that streamed our network this past year.

Top Ten Water Wishes for 2014:

#10: Wishing that our nation recognize the growing importance of water to our economy. http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/two-reports-reinforce-link-between-environment-and-economy/

#9: Wishing that extreme and invasive strategies to resource management be shelved. http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/rotenone-1952-called-and-wants-its-fisheries-management-strategy-back/

#8: Wishing that we harness green infrastructure – not pour more concrete. http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/why-we-must-harness-green-infrastructure-not-concrete-to-secure-clean-water/

#7: Wishing that stream, river and wetland restoration efforts consider practical and low­-cost  approaches.  http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/the-johnny-willowseed-approach-to-stream-restoration-is-both-practical-and-low-cost/

#6: Wishing that solid economic analysis be applied to the environmental impacts we are creating in our pursuit of progress (insuring our respect and reinvestment in the basic ecosystem services which provide us life)  http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/none-of-the-worlds-top-industries-would-be-profitable-if-they-paid-for-the-natural-capital-they-use/

#5: Wishing that the U.S. continue to increase transparency and available public information relating to implementation of its environmental programs. http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/obama-directs-agencies-to-make-more-data-public/

#4: Wishing that we work together to restore more resilient landscapes in response to increased frequency and intensity of storm events. http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/the-science-behind-colorados-catastrophic-floods/

#3: Wishing that our cities may become more like forests. http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/how-a-city-can-be-more-like-a-forest/

#2: Wishing that policy makers, land owners and resource managers respect the importance of conserving small streams. http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/study-focus-on-smaller-streams-can-save-big-river-fish/


#1: Wishing that all water users will increase their conservation efforts so that healthy flows may be returned to our rivers. http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/how-to-keep-trout-streams-cool-in-a-warming-climate/

Researchers: Trout Habitats to Suffer Significant Decline by 2080

Predictions note that trout habitat likely will be slashed in half due to climate change by the year 2080, according to a recent study, with native cutthroat trout expected to see the most severe decline. The study, published in the science journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also predicts a decline in introduced brook trout populations by as much as 77 percent, while rainbow and brown trout populations could also decline by an estimated 35 percent and 48 percent, respectively.
Read more: http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/article_57d0ed50-ac5a-574f-ab8e-10cc3dc2bead.html#ixzz1WR7ejE9x

Through a Fish’s Eye – National Habitat Map and Data Tool

The recent release of a report on the status of fish habitats in the United States titled THROUGH A FISH’S EYE: The Status of Fish Habitats In The United States 2010 is accompanied by the release of a map viewer, which offers the maps that are in the report in greater detail.  The National Fish Habitat Action Plan map and data web tool was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey’s Biological Informatics Program under guidance of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan Science and Data Committee. This tool not only enables users to see multiple views depicting the condition of stream and coastal habitats across the country, but also means that users can access more detailed information at finer scales, as well as the option to download data files and map services.  >More

Status of Fish Habitats in the United States – Report for U.S. Waters

The National Fish Habitat Board ( www.fishhabitat.org ) has released a status of fish habitats in the United States report titled THROUGH A FISH’S EYE: The Status of Fish Habitats In The United States 2010.  The first of its kind to synthesize information on a national level, the goal of the national assessment was to estimate disturbance levels to fish habitats in rivers and estuaries from information about human activities occurring in the watersheds and the local areas affecting each aquatic habitat. 

The report reveals that overall, 27 percent of the miles of stream in the lower 48 states are at high or very high risk of current habitat degradation and an additional 29 percent are at moderate risk of current habitat degradation.

To read the report in its entirety or download a PDF, visit www.fishhabitat.org or  go to http://fishhabitat.org/images/documents/fishhabitatreport_012611.pdf to view the PDF.

What Should Be Done to Restore Native Species?

Over the past year, visitors to the EcoBlu blog have been reading about the “Native Fish Restoration” projects ongoing in Montana and elsewhere.  These controversial projects involve clear-cutting the aquatic ecosystem with poison and then restocking with a fish monoculture.  Increasingly, government agencies and conservation groups are promoting the 60-year-old practice as necessary to avoid species extinction at the hands of so-called “invasive” or  “non-native” fish.

It is widely known that habitat destruction is the single greatest factor contributing to the current global species extinction problem (Pimm & Raven, 2000, pp. 843-845), NOT threats by invasive species Habitat loss is due to growth of human populations including increased impacts resulting from agriculture and development.

Habitat destruction isthe process in which natural habitat is rendered functionally unable to support the species present. In this process, the organisms which previously used the site are displaced or destroyed, reducing biodiversity.”  If this sounds like a description for many ”native fish restoration” management plans,  it is.

The crude and outdated technique of poisoning waterways and stocking fish from hatcheries further damages these critical at-risk native habitats.  And while the technical simplicity of these “native fish restoration plans” may appear initially attractive, the poisoning/stocking efforts do not reduce habitat loss, do not reduce habitat damage, and do not diminish habitat fragmentation.

Clearly, our priority should be to do what was recommended by scientists writing in the Journal of Wildlife Management in 1997:  “Conservation efforts should be aimed foremost at stopping habitat loss and at habitat restoration.”  This solid and implementable native species conservation recommendation promotes biodiversity (and ecosystem integrity, resiliency and stability) ultimately helping to prevent extinctions.

Planning for Effective Wetland Enhancement and Management

Effective wetland enhancement and management requires an understanding of the interrelationships among habitats and resources needed by wetland wildlife to survive and reproduce. Optimizing value and use of wetlands is possible only if wetland structure and function is integrated with knowledge of habitat requirements and life-cycle events of wildlife.

A successfully managed wetland contains foods and cover of the type, quality and distribution that are the same, or functionally similar, to those found in natural, unmanaged wetlands. Creation, enhancement and management of wetlands should aim to provide resources that meet the physiological and behavioral needs of wildlife and emphasize the creation or restoration of natural wetland functions.

The capability of flight allows ducks and geese to exploit a variety of habitats in close proximity. Dabbling ducks use wetlands within an 8-mile radius to meet daily nutritional and physiological requirements. For this reason, providing a complex of different wetland types in a localized area often increases the overall diversity and density of waterfowl species. Wetlands are highly dynamic systems. The productivity and use of wetlands varies among years as well. Therefore, consistent, maximum use or production from any wetland every year should not be expected. The goal is to develop a healthy functioning wetland complex that provides the necessary habitat components to encourage waterfowl use.  Request Free Report