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KEA: Speaker Series–Protecting Cutthroat Trout

KEA: Speaker Series--Protecting Cutthroat Trout

Join fellow concerned citizens to learn from Scott Struhs about the importance of protecting the cutthroat trout population in our region:  Timber Harvest Mitigation of Salmonid Habitat in Northern Idaho

Salmonids, for our purpose westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi), have evolved with the major landscape altering events, i.e. Missoula and Bonneville floods, Yellowstone Hot Spot, glaciation etc., and minor stochastic effects such as localized microburst rainstorm, drought, fire, anchor ice.  Each event can be devastating to single population of fish in a single watershed, and if viewed as a whole, the effect on the species was minimal.

However, using the forests of the Pacific Northwest for lumber, precious metals, and development alter the natural regimes of watershed stochastity and affects the sensitive life stages of cutthroat trout (O. clarkii).  In particular, logging and transportation can have catastrophic effects on embryonic and juvenile life stages of cutthroat trout.  Logging and transportation increase the drainage of a watershed and thus changing the hydrologic conditions of that watershed.  The hydrograph shifts earlier in the year and higher than normal discharges in the spring with lower than normal discharges in the summer and fall.  The new discharge regime causes a widening and shallowing of specific stream features.  The widening of the channel delivers sediment into the channel filling in stream channel substrate and filling in pools.  The rocks and gravels in the stream channel provide the necessary condition for egg incubation and the pools provide the rearing areas required by juvenile salmonids.

So what? Timber sales and other forest land management activities require public involvement either through written comments, public meetings, or public tours.  The focus of this presentation will be about a basic understanding of watershed definitions, how to improve comments on activities, relationships with resource managers, how to identify mitigation measured that can be used to offset the effects of a timber sale and subsequent transportation disturbances to the watersheds in the Coeur D’Alene region.

 

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