Conservation Update: November 2019

By Dave Keane

Last month, I attended a presentation that was put on by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Freshwater Fisheries section. The topic was Brook Trout Conservation. DNR recently completed a five year Brook Trout Assessment and is developing a Strategic Conservation Plan. The Strategic Plan consists of a three prong approach:

  • Resiliency — focusing on maintaining the most resilient “stronghold” brook trout populations and habitat across Maryland.
  • Protection — protecting brook trout resources through cold water regulations, plan review and resource protection.
  • Restoration — restoring degraded streams and watersheds that would allow brook trout to be re-introduced.

The Fisheries section has documented declines in brook trout populations across the state. Threats include changes in land use that have resulted from population growth, urbanization, and poor agricultural practices. Increased water temperatures and turbidity, acid mine drainage, and loss of riparian buffers are issues that are negatively affecting our brook trout.

Fisheries staff is using spatial data, aerial imagery, and data layers to identify potential focus areas to protect and restore as part of the strategic conservation plan.

The Maryland DNR has developed a draft plan to bring together state, federal, and local governments as well as nonprofits and various NGOs to collectively address the decline in brook trout. PVFF is eager to assist with the implementation of the Strategic Plan and restoration projects moving forward. Stay tuned for more information.

On another note, the fight still continues to save Bristol Bay. Check out this video and article on this important watershed: