Ram River Bull Trout Assessment
Bull trout is a native sport species classed as Threatened in Alberta and is particularly sensitive to habitat change. A government-led initiative, the North-Central Native Trout (NCNT) program was implemented in 2017 to recover native trout and whitefish in the central and northern east slopes of Alberta. The program involves implementation of recovery actions (e.g., trail remediation/closure, implementing industry best-management practices, suppression of nonnative species) in an adaptive management framework. Success of this program will be measured using Alberta Environment and Park’s Fish Sustainability Index (FSI). The FSI is a standardized process of assessment that provides a landscape-level overview of fish sustainability within the province and enables broad-scale evaluation of management actions and land-use planning. In the summer and fall of 2019, we used a combination of backpack electrofishing, redd surveys, and underwater video recording to assess the bull trout population in the lower Ram River watershed. Our sample frame for backpack electrofishing included 12 randomly selected sites, where we detected fish at five of the 12 sites, catching eight different species. We captured 25 bull trout electrofishing, 20 of which were captured at a single site on an unnamed tributary to the Ram River. We counted 76 bull trout redds on a survey of a 3.5 km reach of Fall Creek. We also tested a solar-powered underwater video recording system for monitoring the bull trout spawning run in Fall Creek, obtaining over 36 days of footage during the bull trout spawning migration. Our study provides land-use managers with information on fish species distribution and abundance necessary to minimize land-use impacts on fish, evaluate bull trout status, and otherwise balance the diverse values of the Ram River watershed.
Alberta Environment and Parks, Tom Wiseman, Sundre Forest Products – A Division of West Fraser Mills Ltd.
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|Ram River Bull Trout Assessment||2018-2019||1|
|Ram River Bull Trout Assessment||2019-2020||1|