Effects of clear-cut and timber-stand improvement (TSI) harvests on water chemistry and mortality of caged brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) were evaluated in a study of three Catskill Mountain streams, 1994-2000. Harvests removed 73% of tree basal area (BA) from a clearcut subbasin, 5% BA from a TSI subbasin, and 14% BA at a site below the confluence of both streams. A fourth nonharvested site served as a control. Water quality and trout mortality were affected only in the clearcut stream. Acidity and concentrations of nitrate and inorganic monomeric aluminum (Alim) increased sharply during high flows after the first growing season (fall 1997). Acid-Alim episodes were severe during this period and decreased steadily in magnitude and duration thereafter. All trout at this site died within 7 days during spring 1998 and 85% died during spring 1999. Only background mortality was observed in other years at this site and at the other three sites during all tests. The absence of mortality in TSI watersheds indicates that limited harvests should not harm brook trout populations in acid-sensitive streams. Effects of tree harvests on fish communities are of concern, however, because many stream-dwelling species are more sensitive to acidified waters than brook trout. ?? 2005 NRC.
Additional Publication Details
Stream acidification and mortality of brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) in response to timber harvest in Catskill Mountain watersheds, New York, USA
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences