Native salmonid fishes often face simultaneous threats from habitat fragmentation and invasion by nonnative trout species. Unfortunately, management actions to address one may create or exacerbate the other. A consistent decision process would include a systematic analysis of when and where intentional use or removal of barriers is the most appropriate action. We developed a Bayesian belief network as a tool for such analyses. We focused on native westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi) and nonnative brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and considered the environmental factors influencing both species, their potential interactions, and the effects of isolation on the persistence of local cutthroat trout populations. The trade-offs between isolation and invasion were strongly influenced by size and habitat quality of the stream network to be isolated and existing demographic linkages within and among populations. An application of the model in several sites in western Montana (USA) showed the process could help clarify management objectives and options and prioritize conservation actions among streams. The approach can also facilitate communication among parties concerned with native salmonids, nonnative fish invasions, barriers and intentional isolation, and management of the associated habitats and populations. ?? 2008 NRC.
Additional Publication Details
Analysis of trade-offs between threats of invasion by nonnative brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and intentional isolation for native westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi)
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences