Variations in water temperature and implications for trout populations in the Upper Schoharie Creek and West Kill, New York, USA

Journal of Freshwater Ecology
By: , and 

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Abstract

Water temperature is a key component of aquatic ecosystems because it plays a pivotal role in determining the suitability of stream and river habitat to most freshwater fish species. Continuous temperature loggers and airborne thermal infrared (TIR) remote sensing were used to assess temporal and spatial temperature patterns on the Upper Schoharie Creek and West Kill in the Catskill Mountains, New York, USA. Specific objectives were to characterize (1) contemporary thermal conditions, (2) temporal and spatial variations in stressful water temperatures, and (3) the availability of thermal refuges. In-stream loggers collected data from October 2010 to October 2012 and showed summer water temperatures exceeded the 1-day and 7-day thermal tolerance limits for trout survival at five of the seven study sites during both summers. Results of the 7 August 2012 TIR indicated there was little thermal refuge at the time of the flight. About 690,170 m2 of water surface area were mapped on the Upper Schoharie, yet only 0.009% (59 m2) was more than 1.0 °C below the median water surface temperature (BMT) at the thalweg and no areas were more than 2.0 °C BMT. On the West Kill, 79,098 m2 were mapped and 0.085% (67 m2) and 0.018% (14 m2) were BMT by 1 and 2 °C, respectively. These results indicate that summer temperatures in the majority of the study area are stressful for trout and may adversely affect growth and survival. Validation studies are needed to confirm the expectation that resident trout are in poor condition or absent from the downstream portion of the study area during warm-water periods.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Variations in water temperature and implications for trout populations in the Upper Schoharie Creek and West Kill, New York, USA
Series title Journal of Freshwater Ecology
DOI 10.1080/02705060.2015.1033769
Volume 31
Issue 1
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Description 16 p.
First page 93
Last page 108
Country United States
State New York
Other Geospatial Upper Schoharie Creek and West Kill
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N