Effects of extreme floods on trout populations and fish communities in a Catskill Mountain river
1. Extreme hydrologic events are becoming more common with changing climate. Although the impacts of winter and spring ﬂoods on lotic ecosystems have been well studied, the effects of summer ﬂoods are less well known.
2. The Upper Esopus Creek Basin in the Catskill Mountains, NY, experienced severe ﬂooding from Tropical Storm Irene on 28 August 2011, and peak discharges exceeded the 0.01 annual exceedance probability (>100 year ﬂood) in some reaches. Three years of ﬁsh community data from pre-ﬂood surveys at nine sites were compared to data from 2 years of post-ﬂood surveys to evaluate changes in ﬁsh communities and populations of brown trout (Salmo trutta) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss).
3. Basinwide, ﬁsh assemblages were not strongly impacted and appeared highly resilient to the effects of the ﬂood. Total density and biomass of ﬁsh communities were greater at most sites 10-11 months after the ﬂood than 1 month prior to the ﬂood while richness and diversity were generally unchanged. Community composition did not differ signiﬁcantly between years or between the pre-and post-ﬂood periods.
4. Although the density of mature brown trout was low at most sites (mean density = 146 ﬁsh ha-1), young-of-the-year brown trout reached their highest density (mean = 2312 ﬁsh ha-1) during 2012. In contrast, rainbow trout densities declined substantially during the 5-year study and the 2012 year class was small (mean density = 222 ﬁsh ha-1).
5. Late summer ﬂoods may be less damaging to stream ﬁsh communities than winter or spring ﬂoods as spawning activity is negligible and early life stages of many species are generally larger and less susceptible to displacement and mortality. Additionally, post-ﬂood conditions may be advantageous for brown trout recruitment.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Effects of extreme floods on trout populations and fish communities in a Catskill Mountain river|
|Series title||Freshwater Biology|
|Publisher||John Wiley & Sons Ltd.|
|Publisher location||Oxford, England|
|Contributing office(s)||New York Water Science Center|
|Online Only (Y/N)||N|
|Additional Online Files (Y/N)||N|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|