Influences of riparian vegetation on trout stream temperatures in central Wisconsin

North American Journal of Fisheries Management
By: , and 



Summer stream temperatures limit the distribution of Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis and are affected by riparian vegetation. We used riparian and instream habitat surveys along with stream temperature loggers placed throughout streams to determine the potential for riparian vegetation shading to increase the length of stream that is thermally suitable for Brook Trout. Twelve streams located throughout central Wisconsin were evaluated in the summers of 2007 and 2008. Across all streams, nonparametric ANCOVA modeling was used to identify spatial temperature patterns within a year for individual stream segments. Riparian tree-vegetated segments had a significantly lower mean change in stream temperature per kilometer of stream compared with grass-vegetated segments during the periods of maximum daily and weekly average temperatures, when we accounted for upstream temperature. Riparian grass-vegetated segments increased on average 1.19°C/km (SE, 0.44) during the maximum daily average temperature period and 0.93°C/km (SE, 0.39) during the maximum weekly average temperature period, whereas tree-vegetated segments decreased 0.48°C/km (SE, 0.39) and 0.30°C/km (SE, 0.25) during those respective time periods. Maximum weekly average temperatures were also modeled with different shading levels using a heat budget temperature model, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Stream Segment Temperature Model. Across 11 study streams (one stream model could not be calibrated), modeled stream temperatures in equilibrium with their environmental conditions ranging from 23.2°C to 28.3°C at 0% shading could be reduced to 18.8–23.5°C with 75% shading. Modeled increases in shade up to 75% from the current average of 34% increased the length of surveyed stream thermally suitable to Brook Trout by 4.9 km on Sucker Creek. We conclude that riparian forests are important for maintaining thermal conditions suitable for Brook Trout in central Wisconsin streams and can be managed to increase the amount of stream habitat thermally suitable for Brook Trout.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Influences of riparian vegetation on trout stream temperatures in central Wisconsin
Series title North American Journal of Fisheries Management
DOI 10.1080/02755947.2013.785989
Volume 33
Issue 4
Year Published 2013
Language English
Publisher American Fisheries Society
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Leetown
Description 11 p.
First page 682
Last page 692
Country United States
State Wisconsin
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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