Determination of habitat requirements for Apache Trout

Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
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Abstract

The Apache Trout Oncorhynchus apache, a salmonid endemic to east-central Arizona, is currently listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Establishing and maintaining recovery streams for Apache Trout and other endemic species requires determination of their specific habitat requirements. We built upon previous studies of Apache Trout habitat by defining both stream-specific and generalized optimal and suitable ranges of habitat criteria in three streams located in the White Mountains of Arizona. Habitat criteria were measured at the time thought to be most limiting to juvenile and adult life stages, the summer base flow period. Based on the combined results from three streams, we found that Apache Trout use relatively deep (optimal range = 0.15–0.32 m; suitable range = 0.032–0.470 m) pools with slow stream velocities (suitable range = 0.00–0.22 m/s), gravel or smaller substrate (suitable range = 0.13–2.0 [Wentworth scale]), overhead cover (suitable range = 26–88%), and instream cover (large woody debris and undercut banks were occupied at higher rates than other instream cover types). Fish were captured at cool to moderate temperatures (suitable range = 10.4–21.1°C) in streams with relatively low maximum seasonal temperatures (optimal range = 20.1–22.9°C; suitable range = 17.1–25.9°C). Multiple logistic regression generally confirmed the importance of these variables for predicting the presence of Apache Trout. All measured variables except mean velocity were significant predictors in our model. Understanding habitat needs is necessary in managing for persistence, recolonization, and recruitment of Apache Trout. Management strategies such as fencing areas to restrict ungulate use and grazing and planting native riparian vegetation might favor Apache Trout persistence and recolonization by providing overhead cover and large woody debris to form pools and instream cover, shading streams and lowering temperatures.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Determination of habitat requirements for Apache Trout
Series title Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
DOI 10.1080/00028487.2016.1225597
Volume 146
Issue 1
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Seattle
Description 15 p.
First page 1
Last page 15
Country United States
State Arizona