Evaluating Streams for Brook Trout by Z53CAy4o


									Proposal Entitled:

                 Evaluating Illinois Streams for Establishing Brook Trout Populations.

                                           For Submission To:

                                Illinois Department of Natural Resources
                                                Joel Cross
                                       One Natural Resources Way
                                           Springfield, Illinois

                                             Submitted by:

                                              Leon C. Hinz Jr.
                               University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign
                               Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability
                                      Illinois Natural History Survey
                                           1816 South Oak Street
                                           Champaign, IL 61820
                                             Ph. (217) 785-8297
                                            Fax (217) 785-2438

                     Make Award: The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
                               c/o Office of Sponsored Programs and
                                      Research Administration
                                    1901 S. First Street, Suite A
                                       Champaign, IL 61820

                                    Amount Requested: $ 185,000
                          Project Period: 1 January 2010 – 31 December 2011

Leon C. Hinz Jr., Principal Investigator             Brian Anderson, Director
Illinois Natural History Survey                      Illinois Natural History Survey

Kathy Young, Director                                R. K. Iyer, Chair
Sponsored Programs & Research Admin.                 Research Board
University of Illinois                               University of Illinois
                                        Executive Summary

Title: Evaluating Illinois Streams for Establishing Brook Trout Populations.

Applicant information: Illinois Natural History Survey

Goals/ Objectives: (1) Develop a GIS based screening tool to select candidate reaches with the
greatest potential of containing high quality brook trout habitat; (2) Measure physiochemical habitat
characteristics of candidate reaches; (3) Survey biological communities in candidate reaches; (4)
Assess suitability of conditions at candidate reaches and develop a ranked list of potential introduction
sites; and (5) Develop recommendations for meeting the goals of establishing self-sustaining
populations of brook trout in Illinois.

Proposed Grant Period: 1 January 2010—31 December 2011.

Amount Requested: $ 185,000.

State(s) and Partners Involved: IL Dept. Nat. Resources/ IL Natural History Survey (UIUC).

Key Habitats Addressed: Coolwater Stream Habitat, Critical Trout Habitat.

Summary Statement: The Illinois Wildlife Action Plan includes several provisions with the aim of
creating sustainable brook trout populations in Illinois. This project will determine where suitable
habitat exists in Illinois and which streams have the greatest potential to support self-sustaining brook
trout populations. We will develop a GIS screening tool based on relationships between known habitat
preferences and catchment characteristics to select candidate sites for field study. Current hydrologic,
thermal, chemical, and biological conditions of candidate sites will be evaluated for each critical life
stage required for self-sustaining populations. Additionally, we will evaluate the potential for sites to
remain hydrologically and thermally suitable for brook trout under potential landscape change and
climate alteration using existing land transformation and climate change scenarios. This project will
result in recommendations of streams that would best serve as sites for a brook trout reintroduction
program as well as a methodology that managers can use to assess additional streams or potential
habitats for different species if the need arises in the future.

Estimated Cost:

 Dollars Requested          Total Project

 1st Year Funding              $ 97,533
 2nd Year Funding              $ 87,467
 3rd Year Funding                 NA
      Totals:                 $ 185,000
 Project Title: Evaluating Illinois Streams for Establishing Brook Trout Populations.

The Illinois Wildlife Action Plan (IWAP, State of Illinois 2005) lists the establishment of reproducing
brook trout populations in at least two basins and four streams as a goal to be completed by 2015.
Brook trout may once have been present in several Northern Illinois streams, but now appear to have
been extirpated from all waters except Lake Michigan. The IWAP states “Brook trout have been
extirpated from coolwater streams in northern Illinois (p. 33).” and that “…evaluat[ing] the feasibility
of restoring native brook trout (p. 148).” is a key conservation action.

Desired conditions for Illinois Wildlife & Habitat Resources listed in the IWAP (by 2015) include self-
sustaining populations of brook trout in at least four streams (p. 41 and p. 43) in at least two
watersheds (p. 321). Specific watersheds and regions for reintroduction of brook trout are also listed in
the IWAP, including the Apple River and northwest driftless area (p. 171, 242, 245) and the Rock
River Hill Country (p. 191). The Plan has directives for reestablishment of extirpated populations (like
brook trout) and restoration of habitat critical to survival of brook trout (p. 63). Clearly brook trout
reintroduction is a major action proposed within the IWAP.

However, large scale stocking of game species without careful regard for conditions within receiving
streams has often resulted in failure to reach stocking objectives. Such reintroduction plans may
squander agency resources and may not benefit intended users as intended. The Illinois Catchable
Trout Program, which stocks more than 100,000 rainbow trout each year, highlights the need to
consider conditions in receiving streams as survival rates of these fish are extremely low and
essentially no successful reproduction occurs. Therefore, establishing a set of criteria for selecting
streams that are suitable prior to brook trout reintroduction is essential for efficient use of limited
monetary and manpower resources in Illinois. Reintroduction of brook trout into Illinois streams
requires a multiphase process that begins with determining the suitability of streams for persistence of
trout populations and concludes with stocking and monitoring. This proposal includes actions that will
provide information necessary for selecting appropriate streams for brook trout reintroduction where
self-sustaining populations will have the highest probability of persisting.


Our primary objective is to assess stream reaches to determine their feasibility for establishing
self-sustaining brook trout populations in Illinois. This study will evaluate the potential of
stream segments by quantifying physical habitat conditions for each life-history stage and by
assessing existing biological communities. We will develop a list of stream segments ranked on
their potential to hold self-sustaining brook trout populations based on their current and
projected hydrologic, thermal, chemical, and biological characteristics.

Job 1. Selection of Candidate Sites for Evaluation:

Only a small fraction of the approximately 81,000 miles of streams in Illinois have the potential to
provide suitable habitat for brook trout. A GIS based screening tool will be developed to identify these

                                             Brook Trout 1
areas using available landscape summaries (Holtrop et al. 2006), hydrologic and thermal models
(Holtrop et al. 2006), and known habitat preferences of brook trout. Critical habitat requirements for
all brook trout life stages will be based on a thorough literature review and available information on
brook trout populations from neighboring states (e.g., Michigan, Wisconsin). We will identify
landscape variables associated with these habitat requirements and use a multiple spatial scale filter
approach to select candidate sites for further evaluation (Poff 1997).

This study will focus on the Driftless Area (Apple River COA and DARE), Upper Rock River (Sugar –
Pecatonica River COA), Kishwaukee River (COA), and Upper Fox River Tributaries (Lake –
McHenry Wetland Complex COA). We will identify 2 – 4 stream reaches in each of these basins for
further evaluation as potential brook trout habitat.

Job 2. Detailed Physical Habitat Evaluation of Candidate Sites:

Candidate streams identified in Job 1 will be further evaluated by creating detailed site based
characterizations of physiochemical conditions. Field surveys will be conducted to quantify water
quality and habitat features within candidate stream segments. The focus of these assessments will be
to determine which streams contain appropriate characteristics for reproduction, growth, and survival
of brook trout.

Job 3. Detailed Biological Evaluation of Candidate Sites:

Physical conditions within streams create a basis for determining where sustainable populations of
brook trout may be possible, but interspecific interactions (predation, competition, and prey
availability) may also be important for determining long-term success of reintroduction attempts. Fish
and macroinvertebrate collections at candidate streams will be reviewed for presence of potential prey
(both fish and invertebrate), competitors (for food and habitat), and possible predators. Field surveys
will be conducted where these data are not available.

Job 4. Assess conditions at candidate sites and develop ranked list:

A system for rating assessed streams relative to estimated success of brook trout reintroduction is
necessary to efficiently and successfully establish self-sustaining populations in Illinois. We will
incorporate physical and biological data collected from each stream segment (Jobs 2-3) into our spatial
filter to evaluate the influence of local conditions on potential success of reintroductions. We will also
apply the screening filters to include assessments of the potential impacts of landcover alteration
(based on an available landtransformation model) and general climate change scenarios. By
combining these assessments within our screening filter stream segments will be ranked based on their
potential to hold self-sustaining populations of brook trout.

Job 5. Prepare manuscripts and reports:

An annual report at the conclusion of the first year of the project and a final report upon project
completion will be prepared. Additional manuscripts may be developed from the results of this project
for publication in the scientific literature.

                                             Brook Trout 2
Expected Results and Benefits:
The primary outcome of this project will be a report that can serve as a management tool for fisheries
biologists to institute a brook trout reintroduction program that enables efficient use of State resources
and results in reproducing populations capable of long term survivability. It will also provide a
method of assessing the potential habitat of brook trout in additional streams if alternates are desired or
for other aquatic species that may require translocations or reestablishment in the future.

This project is envisioned as the first of two phases necessary for reintroducing brook trout into Illinois
streams an important goal within several Campaigns of the IWAP. The second phase would be to
reintroduce and monitor populations performed by IDNR. The Action Plan states a clear goal of
establishing reproducing brook trout populations in four streams by 2015 and supports this goal in
numerous ways. Conservation Opportunity Areas (COA) were defined by the IWAP as priority
locations for wildlife conservation that were based on descriptions of landscapes, natural divisions,
priority resources, and the status of protected lands. Brook trout are listed as a critical species in five
COAs and restoration of populations are listed as a goal of associated interest groups in two of those
COAs. Additionally, restoration of self-sustaining brook trout populations is an action item
specifically named in both the Streams Campaign and Desired Conditions sections of the IWAP. As a
Species in Greatest Need of Conservation, brook trout are also identified as a critical biotic resource
requiring special consideration in stream or watershed management plans. Our objective is to provide
information regarding potential brook trout habitat that can be used to reach the goals presented in the

An additional benefit realized through the implementation of this project is the interaction with
stakeholder groups that have an interest in brook trout reintroduction. The Driftless Area Restoration
Effort (DARE: a Fish Habitat Partnership within the National Fish Habitat Initiative) includes portions
of northwestern Illinois, western Wisconsin, northeastern Iowa, and southeastern Minnesota. Partners
within this Initiative include Trout Unlimited, Department of Natural Resources in each of these States,
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. DARE has a strategic
plan that includes restoration of stream habitat in the driftless region for target species including brook
trout. Trout Unlimited has also been applying their Conservation Success Index to streams in the
Driftless Area to assist with mapping the conservation status of coldwater fishes in the region.
Partnering with these stakeholders should assist with any successful reintroduction effort.

This study will be completed by staff of the Illinois Natural History Survey in cooperation with staff of
the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Watershed Protection Section located in Springfield. We
will develop a screening tool that functions as a hierarchical habitat filter to determine potential
reintroduction sites for brook trout. Conditions must be appropriate at each level of the hierarchy for
sites to be classified as candidate sites. This habitat filter will be developed following a relatively
simple framework that begins with determining the ecological characteristics associated with brook
trout persistence (Job 1). These characteristics will then be associated with GIS attributes for each
scale within the hierarchy (large scale [e.g., drainage area, geology], intermediate scale [e.g., gradient,
riparian landcover], local scale [e.g., temperature, flow variability]). Stream reaches with appropriate
GIS attributes will then be identified as candidate sites for each scale and life stage (Job 1). A second
series of filters will be applied using detailed physical and biological survey data at selected sites (Jobs
2 & 3). Sites that successfully meet the requirements of the filters will be ranked based on their overall

                                              Brook Trout 3
suitability for each life stage. A final step will be to identify potential problems with identified
candidate sites that may occur from landcover alteration and climate change altering flow patterns or
thermal regimes (Job 4).

Job 1. Selection of Candidate Sites for Evaluation:

An extensive literature review will be conducted to evaluate requisite conditions for successful brook
trout reintroduction. This will include determination of habitat requirements all life stages (e.g., egg,
fry, juvenile, and adult). For these purposes brook trout habitat can include instream features (e.g.
substrate, cover, depth, water velocity), riparian structure (e.g. shading, bank stability), and watershed
features (e.g. landcover composition). Historic distribution of brook trout will be determined by
obtaining INHS and IDNR collection records and reviewing literature pertaining to trout in North
America. We will also use information used by neighboring states with self-sustaining brook trout
populations to guide critical habitat expectations.

Physical conditions at streams will be assessed at multiple scales as appropriate for the factors
controlling available stream habitat. Available GIS data summaries will provide an overview of
watershed characteristics for each stream segment, including landcover composition, surficial and
bedrock geology, and drainage features. This multi-scale approach to evaluating stream reaches will
provide an indication of local conditions from assessed features that are correlated with water quality
and instream habitat. To assess the suitability of flow patterns we will review existing hydrologic
model output that estimates flow exceedances for stream segments throughout Illinois (Holtrop et al.

Summer water temperatures are often a limiting factor for brook trout so we will focus on this attribute
of stream segments. Existing data and thermal modeling (from SWG funded Coolwater Project [T-
13]) will be used to select stream segments that exhibit temperature regimes appropriate for brook
trout. Available water temperature records have identified cool temperatures (<22oC mean daily July
temperature) at twenty-five sites and cold temperatures (<19oC mean daily July temperature) at six
sites in Illinois streams. In addition we have developed statewide models to predict summer thermal
conditions in Illinois streams that will supplement these data (Hinz et al. 2008). Candidate stream
reaches for further evaluation will be selected from the Apple River, Rock River, Kishwaukee River,
and Fox River basins where the majority of the observed coolwater streams are present.

Each stream segment will have its observed conditions numerically ranked in relation to brook trout
tolerance (e.g., preferred = 2 points, acceptable = 1 point, and unsuitable eliminates stream from
candidate list) based on the literature review and other available information assembled in this Job.
Scores at each level of the filter hierarchy will be totaled and used to rank individual stream segments
as potential candidate reaches.

Job 2. Detailed Physical Habitat Evaluation of Candidate Sites:

Our habitat filter approach uses remotely sensed data and model summaries that may not fully
represent in-stream conditions at individual candidate reaches. Therefore it will be necessary to collect
site-specific data at selected sites. Two to four stream segments within each candidate stream will be
selected (based on their ranking from Job 1) for rigorous assessment of physical and chemical
conditions that are critical for persistence of brook trout populations. The focus of these assessments
will be to determine the presence of factors that may limit survival for any brook trout life stage (egg,
fry, juvenile, adult, breeding adult) or that might prohibit successful reproduction.
                                              Brook Trout 4
Several instream physical conditions are important for survival of brook trout. Perhaps the greatest
single factor limiting the number of sites available for reintroduction efforts is water temperature.
Brook trout are a cold water species requiring low summer temperature maxima. Accordingly,
temperature will be continuously monitored at each site year round using an instream data recorder.

Seasonal flow patterns are another important consideration for successful brook trout reintroduction as
the species prefers stable flow throughout the year, especially during egg and fry stages when
unusually high flows can devastate reproductive efforts. Discharge will be measured during each site
visit and indicators of excessive or insufficient flow will be noted. Brook trout have been shown to
have specific tolerance ranges for many chemical components, especially during reproductive periods
and development of eggs. Water quality measurements (e.g., pH, alkalinity, conductivity, dissolved
oxygen, and suspended solids) will be taken at each site twice during each season (Spring, Summer,
Fall, Winter) during a low and high flow condition. A survey of instream and riparian zone habitat
features, with emphasis on substrate and cover will also be made during the site visits.

Job 3. Detailed Biological Evaluation of Candidate Sites:

An examination of existing biological communities will be conducted to aid in determining presence of
sufficient forage and the potential for harmful biological interactions. This analysis of biotic
components, particularly potential predators, prey, and competitors may be critical to evaluating the
potential for long-term success of reintroduction efforts.

Where available, IEPA and IDNR data of fish and macroinvertebrate communities will be used for
each site. Those sites without recent data will be sampled concurrent with the annual intensive basin
survey. Fish community data will be collected using a backpack electrofishing unit at smaller sites or
an electric seine following standard IDNR protocol. Macroinvertebrate community samples will be
collected using standard IEPA methods.

These data will be used to ensure biotic compatibility in candidate streams. Specifically, streams rated
highly for reintroduction should contain appropriate and adequate invertebrate and fish prey, have low
abundance of potential predators, and have few or no competitive species.

Job 4. Assess conditions at candidate sites and develop ranked list:

Overall, we are looking for those sites that have an appropriate combination of physical, chemical, and
biological conditions that will be maintained into the future. Although one goal of the IWAP is to
reintroduce brook trout into four streams, it is possible that many streams have the potential for
successful reintroduction. Therefore, it is necessary to distinguish between candidate streams and rank
them according to their predicted chance of success.

Evaluation of current conditions within streams provides a means of estimating potential survival of
brook trout, but long term success of reintroductions will be affected by future conditions as well. All
candidate streams have passed through the initial habitat filter (“screening tool”) that evaluated broad
scale watershed characteristics associated with brook trout habitat. Site based measurements collected
at a selection of sites will be used to further refine the candidate list by incorporating them into second
series of filters. Changes in land use and/or climate can alter physical and chemical conditions and
could restrict brook trout distribution. Substituting existing land transformation (Holtrop et al. 2006)
and climate change model outputs into available hydrologic and temperature models that use these GIS
                                              Brook Trout 5
attributes as predictor variables will provide a method to predict potential impacts on candidate
streams. Secondary filters will evaluate observed local conditions and potential conditions associated
with landcover alteration and climate change within each stream reach.

Observed and modeled physiochemical characteristics of candidate stream segments will be placed
into one of three categories related to brook trout tolerance (unsuitable, within acceptable range, and
preferred). Each stream segment will have its conditions numerically ranked in relation to brook trout
tolerance (e.g., preferred = 2 points, acceptable = 1 point, and unsuitable eliminates stream from
candidate list). Candidate streams will be scored based on the sum of these tolerance ratings for
observed and modeled conditions. Each score (current conditions, altered watershed, altered climate,
altered watershed and climate) will be used in the evaluation of candidate sites. Evaluated stream
segments will be ranked based on their overall score.

Job 5. Prepare manuscripts and reports:

An annual report at the end of year one and a final report at project completion will be completed. The
final report will include stream rankings based on potential brook trout habitat, and recommendations
for brook trout reintroduction sites. The final product will also include guidance for fisheries managers
in Illinois for implementing a brook trout reintroduction program. This project should also yield novel
data and results that can be used to complete manuscripts for submission to scientific journals.

Literature Cited:

Holtrop, AM, L. C. Hinz, Jr, and J. Epifanio. 2006. Ecological Classification of Rivers for
       Environmental Assessment and Management: Model development and risk assessment (T-02-
       P-001). Project Completion Report to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. INHS
       Technical Report 2006/12.

Poff, N.L. 1997. Landscape filters and species traits: towards mechanistic understanding and
        prediction in stream ecology. JNABS 16(2): 391-409.

State of Illinois. 2005. The Illinois comprehensive wildlife conservation plan and strategy – version 1.
        Prepared by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and approved by the U.S. Fish and
        Wildlife Service.

                                             Brook Trout 6

This two year project will be completed by INHS staff in Springfield with the assistance of IDNR staff
in Springfield. Northern Illinois will be the focus of the assessment with stream reaches in the
Driftless Area (Apple River COA), Upper Rock River (Sugar-Pecatonica River COA), Kishwaukee
River (Kishwaukee River COA), and tributaries of the Upper Fox River (tributaries within the Lake-
McHenry Wetland Complex COA) being investigated.


An annual report will be prepared at the end of the first year of the study culminating in a Final report
at the close of the project. Results of the work completed in this project will also be made available by
publication in the scientific literature, to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and other
interested parties upon request.

Budget Justification:

Salaries and Wages: We request a total of $99,470 to support one full time research scientist and one
research scientist at 10% time for the duration of the project plus a summer hourly worker in each of
two summers.

Fringe Benefits: We request a total of $29,796 in Fringe benefits in accordance with those budgeted
for wages. Fringe benefits will be paid at a rate of 32.88% for Professional staff and 8.99% for
summer hourly staff. Rates have been negotiated by the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign.

Travel: We request a total of $10,150 to conduct field work in northern Illinois and to reimburse staff
for expenses encountered while meeting with IDNR biologists and presenting research findings at
professional scientific meetings.

Materials & Supplies: We request a total of $4,550 for the purchase of a multiparameter meter with
probes and associated standard solutions for water quality evaluation to dedicate to this project, water
temperature loggers to support field evaluation of sites, and to provide minimal support for field
sampling and general office supplies.

Contractual Services: We request $2,200 for Contractual Services over the two year project period.
These funds are needed for software licensing, and to reimburse staff for conference registration fees
necessary to present research findings at professional meetings.

Equipment: We request $8,000 to purchase a backpack electroshocking package in the first year of the
project to assist with site evaluations at candidate sites where recent fish collections have not been

Facilities and Administrative Costs: We request $30,833 to offset facilities and administrative costs at
the rate of 20% of direct costs. Rates have been negotiated by the University of Illinois at

                                             Brook Trout 7

The personnel funds requested in this project will fund one full time research scientist, a second
research scientist at 10% time to conduct analysis and manage the project and one full time summer
hourly technician to assist with field work. Other INHS and IDNR personnel listed below will provide
additional support to the project.

The following personnel from IDNR Office of Resource Conservation (ORC), One Natural Resources
Way, Springfield, IL 62702 will manage this project:

Joel Cross
Head, Office of Resource Conservation - Watershed Protection Section
phone: (217) 785-8266
email: joel.cross@illinois.gov

Additional staff involved in this project at the same location include:

Leon C. Hinz Jr., Ph.D.
Illinois Natural History Survey
Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability
University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana
phone: (217) 785-8297
email: leon.hinz@illinois.gov

Ann Marie Holtrop
IDNR Watershed Protection Section
phone: (217) 785-4325
email: ann.holtrop@illinois.gov

Brian Metzke
Illinois Natural History Survey
Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability
University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana
phone: (217) 785-8297
email: brian.metzke@illinois.gov

                                               Brook Trout 8
Project Schedule:

                        01/10 – 06/10   06/10 – 12/10   01/11 – 06/11   06/11 – 12/11
    Job 1. Select
    Candidate Sites.         X

    Job 2. Habitat
    Evaluation.              X               X               X

    Job 3. Biological
    Evaluation.                              X               X               X

    Job 4. Assess
    conditions.                              X               X               X

    Job 5. Develop
    manuscripts and                          X                               X

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