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  #31  
Old 07-07-2010, 04:41 PM
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jeffnles1 jeffnles1 is offline
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I am intrigued with the idea and reasons why natives may be reclaiming their prior territory.

It would reason that the Southern Appalachian brook trout (specks, char, whatever the nick name one uses) evolved over thousands of years in this environment and are better suited to the waters in the Smokeys than other species. For example, the warm summers, low water flows, droughts, and occassional flash floods are all part of the Smoky Mountain streams. I'm sure some of those conditions also exist where Rainbows and Browns are native but the specific envronment and ecosystems of the Smokys are most likely unique to the area.

I have to wonder if, all things being equal, as the streams and surrounding forest recover from the thrashings of man like logging, and farming, the brookies may steadily reclaim their former range without much intervention from humans?

Being 49 years old, I doubt if I'll be alive long enough to see that process fully take hold, but I would have to wonder if in 100 years, most of the streams in the Smoky Mountains are primarily brook trout streams and the rainbows and browns would be the rare find?

Jeff
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  #32  
Old 07-07-2010, 04:48 PM
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I know the bows and browns are interlopers, and I wish the brookies were MUCH more widespread, but honestly I would miss the bows and the browns. Each has it's on charms. Love catching any of them. Regards, Silvercreek
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  #33  
Old 07-07-2010, 09:52 PM
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On the subject of Salvelinus fontinalis increasing their range: does anyone have historic pH data. With tougher legislation on coal fired boilers and emissions, has the acid rain problem decreased? This is an issue in northern Appalachia, not sure about southern end of the range.

On the subject of poisoning a stream to re-introduce a native species: If the species is not endangered, why?! The SABT is not only NOT endangered, it's NOT even threatened. I'm as big a native advocate as anybody, but this makes little sense to me. How many miles of stream does the SABT inhabit? Are 10 more (guess) miles going to make or break the species?

Look at the paiute cutthroat in California, a fish once listed as endangered and now listed as threatened. A group of environmental "nut jobs" filed a lawsuit in 2004 to stop the rotenone treatment, has once again filed a lawsuit to stop the treatment.

http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/06/17/28157.htm

The only remaining native watershed is now closed to fishing while this thing gets worked out. I plan to hit a nearby stream, with a transplanted population, at the end of the month to add this species to my native life list.


Mr. Casada,



I look forward to your book! I can recommend (I'm sure you've already read these) a couple of books from my library:
  • Brook Trout by Nick Karas
  • An Entirely Synthetic Fish: How Rainbow Trout Beguiled America and Overran the World by Anders Halverson
Also, the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture has a compilation of data from multiple state, federal, and public agencies.

Chris
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Last edited by WVBrookie; 07-08-2010 at 06:32 AM..
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  #34  
Old 07-08-2010, 09:37 AM
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It is my understanding that the specks are reclaiming their territory due to the negative impact the severe droughts have had on the rainbow populations. Rainbows much prefer the turbulent water and the droughts have hurt the rainbow populations the hardest.

Stop and think about it, when did the rainbows really increase their range (outside of the orginal stockings) to the deteriment of the brook trout? It is my understanding this occurred in the 1950s through 1970s when we had plenty of water.
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  #35  
Old 07-08-2010, 01:34 PM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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WVBrookie--Thanks. I have the Karas book in my collection, along with about 15,000 other books (to the enduring dismay of the missus) but not the one on rainbows. I'll have to acquire it, and your point about a rather small gain in terms of stream miles (in exchange for a great deal of monetary expenditure and work hours) is an interesting one with considerable validity. It won't be popular in a lot of quarters, but I rather suspect you are on to something with the implied message that the real success story of speck restoration is Mother Nature. Thanks.
Jim Casada
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  #36  
Old 07-08-2010, 01:39 PM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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MBB--Good point, although your time line is a bit off, at least on the N. C. side. Rainbows were the dominant fish in most streams even before the creation of the Park, and as you say, they were likely aided in that dominance by lots of water. This story is a many-sided, complex, and intensely interesting one, at least to me, and you guys posting thoughts is really helpful. Thanks.
Jim Casada
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  #37  
Old 07-08-2010, 02:25 PM
TNBigBore TNBigBore is offline
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Letís not forget that the native species may not have a competitive advance over an introduced species just because it evolved there. I have fished a fair amount in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. Out there the brook trout is the introduced species and is considered something of a pest. It has displaced native cutthroat in many areas. That is not to say that the rainbow or brown has any competitive advantage over the brook trout in Southern Appalachia.

As for acid runoff in Southern Appalachian streams: not nearly the problem that they have in West Virginia. The freestone streams where our wild trout live are naturally acidic with low buffering capacity, but are not generally in areas that were mined extensively. I do not have the actual records, but remember taking pH and alkalinity measurements on all streams I sampled in the 90s. When comparing to the oldest data we had, we did not see any significant change in pH. The only streams I remember being too acidic for trout were usually the result of a road cut through one of the various acidic shale formations.
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  #38  
Old 07-22-2010, 09:22 PM
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Jim,

I asked Steve Moore about Road Prong. He said that rainbows had never been introduced to the upper regions of this stream and that there had never been a need for a restoration effort. So you were correct in assuming that they were simply trying to protect the native population in closing it.
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