Development and assessment of habitat suitability criteria for adult brown trout in southern New England rivers

  • Strakosh T
  • Neumann R
  • Jacobson R
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Abstract– Habitat suitability criteria (HSC) for depth, mean velocity, nose velocity, substrate, embeddedness, and cover were developed for brown trout ≥170 mm (Salmo trutta Linnaeus) on the West Branch Farmington River, CT, USA. Microhabitat data was collected by underwater observation using an equal effort habitat sampling design; HSC were constructed using nonparametric tolerance limits. Transferability of previously published HSC to the West Branch Farmington River was poor; only 1 of 13 HSC tested was considered transferable. The HSC developed for the West Branch Farmington River were tested for transferability to the East Branch Westfield River, Massachusetts. First, a composite suitability index (SI) score was calculated using the source HSC for each occupied and unoccupied location in the Westfield River. Then, χ2-tests were used to determine if optimal or suitable locations were occupied in greater proportion than usable or unsuitable locations. Composite SI scores based on total depth, mean velocity, and cover were not transferable, but composite SI scores based only on total depth and mean velocity were. A multivariate profile analysis was also used to test for transferability. In each test, only total depth, fish depth, and mean velocity HSC were successfully transferred. Transferability of depth and velocity HSC between rivers shows promise for applications to similar systems where brown trout occur.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Brown trout
  • HSC
  • Instream flow
  • Microhabitat
  • Snorkeling
  • Transferability

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  • T. R. Strakosh

  • R. M. Neumann

  • R. A. Jacobson

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