Abstract Title

Evaluating the Influence of Beaver Ponds on Nonnative Brook Trout in Idaho Streams Using Species Distribution Models

Additional Funding Sources

This project was made possible by the NSF Idaho EPSCoR Program and by the National Science Foundation under Award No. OIA-1757324.

Abstract

Beavers (Castor canadensis) alter the hydrologic, biotic, and geomorphic processes of stream systems in ways that benefit many aquatic species. As a result, beaver relocation is increasingly being used as a stream restoration tool. However, beaver impoundments could also facilitate the spread of nonnative fish species. This study aims to evaluate the influence of beaver ponds on nonnative brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) in Idaho. We will use species distribution modelling techniques to evaluate the role of beaver ponds, relative to other environmental variables, in determining the observed distributions of brook trout. Specifically, we will utilize the Beaver Restoration Analysis Tool (BRAT) outputs, IDFG brook trout distribution data, a valley confinement algorithm, NHDPlusV2 data, and other existing environmental data layers. If the best model includes beaver ponds as a key variable, while statistically controlling for other environmental and geographic effects, we will conclude beaver ponds do impact brook trout distribution. Additionally, we will provisionally recommend that caution is needed when beaver reintroductions are used as a conservation tool in Idaho, as such introductions may facilitate expansion of brook trout. If we find that beaver ponds are not a key variable, then we will suggest that nonnative brook trout spread may not be a major concern for future beaver restoration efforts.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

Evaluating the Influence of Beaver Ponds on Nonnative Brook Trout in Idaho Streams Using Species Distribution Models

Beavers (Castor canadensis) alter the hydrologic, biotic, and geomorphic processes of stream systems in ways that benefit many aquatic species. As a result, beaver relocation is increasingly being used as a stream restoration tool. However, beaver impoundments could also facilitate the spread of nonnative fish species. This study aims to evaluate the influence of beaver ponds on nonnative brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) in Idaho. We will use species distribution modelling techniques to evaluate the role of beaver ponds, relative to other environmental variables, in determining the observed distributions of brook trout. Specifically, we will utilize the Beaver Restoration Analysis Tool (BRAT) outputs, IDFG brook trout distribution data, a valley confinement algorithm, NHDPlusV2 data, and other existing environmental data layers. If the best model includes beaver ponds as a key variable, while statistically controlling for other environmental and geographic effects, we will conclude beaver ponds do impact brook trout distribution. Additionally, we will provisionally recommend that caution is needed when beaver reintroductions are used as a conservation tool in Idaho, as such introductions may facilitate expansion of brook trout. If we find that beaver ponds are not a key variable, then we will suggest that nonnative brook trout spread may not be a major concern for future beaver restoration efforts.