Citizen scientists’ enlisted to support Southwest native trout

Stream monitoring will help biologists understand the impacts of climate change

(Phoenix)—Biologists from Trout Unlimited, the University of Arizona and state and federal agencies this week announced expanded “citizen science” stream monitoring projects that will help them understand the impacts of climate change on Southwest native trout and aid recovery of these rare species.

The efforts will be detailed at this week’s annual Southwest Native and Wild Trout Conference in Phoenix, which brings together leading biologists and conservationists from more than 35 agencies and organizations involved in protecting and restoring native trout habitat in New Mexico and Arizona.

In the past decade, the Southwest’s three native trout—Gila, Apache, and Rio Grande cutthroat—have suffered devastating impacts from wildfires, climate change, nonnative species and other pressures.

“Southwest native trout have survived for thousands of years in rugged backcountry—but today, they’re facing a triple threat of climate change, wildfires and invading non-native species. We need to step up our efforts to protect these rare, beautiful species—time might be running out,” said Jack Williams, senior scientist for Trout Unlimited.

Williams noted that trout need cool water and consistent flows. And as the climate warms, those conditions could be harder to find in the Southwest. Climate change and drought also have contributed to larger, more intense mega-fires, which also disrupt trout habitat and stream flows.

To better understand changing conditions, TU, in collaboration with the University of Arizona in Tucson, will enlist citizen volunteers to help install temperature monitoring devices in streams across the state. The collected data will be used to model future stream temperature predictions and help inform restoration and reintroduction strategies for Apache and Gila trout.

In coming months, Dr. Scott Bonar and students at the U of A will deploy some 25 “Tidbit” temperature data monitors in the San Francisco and Verde River drainages in Arizona and New Mexico—historical Gila trout habitat. In addition, volunteers from TU’s Gila Trout Chapter in Payson will place at least 35 temperature monitors in Gila and Apache trout waters.

These “citizen science” projects contribute greatly to scientific understanding of how native trout adapt to changing conditions, according to Williams. “We need better data on stream temperatures in areas of potential reintroduction for Gila trout. We’re looking for things like which stream stretches are spring-fed or have cooler environments for trout habitat.”

The long-term goal is to make native trout populations more resilient to climate change and wildfires.

“Collectively, the efforts by the fish, wildlife, and land management agencies, in collaboration with Trout Unlimited and other non-governmental organizations, are helping to improve the status of the three native trout species in the Southwest,” said Julie Carter, statewide native aquatics program manager for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “The more momentum we have, the greater the chances for recovery and our ability to expand opportunities to anglers to fish for these truly unique species of trout.”

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Details:

What: 8th Annual Southwest Native and Wild Trout Conference

Where: Arizona Game and Fish Department headquarters, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ

When:  Thursday, April 27, 2017, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Who:  Sponsored by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and Arizona Trout Unlimited state council.

Media:  Contact Randy Scholfield, TU communications, to arrange an interview: rscholfield@tu.org, 720-375-3961.

Trout Unlimited is the nation’s largest coldwater conservation organization, with 147,000 members dedicated to conserving, protecting, and restoring North America’s trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds.

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2016 SEVENTH ANNUAL NATIVE AND WILD TROUT CONFERENCE WRAPUP

7th Annual Native and Wild Trout Conference
April 21, 2016
9:00a.m. – 4:30p.m.

8:55a.m.       Pre-Conference Slide Program  

9:00a.m.       Welcome and Introductions  –

Mike Anderson, AZGFD

9:05a.m.       Welcome from the Arizona Game and Fish Department

9:15a.m.       AGFD Legislative Update –

Jorge Canaca: Legislative Liaison; AGFD –

9:30a.m.       AGFD Coldwater Fisheries Vision and Management Plan – 

Andy Clark – AGFD 

10:00a.m.     Trout Unlimited Southwest Native Trout Strategy –

Jack Williams & Brad Powell – Trout Unlimited

10:30a.m.     Glen Canyon Dam: Long Term Experimental Management Plan

Chris Budwig, PhD & John Jordan – Trout Unlimited

10:45a.m.     Break

11:00a.m.   Temperature Monitoring Network – 

Dan Isaak – US Forest Service (webinar)

11:30a.m.   Distinguished Service for Conservation Awards –

John Jordan & Gary Stinson – Trout Unlimited

11:45a.m.  Group Photo

 12:00p.m.  Lunch  

1:15p.m.     Elements of Good Stream Monitoring Programs –

Dan Dauwalter – Trout Unlimited

1:45p.m.     Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) Programs –

Therese Thompson – WNTI Coordinator of Strategic Partnerships

(a) 2:15p.m. US Forest Service-Wildfire Risk Assessment –

Tessa Nicolet – US Forest Service 

2:45p.m.     BREAK

3:00p.m.     Making Hatcheries Work for Native Trout –

Nate Wiese: USFWS – Mora National Fish Hatchery 

3:20p.m.      Trout-In-the-Classroom (TIC) Program –

Jennifer Johnson – USFWS: Angela Mitchell – Shea Middle School
Josh Ruddick – Santa Rita High School; DJ Zor – Trout Unlimited

5:00 p.m.    BBQ Dinner:  Sponsors & Directions to Biscuit Tank &                Educational Building

4:30p.m.     Adjourn / “See You Next Year”

2015 SIXTH ANNUAL NATIVE AND WILD TROUT CONFERENCE

The Sixth Annual Arizona Native and Wild Trout Conference was at the AZGFD Headquarters on Thursday, April 23, 2015.   The conference was co-sponsored by the Arizona Department of Game and Fish and the Arizona Council of Trout Unlimited.

The conference is attended by those interested to meet, network, and develop future plans to promote restoration and management of native and wild coldwater fish species in Arizona and New Mexico. Over 100 individuals attended the conference representing more than 35 agencies and organizations involved in water conservation and management, trout recovery and habitat enhancement.

Agenda and Presentations

(Presentations are in PDF Format, Click on to View)

NWTC 2015 Final Agenda and Schedule (PDF)

Location

Arizona Game and Fish Department Headquarters
5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ

Food and Lodging

Free lunch was hosted by AZ Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation and AZ TU Council.

A free post-conference BBQ was hosted by the Arizona Council of Trout Unlimited.

2014 FIFTH ANNUAL NATIVE AND WILD TROUT CONFERENCE WRAPUP

The 2014 Arizona Native and Wild Trout Workshop was sponsored by Arizona Game & Fish Department and the Arizona Trout Unlimited State Council.Participants from over 30 Organizations gathered in Phoenix to network, share knowledge, and to develop and promote future plans for native and wild coldwater fish species in Arizona and New Mexico.April 24, 2014

April 25, 2014
Field Trip – Gila Trout Restoration Site Grapevine Creek
Sponsored by Arizona Game and Fish Department and Arizona Trout Unlimited State Council
Led by Mike Anderson, AZGFD

2012 THIRD ANNUAL ARIZONA NATIVE TROUT WORKSHOP

The 2012 Arizona Native Trout Workshop was sponsored by Arizona Game & Fish Department and the Arizona Trout Unlimited State Council.

**View welcome video from Chris Wood, CEO of Trout Unlimited!

Interested parties gathered in Phoenix to network, to share knowledge, and to develop and promote future plans for native coldwater fish species in Arizona.

This year’s meeting was highlighted by presentations on the the devastating effect of wildfires on Arizona’s native trout, and on the efforts to restore their natural habitat.

A wealth of information was developed through presentations, breakout sessions and general discussions. The following materials and presentations are now available for free download:

(media to follow)