Coldwater fisheries and species like the brook trout serve as indicators of higher water quality and the health of the watersheds they inhabit. Potential research topics include:
• Evaluation of the effectiveness of liming by Trout Unlimited in the Mountain Creek watershed in comparison to a control stream with similar bedrock buffering capacity. This evaluation should include monitoring of the macro-invertebrate community and identification of the mayflies to genus and species, if possible.
• Prediction of the effects of climate change on increasing water temperatures to coldwater fisheries on the South Mountain. For example, which streams are likely to be the most vulnerable?
• Evaluation of in-stream and riparian fish habitat, sedimentation and bank erosion problem areas, and barriers to fish passage (e.g., on Central Pennsylvania Conservancy’s Letort Spring Garden Preserve). This information could be used to guide future habitat improvement projects.
• Evaluation of the effects of non-native species (e.g., algae, Japanese knotweed, hemlock wooly adelgid) on trout populations.
• Evaluation of the effects of the introduction of non-native trout species such as brown and rainbow trout on wild brook trout populations.
This project is eligible for grants through South Mountain Partnership or other sources.
Contact Fish & Boat commission fisheries biologist Bryan Chikotas ([email protected]) for more information.