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Influence of landscape geomorphology on large wood jams and salmonids in an old-growth river of Upper Michigan


Arthur E. L. Morris
P. Charles Goebel
Lance R. Williams



Publication type:

Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Primary Station(s):

Northern Research Station

Historical Station(s):

North Central Research Station


Hydrobiologia 556:149-161


We investigated the structure of large wood jams (LWJ) and their use by brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis Mitchill) and other fish in four geomorphically-distinct sections of the Little Carp River, a small river flowing through an uncut, old-growth, northern hardwood-conifer forest along the south shore of Lake Superior, Upper Michigan. We characterized nine LWJ per section and then electroshocked fish at three randomly selected LWJ per section. Structural characteristics of LWJ (e.g., total volume of wood, number of logs) varied with geomorphology at the scale of approximately one km. Differences in the abundance of fish associated with LWJ were not statistically significant among LWJ and non-LWJ portions of stream across all study reaches. Factors that explained most variability in the proportion of salmonids at LWJ (valley constraint, volume and number of pieces in the jam) reflected both large-scale geomorphology and characteristics of LWJ. If emulating an old-growth system is the goal for restoring habitat, attention should be given to the correlation of LWJ with larger-scale geomorphology of the reference river. However, it cannot be assumed that LWJ restoration will necessarily increase brook trout abundance near LWJ in a system similar to the Little Carp River as we observed low overall correlation between brook trout abundance and LWJ.


Morris, Arthur E. L.; Goebel, P. Charles; Williams, Lance R.; Palik, Brian J. 2006. Influence of landscape geomorphology on large wood jams and salmonids in an old-growth river of Upper Michigan. Hydrobiologia 556:149-161

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