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Trout use of woody debris and habitat in Wine Spring Creek, North CarolinaAuthor(s): Patricia A. Flebbe
Source: Forest Ecology and Management. 114: 367-376.
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
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DescriptionWine Spring Creek basin, in the mountains of North Carolina's Nantahala National Forest, is an ecosystem management demonstration site, in which ecological concepts for management and restoration are tested. Large woody debris (LWD) is an important link between streams and the adjacent riparian forest, but evidence for the connection between LWD and trout in the Southern Appalachian streams is limited. Woody debris loadings, trout habitat, and brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) were inventoried for the entire 9.8 km that trout occupy in Wine Spring Creek. Compared to two reference streams in North Carolina old-growth forests, Wine Spring Creek had less LWD, evidence of conditions associated with mid-successional riparian forests. More units in Wine Spring Creek lacked LWD altogether and accumulations of two or more pieces of LWD were less common than was the case in the reference watersheds. On average, about 71 percent of pools and riffles in Wine Spring Creek were occupied by trout, compared to about 90 percent in reference streams. Trout nearly always occupied pools with at least two pieces of LWD, but rates of occupancy for pools with one or no LWD pieces and riffles were unusually low compared to reference streams. Habitats on the lower and middle reaches on the mainstem of Wine Spring Creek had highest trout numbers and were nearly always occupied by trout. In these reaches, riparian ages were older and stream habitat had abundant LWD or boulder substrate. Upper reaches of Wine Spring Creek and its tributaries, however, were characterized by less mature riparian forest, less LWD, and little boulder substrate, low rates of trout occupancy, and lower trout numbers. These conditions are the basis for an LWD addition experiment in headwater reaches.
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CitationFlebbe, Patricia A. 1999. Trout use of woody debris and habitat in Wine Spring Creek, North Carolina. Forest Ecology and Management. 114: 367-376.
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