Sadly, wild trout that have prospered for 20,000 generations are vanishing from urban and suburban waters. Not a good sign for fragile ecosystems and a poor reflection on community stewardship of shared waters.
Local growth and development is a chief cause for the plight of wild trout. Greater storm runoff from buildings, parking and streets dumps into brooks where wild trout live. Tons of sand and silt clog aquatic habitats and fill up trout nesting areas. Warm runoff from asphalt raises water temperatures beyond tolerance and robs the oxygen that trout need to survive. Added to this is less groundwater recharge, which is essential for sustaining stream flows during dry seasons.
Yet, streams damaged by stormwater can be rapidly restored if towns remedy runoff from streets. And the wild trout will return to delight people of all ages.
Local conservation commissions can play a key part in saving and renewing native brook trout streams. Practical guidance is supplied by “Ten Ways Conservation Commissions Can Help Protect Coldwater Streams and Their Inhabitants“, which is available for free download at http://www.commonwaters.org/images/stories/bgy/10ways_protect_coldwater_streams.pdf .
To learn more about trout, visit http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dfg/dfw/fish-wildlife-plants/fish/trout-information.html . This MA Fisheries & Wildlife webpage includes a capsule of ongoing efforts to restore native “Brookies” across the state.