Conservation Biology

You’ve done half the job just reading this

For the outdoors enthusiast, the future isn’t as bright as we might hope. Encroaching developments, air and water pollution, the search and extraction of fossil and renewable energy resources all negatively impact our native trout and other wildlife. It's getting harder and harder for anglers to find the pristine waters that existed just a generation ago. The Yellowstone cutthroat and bull trout are examples of imperiled species that are early indicators of lake and stream health. Our Conservation Success Index can teach you simple, natural, lasting ways to protect and restore the watersheds and these vital fish populations. With your continued help, we can ensure healthier habitats for the long-term, and the protection of vital sporting heritage for coming generations.

A Guide to Native Trout Restoration


A place to play safe

Native brook trout in Southern Appalachia will likely be gone by 2100 if we don't take action. What's to blame? Rising water temperatures. The population boom of exotic species. And ill-timed, early hatches of aquatic insects. Extinction rates are five times higher for freshwater aquatic life compared to birds, mammals and other terrestrial species. In response to this crisis, Native Fish Conservation Areas must be established to emphasize conservation and restoration of native fish, other aquatic species, and their habitats. With NFCAs, outdoor activities including fishing and hiking can continue to provide healthy recreation while supplying clean water to nearby populations of both fish and humans for generations to come.

Native Fish Conservation Areas


Trout streams for dummies

This handbook’s job is to show you the correct way to restore your streams, boost aquatic life, and nurture surrounding life. To understand more about your stream’s watershed, we’ll help you understand the science of your stream’s flows, runoff, water quality and habitat conditions. A thriving creek needs clean water, dissolved oxygen, food and habitats that provide good spawning and places for the fish to rest. By observing how your tributary changes overtime, you can help direct improvement in stream conditions and actually make fishing better throughout the drainage. So, before getting started on your successful restoration project, it’s important to understand how your water ecosystem works. This will show you.

My Healthy Stream - A Handbook for Streamside Owners


A trout we don’t like

After the 1995 discovery of lake trout in Yellowstone Lake, we learned that the fish would prey on the already dwindling population of native Yellowstone cutthroat trout. The Yellowstone cutthroat trout population, which is vital to Yellowstone National Park’s overall ecosystem and hugely important to the local recreation economy, continues to decline and recovery of the native trout is the ultimate measure of program success. The lake trout population is growing so rapidly, however, that the lake cannot sustain them all. This would be less of a problem to native fish if suppression efforts increased. A population crash of the non-native lake trout population is our goal. Until then, the cutthroat of Yellowstone Lake will be in real trouble.

Confronting a Lake Trout Invasion of Yellowstone Lake: An Interim Scientific Assessment


Taking care of our baby. Nurture. Protect.

We truly love the Upper Colorado River Basin. It offers some of the best fish and game habitat in the country, and it’s largely untrammeled. The problem is, energy companies also love the region for its natural gas resources. The future of this land is in jeopardy, and TU is working to ensure fish, game and their habitat remains intact for coming generations of anglers and hunters.

A Landscape-based Protocol to Identify Management Opportunities for Aquatic Habitats and Native Fishes on Public Lands, Phase II: Upper Colorado River Basin


We cover a lot of ground to keep fish healthy

Today, we hope to change the science of meadow restoration by repairing streams in California’s Southern Cascades and Sierra Nevada mountains. While it may seem odd for TU to concentrate on land, bringing the meadows back using Trout Unlimited Meadow Restoration Tool will actually improve the aquatic life—including the health of trout and trout streams— nearby. You see, meadows perform three very important functions for wetland habitats. They clean and filter water, they absorb excess water in the event of flooding, and they store water in case of drought. When meadows are healthier, streams are healthier. Using TU’s analysis tools, biologists can start to reverse the loss of trout populations including the Lahontan cutthroat and ensure healthier coldwater habitat—and better fishing—for generations to come.

Meadow Restoration to Sustain Stream Flows and Native Trout


We're breaking new ground for coldwater habitats

Despite numerous efforts, trout stream repair in California’s Southern Cascades and Sierra Nevada has had little positive impact on aquatic life so far. Today, Trout Unlimited hopes to change that disappointing trend by changing the science of meadow restoration. TU’s Meadow Restoration Tool makes it possible for specialists—including biologists from leading academic institutions—to pinpoint how and where to start fixing these meadows which are so important to trout and other wetland inhabitants. By learning from past, existing and future projects, the tool seeks to improve the practice of meadow restoration in order to greatly improve the conservation efforts of these vital mountain ecosystems and restore our fish and our angling opportunities in these special places.

Meadow Restoration Fish Analysis Tool


Hanging by a fraction of a fin

The Lahontan cutthroat trout now occupies only 8.6 percent of its native range. This once-prolific—and giant migratory cutthroat trout has been endangered since 1973, but now it seems their days are truly numbered. The battles against non-native trout, climate change, decreased stream flow and habitat loss are just a few of the many problems facing Lahontans. While there has been progress, the migratory run from Pyramid Lake to Lake Tahoe is gone, and isolated populations throughout the fish’s native range are in peril. By restoring degraded habitat and reintroducting Lahontans, we can protect their populations from non-natives and arm these prized fish against climate change and drought.

Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Keystone Initiative


We're outstanding in our fields... and our streams

Today, Trout Unlimited hopes to change the science of meadow restoration. Trout Unlimited’s Meadow Restoration Tool makes it possible for specialists—including biologists from leading academic institutions—to pinpoint how and where to start fixing these meadows which are so important to healthy wetlands and the fish and game they support. Monitoring is put to good use during meadow reconstruction to educate future researchers, managers, and practitioners. It helps gauge the success of the treatment and the response over time to disturbance. Overseeing the pre- and post projects will help us recognize if the project is headed in the right direction or if there’s a problem that can be overcome.

Monitoring Approaches for Fisheries and Meadow Restorations in the Sierra Nevada of California

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