Coaster Brook Trout Program Coordinator
4/22/2004 -- Madison, Wis. -- More than a century after forces began converging to decimate stocks of the coaster brook trout, new forces are beginning to align for their restoration.
National conservation organization Trout Unlimited (TU) and a range of partner groups today announced the launch of several information sources that will expand scientific knowledge and boost public awareness of the coaster brook trout, an imperiled fish that provides a good indicator of the overall health of the Lake Superior Basin.
Coaster brook trout, or “coasters” in fishermen’s parlance, once thrived in the watershed. Early regional histories celebrated their annual spawning run up the rivers and streams that empty into the lake, as well as their brilliant color patterns and unusually large size.
“Then, to everyone’s loss, populations of coasters plummeted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries,” said Todd Breiby, TU Coaster Brook Trout Program Coordinator. “Coasters were badly over-fished, mining and logging spoiled much of their habitat, and invasive and introduced species began to edge them out.”
Now a collaborative of organizations and agencies in U.S. and Canada has coalesced to reinvigorate coaster populations. Currently 26 agencies and organizations are involved in the rehabilitation effort, which combines research, protection and reintroduction programs.
On Wednesday, April 21, TU will launch a Web site, www.tu.org/conservation/coaster.asp, that contains comprehensive information on the coaster restoration effort. A highlight of the site will be a directory of researchers, resource managers and advocates working on coaster brook trout rehabilitation efforts across the basin.
“One of the main hurdles we have to clear is that relatively little is known about the ecology and life history of coasters,” said Breiby. “The TU Web site will help to combine our knowledge by compiling the work product of many people in diverse locations.”
Also, a new quarterly newsletter, “Coaster Connection,” premiered in late March. It provides information on advances in coaster research, management and advocacy efforts across the basin. “This newsletter allows professionals involved with rehabilitation efforts the opportunity to present current projects, share information and discuss ideas,” said Breiby. Recent and past newsletters will be available on the TU coaster Web site.
Mission: Trout Unlimited is North America’s leading coldwater fisheries conservation organization, dedicated to the conservation, protection and restoration of trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds. The organization has more than 130,000 members in 450 chapters in North America.