New Handbook for Landowners

By Jack Williams

A New Handbook for Managing Small Streams and Riparian Areas has just been released by Trout Unlimited and the Aldo Leopold Foundation. The 2nd Edition of My Healthy Stream: A Handbook for Streamside Owners is now available.   

The new edition has been updated and includes a new chapter on urban stream rehabilitation.  More than 80 percet of the U.S. population now lives in cities and surrounding suburban areas.  How we manage runoff from streets, lawns, and buildings has a great influence on the quality of our streams not only within our cities but also far downstream as well. According to Dr. Mike Dombeck, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and one of the handbook authors, “despite the many problems of degraded streams in and around our cities, there are many positive steps landowners can take to correct the causes of degradation and create a more livable environment for fish, wildlife and people.” 

Polluted stormwater runoff is a common problem from construction sites and city streetsCommon pollutants from runoff include sediment from construction sites and unstable streambanks, nutrients from septic systems and fertilizers, motor oil and gasoline from roads, pesticides and herbicides from lawns, and thermal pollution as the water runs over hot pavement.

The handbook offers solutions for treating polluted runoff that range from establishing riparian buffer strips along streams and the creation of rain gardens to filter runoff.  Reducing our dependence on fertilizers and pesticides on our lawns can be a huge help.

My Healthy Stream includes chapters on watersheds, monitoring stream condition, water quality, developing riparian buffer strips along streams, stream restoration techniques, trout habitat requirements, stopping invasive species, and dealing with increasing intensity of floods and droughts. 

At only 96 pages in a 6x9” format, it comes packed with colorful graphics and photos. It is a “how-to” book but also answers the “why” questions of stream and riparian management.



TU Chapters can use My Healthy Stream as an outreach tool for landowers and potential project partners.


The handbook is a welcome classroom addition and resource for high school and middle school ecology programs. Rochelle Gandour-Rood, National Coordinator of TU’s Trout in the Classroom program is a big proponent of the handbook. “Our teachers love it for ideas about water quality and stream monitoring, aquatic insect collecting, and describing the problems surrounding invasive species” according to Rochelle. 

Single copies can be purchased under “fishing books & DVDs” at .  Discounts are available for multiple copies and can be ordered by contacting Sabrina Beus of TU at A companion Powerpoint presentation also is available. 

Jack Williams in TU’s senior scientist


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