Implementing the best conservation and restoration actions requires constant feedback on how effective certain practices are in obtaining conservation outcomes, which is where monitoring and evaluation come into play. Trout Unlimited scientists develop rigorous monitoring programs to assess population status, trends and evaluate effectiveness of restoration projects.
TU scientists use local datasets and cutting-edge technologies like Lidar, drones, and satellite imagery to evaluate site-specific conservation opportunities, project impacts, and monitor changes following project implementation.
Monitoring plans and design
Monitoring is key for tracking the status of populations over time. When done well, we can also learn about the environmental or biological factors that influence populations, to make conservation and management actions be more effective. We apply the latest science to ensuring the data we and our partners collect will meet the goals each program and provide the most valuable quantitative information possible..
Effectiveness monitoring is a key piece of Trout Unlimited’s success, verifying that the work and funding we and our partners put on the ground translates to meaningful conservation gains. Verifying that fish are using newly-accessible or restored habitat helps us know what works and why, and also highlights when we need to modify or adapt our work for better conservation in the future.
In some cases, one of the biggest impediments to effective conservation is simply not knowing where the trout are. In states like Pennsylvania, Virginia or West Virginia — states endowed with tremendous water resources — thousands of miles of stream have never been sampled to determine if they contain trout. Trout Unlimited is providing essential boots on the ground to fill in this basic need, using both electrofishing and environmental DNA (eDNA) techniques. Armed with data on where the trout are, we can then push for increased protection for these important waters and ensure a better future for the trout they house.