Riparian Buffer Management Brook Trout Habitat

Project Name: Brook Trout Habitat Conservation

Summary: Best management practices for riverine habitat in Northeast US

Client: Trout Unlimited

Project Location: Three River Systems in
Western Maine and Northern
New Hampshire
Services Provided:
•  Aquatic Habitat Assessment and
    Impact Study
•  Shoreline/Riparian Study
•  Fish Habitat Structure Designs
•  Habitat Improvement &
    Restoration Recommendations

Project Timeframe:
2003 - 2007

Relationship with Client: Since 2002

Client Needs:
Trout Unlimited sought to develop recommendations and guidelines for the management of riparian buffer zones and watershed areas that promote the protection of brook trout habitat to be used by government agencies, NGOs, and others in creating land management plans and river corridor management plans as well as by entities who are developing conservation easements or permit conditions. The recommendations may also be used by private landowners, including paper companies, who wish to manage their lands in an a manner that protects habitat and water quality.
Kleinschmidt Solution:
Kleinschmidt identified important riparian buffer functions that directly benefit brook trout and buffer characteristics that influence the effectiveness of these functions. Effective riparian buffers maintain desirable brook trout habitat by maintaining stream water quality, providing bank stabilization, regulating water temperatures, regulating base flows, and providing large woody debris and organic matter inputs. These functions are influenced by buffer characteristics such as slope, vegetation type and quantity, soil quality, and topography. Kleinschmidt’s report to Trout Unlimited identifies recommended best management practices (BMPs) including watershed management practices, riparian buffer widths and management prescriptions, road and forestry BMPs, and stormwater management BMPs, that consider important water quality and quantity parameters that are directly related to brook trout habitat requirements. Although the focus of this project is on three specific river systems in western Maine and northern New Hampshire, the recommendations are designed to be potentially applicable to all cold water riverine habitat in the northeastern United States and Canada.
Client Benefits:
Through Kleinschmidt’s report, Trout Unlimited was able to clearly articulate the benefits to brook trout as well as non-target species in stream communities and in the larger watershed. This report provided important recommendations for well managed riparian buffers and watershed areas based on the latest science.