NFWF “Bring Back the Natives”

Photo Credit: James R. Tomelleri

Coastal cutthroat trout are an important native species and sport fish. They have a complex life history and an extensive geographic range (Northern California to Alaska). Historically, there has been a perception within agencies that coastal cutthroat trout are lower priority than other salmonids, in part because they do not support a commercial fishery. This has resulted in a situation where data are scattered and in multiple formats. For all of these reasons, identifying status or conducting status assessments for coastal cutthroat trout is challenging and the ability to develop conservation or management approaches based on science-based assessments is limited.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation under the Bring Back the Natives grant program supported our effort to improve assessment tools for coastal cutthroat trout. With the long-term goal of developing a scientific framework to better manage and conserve coastal cutthroat trout throughout their geographic range, we worked with state and federal agencies to gather data, develop strategic approaches, and share information. The grant accomplished the following objectives: 1) identify and fill data gaps in the coastal cutthroat trout database using documented occurrence as the data standard, 2) added occurrence data of coastal cutthroat trout in Montana Creek, Alaska, to the range-wide database to support Alaska Department of Fish and Game conservation and mitigation activities, 3) identified the biological criteria that are critical for assessing coastal cutthroat trout, and 4) developed an historical habitat model using an intrinsic potential model for coastal cutthroat trout in northern California and southern Oregon watersheds, and 5) given the outcome of 1-4 make recommendations for an assessment project for coastal cutthroat trout.

Work was completed on this grant in 2012 . For more information please contact Kitty Griswold.