January 21, 2020
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Saving our brook trout with wood in streams workshop

Community Author: Natural Resources Conservation Service
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DOVER-FOXCROFT — Are you an avid fisherman, logger, forester, woodlot owner or just curious about ways to protect and help our natural environment flourish? If so, this workshop may be for you. The Piscataquis County Soil & Water Conservation District (PCSWCD) in partnership with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Maine Forest Service (MFS), is holding a “Large Wood in Streams for Aquatic Organisms” workshop from 8:30 a.m. until noon on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 with a snow date of Friday, Jan. 24. Continuing education credits for forestry are available for this workshop.

Brook trout [Salvelinus fontinalis] are the only native stream-dwelling trout species located in the eastern United States. The species requires cold and clean water to survive. Brook trout are extremely sensitive to environmental changes and habitat alterations. Such sensitivity has made brook trout a particularly important indicator species, as its decline provides early warning signs of a reduction in the overall health of the aquatic ecosystem.

Large wood is a critical aspect of the forest stream ecosystem and for the survival of trout that inhabit the streams. Just a few things large wood does in streams is it diverts water flow, changes water velocity to trap sediment, creates cascades and riffles increasing oxygen in the water. The wood helps form deeper pools where the fish can survive the summer heat and shade to reduce the water temperature. This helps improve habitat conditions for the fish and other aquatic creatures.

Many of us have the mindset that we need to remove woody debris in streams to help maintain the natural flow. Also, since the forests have changed through the years, there are not as many trees on the stream banks creating shade for fish and organisms. Putting wood in streams is a different way of thinking and NRCS has a program to help accomplish improved habitat for aquatic organisms in this way. NRCS created wood in stream cost-share practices to help landowners with the funding and technical tools to implement this conservation effort.

If you are interested in attending this class, please contact PCSWCD at 207-564-2321 ext. 3, or go to the website at piscataquisswcd.org to register and for more information. The PCSWCD is in the USDA building in Pine Crest Business Park at 42 Engdahl Drive in Dover-Foxcroft. PCSWCD is an equal opportunity employer and provider. Some of this content is from an article by Linda Brownson.