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Abstract: Session E  4:45 pm (Back to Session F)
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Habitat Use Monitoring in Hatchery Creek – A Newly Created/Restored Trout Stream

George Athanasakes
Stantec Consulting Services, Inc.
Louisville, KY

The Hatchery Creek Stream Restoration project, located immediately downstream of the Wolf Creek Dam US Fish & Wildlife National Trout Hatchery near Lake Cumberland in Jamestown, Kentucky represents a unique opportunity to study the response of trout to restoration.  The project consisted of restoring an existing 400-foot long channel, which is the outflow from the trout hatchery and extending the channel to create approximately 6,000 feet of trout stream habitat.  In an effort to maximize habitat and recreational opportunities, the project was designed to provide a variety of habitat for all life stages of trout and included a variety of stream types including A, C and DA channels.  The project had several unique aspects, which are not typical to stream restoration projects, including a constant flow of approximately 35 cfs, which is approximately 70% of the upstream bankfull flow, limited sediment supply, and the need to maintain imported spawning gravels. 

The project was completed in 2015 and has been monitored for revegetation, geomorphic and fisheries response.  Backpack shocking was conducted over the past three years to inventory trout presence in the constructed channel. Year one data confirmed trout presence and indicated that trout were migrating from the stocking location at the tailwater of the Wolf Creek Dam into Hatchery Creek. During year one it was also observed that adult trout size classes were more evenly distributed within the reaches designed to support adult trout. Year two and three data indicated that larger adult trout with reproduction potential were potentially showing preference for reaches with more pool habitat, cover, and lower water velocities.

Relative consistency among reach characteristics that could contribute to observed variation, such as food availability and water temperature, should allow for a more direct comparison of physical habitat variables and use preference to explain the spatial distribution of trout size class in Hatchery Creek. This talk will provide an overview of the project and will discuss the use of two-dimensional modeling to correlate the habitat use preference of adult trout in Hatchery Creek. The results of the study will serve to optimize future sustainable trout fishery designs by identifying the habitat preferences of large adult trout with reproduction potential.