Conservation

Why conservation work is necessary

You may be asking, "What do wolves have to do with trout conservation?" Well, as an apex predator, wolves play a big role in interactions and balances within ecosystems, as evidenced by the decades of research conducted in Yellowstone National Park following the reintroduction of Canis lupus, commonly known as the grey wolf. Once grey wolves were reintroduced, elk populations decreased, aspen and other riparian vegetation rebounded, which stabilized river banks and improved habitat for other animals including beaver and trout.

This type of ecosystem cascade can also work in the opposite direction. When lake trout were introduced to Yellowstone Lake, they quickly became the aquatic apex predators and the native Yellowstone Cutthroat trout population was decimated. This set another trophic cascade into action, where other animals such as bears, otters, eagles, and pelicans were forced to find other sources of food since one of their biggest sources of calories (native trout) was disappearing. Grizzlies in turn began targeting elk calves and bald eagles began targeting sensitive waterfowl species such as loons and trumpeter swans.

Canis lupus, photographed by Jeremy Weber, found on the Google Creative Commons

Our founders have worked alongside government and private agencies (including the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, and Trout Unlimited) to develop conservation efforts in and around the western US. We have not only been involved in fisheries projects but also those involving water quality assessment, migratory bird conservation, natural resource planning, wetland restoration, and ecosystem service assessments. Here is a sampling of our conservation work:

Conflicts Abound: How Future Development Threatens Critical Migratory Bird Habitat Along Utah's Wasatch Front

 

Using Anthropogenic Risks to Inform Salmonid Conservation at the Landscape Scale

 

Relationships Between Borders, Management Agencies, and the Likelihood of Watershed Impairment 

Examining Alternative Futures for Southeastern Utah

Conservation

Why conservation work is necessary

You may be asking, "What do wolves have to do with trout conservation?" Well, as an apex predator, wolves play a big role in interactions and balances within ecosystems, as evidenced by the decades of research conducted in Yellowstone National Park following the reintroduction of Canis lupus, commonly known as the grey wolf. Once grey wolves were reintroduced, elk populations decreased, and aspen and other riparian vegetation rebounded, which stabilized river banks and improved habitat for other animals including beaver, aquatic insects and, most importantly, trout.

 

This type of ecosystem cascade can also occur to the detriment of the overall health of an ecosystem. When lake trout were introduced to Yellowstone Lake, they quickly became the aquatic apex predators and the native Yellowstone Cutthroat trout population was decimated. This set another trophic cascade into motion, where other animals such as bears, river otters, eagles, and pelicans were forced to find other sources of food since one of their biggest and most dependable sources of calories (cutthroat trout) was disappearing. Grizzlies, in turn, began targeting elk calves and bald eagles began hunting sensitive waterfowl species such as loons and trumpeter swans.

These are just two examples that prove why we cannot focus solely on trout habitat restoration without also considering the surrounding ecosystem's health and connections. The need for trout conservation is just a drop in the bucket of the larger issues facing wildlife in the West, and any support for conservation benefits the world of fly fishing and the great outdoors.

Canis lupus, photographed by Jeremy Weber, photo from Google Creative Commons

A native Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout, photo from Google Creative Commons

An introduced Lake Trout, photo from Google Creative Commons

At DWA, our founders understand the importance of this type of work and research and have worked alongside government and private agencies (including the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, and Trout Unlimited) to develop conservation efforts in and around the western US. We have not only been involved in fisheries projects but also those involving water quality assessment, migratory bird conservation, natural resource planning, wetland restoration, and ecosystem service assessments.

 

 

 

Current Projects

Angler awareness campaign for Aquatic Nuisance Species in Colorado with Parks and Wildl

 

Collaborating with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on Landscape Conservation Design in northwest Montana

 

 

Past Projects

Conflicts Abound: How Future Development Threatens Critical Migratory Bird Habitat Along Utah's Wasatch Front

 

Using Anthropogenic Risks to Inform Salmonid Conservation at the Landscape Scale

 

Relationships Between Borders, Management Agencies, and the Likelihood of Watershed Impairment 

 

Examining Alternative Futures for Southeastern Utah

 

 

If you're interested in hearing more about our conservation research/endeavors, let us know! We'd be glad to share more about what we have done and what we are currently working on.

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