Using GIS to assess bull trout habitat on the Methow River

On June 10, 1998, the Fish and Wildlife Service listed the Columbia River populations of bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.  The upper Columbia River bull trout population is threatened by habitat degradation and fragmentation, blockage of historical migratory corridors, poor water quality, and past fisheries management practices such as the introduction of nonnative species (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2002).  This study will evaluate the health of Methow River basin and its subbasins based on the criteria outlined in the 2002 U.S. Fish and Wildlife bull trout draft recovery plan relating to road density and changes in the riparian buffer.  The 2002 U.S. Fish and wildlife recovery plan was required by the Endangered Species Act to develop a plan for recovery with the goal of delisting of the individual population segment from its “threatened” listing.  Both high road density and changes in riparian buffer negatively affect spawning and rearing in bull trout habitat.  The Methow River and its tributaries are vital spawning, rearing and migratory habitat for the upper Columbia River bull trout population (Upper Columbia Recovery Plan 2002).  The Methow River watershed, Water Resource Inventory Area 48, is located on the east slope of the Cascade Mountain Range and drains into the Columbia River near the city of Pateros, Washington.  The extent this study area is approximately 5,498 square Kilometers and includes a series of tributary subbasins where native bull trout spawn in the fall months.


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                                                                                                                                      Creator: Cameron Owens                                                                                                Date: May 2012                                                                                                                   Position: GIS Student at Western Washington University