Trout Unlimited Collects Information on Coldwater Streams to the Rogue River

Trout Unlimited has been collecting data over the past two years on several coldwater streams that drain to the Rogue River – Rum Creek, Blakeslee Creek, a small tributary of Barkley Creek, and an Unnamed Tributary to the Rogue River. This monitoring was funded by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and helped Trout Unlimited collect baseline data at sites where future restoration practices are planned. This baseline data is extremely valuable because it can be compared to data collected after the restoration practices are put into place. This comparison will help determine whether or not both water quality and habitat quality have improved and ultimately how successful the restoration practices were at each location.

Data collected in 2013-2014 included measurements of stream bank condition and erosion, the amount of wood in the stream, stream canopy, water temperature, and fish and stream insect communities. One interesting finding was that the average water temperature in July at our sample sites was about 58°F indicating substantial groundwater input in to these streams. These cool temperature are critical for sensitive fish species, such as trout, which were found in significant numbers at some sampling locations such as Rum creek, which runs through downtown Rockford. However, during some heavy rain events, some of the stream sites exhibited an increase of 10°F indicating that warm stormwater runoff is affecting the temperature of these coldwater streams. Protection and improvement of these coldwater streams and the surrounding floodplain is critical to maintaining natural stream temperatures and healthy fish populations.

If you would like more information about this study please contact Nichol De Mol at ndemol@tu.org or 231-557-6362. Funding from the DEQ adds to funds contributed to the Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative project by the Frey Foundation, the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, the Wege Foundation, the Wolverine World Wide Foundation, and the Schrems West Michigan Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

Trout_1: Brown Trout in Rum Creek surveyed as part of Trout Unlimited’s work.

Trout_2: Part of Trout Unlimited’s work included surveying the stream bed .