Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2015CO314B

Nutrient Retention and Productivity in Rocky Mountain Streams Under Alternative Stable States

Institute: Colorado
Year Established: 2015 Start Date: 2015-03-01 End Date: 2016-02-29
Total Federal Funds: $5,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $2,435

Principal Investigators: Dana Winkelman

Abstract: The amount of Large Woody Debris (LWD) has been greatly reduced in the Southern Rocky Mountain streams, primarily by direct removal of trees by historic logging. LWD is a main driver in mountain stream ecosystems and removal of this physical habitat affects all trophic levels, and can affect riparian zone ecosystems through a reduction in cross-system resource subsidies. My graduate research is part of a larger project examining ecosystem level effects caused by the loss of LWD and focuses on examining how trout populations in high elevation streams are affected by the loss of LWD. My approach is to sample trout populations in streams with high and low amounts of in-stream LWD and compare individual and population characteristics among those streams. Specifically, I am comparing individual growth rates, population density, biomass, individual lipid content, length-weight relationships, and diet composition, and my goals are to create quantifiable endpoints for stream restoration projects in high elevation streams. Additional funding is requested to finish trout diet analyses for comparisons across non-LWD and high LWD streams.