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Biogeochemistry

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 323–337 | Cite as

Comparison of brook trout reproductive success and recruitment in an acidic adirondack lake following whole lake liming and watershed liming

  • Carl L. Schofield
  • Chris Keleher
Article

Abstract

Limestone applications to the catchment of one tributary to Woods Lake were highly effective in reducing stream acidity and stabilizing seasonal fluctuations in pH. The resulting improvement in stream water quality also led to a dramatic shift in reproductive strategy of the Woods Lake brook trout population. Prior to catchment liming, brook trout in Woods Lake were restricted to spawning on poor quality near shore substrate with limited ground water seepage. Reproductive success was limited by high mortality of eggs and larvae and recruitment from in lake spawning was not successful. Spawning brook trout did not utilize the tributary for spawning prior to watershed liming. Mitigation of acidity in the tributary, by catchment liming, effectively extended the spawning habitat available to the Woods Lake brook trout population and one year following treatment brook trout spawned successfully in the tributary for the first time in 6 years of observation. Significant recruitment of young trout into the lake population occurred from 1991 through 1993, although the absolute number of fish captured was relatively small. In the fall of 1993, four year classes of naturally spawned brook trout were present in the lake. Although reproductive success was enhanced by improving tributary spawning habitat in the Woods Lake basin, self maintenance of the population may be limited by low recruitment rates of young trout, due to high levels of summer mortality resulting from predation. Mitigation of this constraint would require substantially higher levels of fry production than were observed in Woods Lake and/or enhanced refugia for young trout. The results of this experiment suggest that re-establishment of tributary spawning populations of brook trout may be possible, with future reductions in acidic deposition, in acidic Adirondack lakes with limited in-lake spawning habitat.

Key words

liming acidification brook trout spawning reproduction survival 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carl L. Schofield
    • 1
  • Chris Keleher
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Natural ResourcesCornell UniversityIthaca
  2. 2.Utah Division of Wildlife ResearchSpringville

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