Aquatic Sciences

, Volume 74, Issue 3, pp 427–441 | Cite as

Estimation of forest harvesting-induced stream temperature changes and bioenergetic consequences for cutthroat trout in a coastal stream in British Columbia, Canada

  • J. A. LeachEmail author
  • R. D. Moore
  • S. G. Hinch
  • T. Gomi
Research Article


Data from a paired-catchment study in south coastal British Columbia, Canada, were analyzed to assess the thermal effects of clearcut harvesting with no riparian buffer on a fish-bearing headwater stream. The approach used time series of daily mean water temperatures for East Creek (control) and A Creek (treatment), both before and after harvest. Statistical models were developed to predict (a) what the temperatures would have been in the post-harvest period had harvesting not occurred, and (b) what temperatures would have been in the pre-harvest period had harvesting already occurred. The Wisconsin Bioenergetics Model was used to simulate growth of coastal cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki clarki) for the first year following fry emergence using the predicted and observed stream temperatures to generate scenarios representing with-harvest and no-harvest thermal regimes. A Monte Carlo approach was used to quantify the effects of uncertainty associated with the regression models on predicted stream temperature and trout growth. Summer daily mean temperatures in the with-harvest scenario were up to \(5^{\circ}\hbox{C}\) higher than those for the no-harvest scenario. Harvesting-induced warming reduced growth rates during summer, but increased growth rates during autumn and spring. In the with-harvest scenario, trout were 0.2–2.0 g (absolute weight) smaller throughout the winter period than in the no-harvest scenario. However, the bioenergetic simulations suggest that trout growth may be more sensitive to potential changes in food supply following harvesting than to direct impacts of stream temperature changes.


Stream temperature Forest harvesting Bioenergetics modelling Paired-catchment study Autocorrelation Cutthroat trout 



Funding was provided by operating grants to RDM and SGH from Forest Renewal British Columbia (FRBC) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). JAL was supported by a Canadian Graduate Scholarship from NSERC. TG was supported by funding through grants from FRBC and Forestry Investment Initiative (FII). This project was part of a broader FRBC- and FII-funded project titled ‘Ecology and management of riparian-stream ecosystems: a large scale experiment using alternative streamside management techniques’ (P.I. John Richardson). Jennifer Bull assisted with field data collection and processing. Eric Leinberger produced Fig. 1. Two anonymous reviewers and the associate editor provided helpful comments which greatly improved the clarity of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. A. Leach
    • 1
    Email author
  • R. D. Moore
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. G. Hinch
    • 3
  • T. Gomi
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of Forest Resources ManagementUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Department of Forest SciencesUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  4. 4.Department of International Environmental and Agricultural ScienceTokyo University of Agriculture and TechnologyTokyoJapan

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