The Logan River and its tributaries in northern Utah sustain a significant population of the imperiled Bonneville cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki Utah) as well as invasive brown trout (Salmo trutta). In general, the upper reaches of the system are populated by cutthroat trout and the lower reaches by brown trout. Spawn Creek is a unique tributary in that it supports both of these species throughout the year. The purpose of this study is to identify differences in fine-scale microhabitat that explain utilization patterns of each species of fish. Passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags have been placed in trout over the last 3 years throughout Spawn Creek. Repeat GPS observations of these fish in their habitat during both spawning and non-spawning periods have been acquired over the last 4 years. Non-spawning activity has been captured using mobile PIT tag antennae. GPS observations of cutthroat trout spawning locations have also been recorded. From these observations both spawning and non-spawning "hotspots" have emerged, which appear to be highly correlated with specific microhabitat characteristics. The entire 2.5 km study reach on lower Spawn Creek has been scanned using ground-based light detection and ranging (LiDAR) which covers all observed "hotspots." LiDAR data provides sub-centimeter resolution point clouds from which detailed geometric measurements and topographic analyses can be used to reveal specific aspects of trout habitat. Where bathymetric data is needed, total station bathymetric surveys have been completed at sub-meter resolution. The combination of these data types at known "hotspot" locations provides an opportunity to quantify aspects of the physical environment at a uniquely fine scale relevant to individual fish. New metrics, as well as old metrics resolved at finer scales, will be presented to explain species and life-stage specific habitat "hotspots" in mountain streams.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/joseph_wheaton/96/