Monitoring trout habitat in Sequoia National Forest

Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership (SNAP) member Madeline McCormick is working with Trout Unlimited – Truckee as the Sierra Nevada Field Technician. Madeline leads outreach and coldwater conservation work that benefits wild and native trout in the Sierras. She assists with angler outreach, volunteer management, angling initiatives, angling surveys, e-fishing surveys, youth education, and stream restoration.

Trout Unlimited focuses on the conservation and restoration of cold water habitats across the US. The Truckee chapter focuses on education, partnerships, habitat enhancement, and outreach to protect and restore coldwater fisheries throughout California and Nevada.

Recently, Madeline visited the Sequoia Ten Meadows region in Sequoia National Forest to monitor stream flows, download data from stream gauges, and check on groundwater wells. Trout Unlimited is the forerunner of the Sequoia Ten meadow monitoring and restoration project. According to Trout Unlimited, about sixty percent of inland trout meadow habitat in the Sierra Nevada is considered impaired.

Madeline McCormick, AmeriCorps Member with Trout Unlimited, uses stream flow meter to calculate CFS in Troy meadow.

Monitoring the Sequoia Ten Meadows helps determine the effects of recent fires and land use management in Sequoia National Forest. The project also helps by collecting data on pre and post-restoration sites. One of the meadows monitored, Troy Meadow, is planned to be restored later this summer.

Having a definable baseline for meadow ecosystem functions, along with an understanding of how low-tech process-based restoration can improve those degraded functions, betters Trout Unlimited’s ability to conserve freshwater fisheries. Understanding typical stream flows during a variety of water years in restored and controlled meadows aids in the decision-making process of what kinds of restoration implementation is necessary to rebuild vital habitats.

Preserving the health of the Sierra is important primarily for the intrinsic value that it holds. The biota in the region benefits from the health of these systems, and ensuring their longevity for generations to come is one of the biggest drivers for Madeline.

Funding for SNAP is supported by Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation’s Nature Fund and Martis Fund – a collaborative project of Martis Camp landowners, DMB/Highlands Group (the developers of Martis Camp), Mountain Area Preservation Foundation (MAP), and Sierra Watch. Sierra Nevada Alliance is a proud grantee of AmeriCorps and California Volunteers, Office of the Governor.

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