Developing precipitation- and groundwater-corrected stream temperature models to improve brook charr management amid climate change
Conserving coldwater stream ecosystems in a warming world requires understanding how water temperature changes will affect the sustainability of coldwater fish populations such as brook charr (Salvelinus fontinalis). To date, many models for predicting stream temperature have either assumed spatially uniform (inaccurate) air-stream temperature relationships or required expensive measurement of hydrometeorological drivers (e.g., solar radiation, convection) in a manner impractical for fisheries management. Hence, we developed an accurate, cost-effective, management-relevant modeling approach for projecting how changes in air temperature, precipitation, and groundwater inputs will affect coldwater stream temperatures and brook charr survival and growth in Michigan, USA. Precipitation- and groundwater-corrected models predicted stream temperatures more accurately than air-stream temperature models. Projected stream warming intensified in proportion to simulated air temperature warming and was most extreme in surface runoff-dominated streams with limited groundwater-driven thermal buffering. However, groundwater-dominated streams will not invariably provide sufficient coldwater habitats for brook charr survival and growth if groundwater temperatures increase or groundwater inputs decline due to reduced precipitation. Amid resource limitations, fisheries managers can use the stream temperature modeling approach described herein to predict effects of climate change on brook charr survival and growth and take actions to facilitate their sustainability in riverine systems.
KeywordsBrook charr Climate change Coldwater streams Groundwater Growth Precipitation Survival
The lead author thanks Bruce Vondracek (emeritus USGS Minnesota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Minnesota) for inspiring him to become a fisheries scientist. We thank the Editors and Reviewers for helpful comments that improved this manuscript. We thank Jennifer Moore Myers (United States Forest Service Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center) and Stacy Nelson and Ernie Hain (North Carolina State University) for assisting with air temperature data acquisition and projection models. We thank Kyle Herreman and Wesley Daniel (Michigan State University [MSU]); Troy Zorn, Tracy Kolb, and Todd Wills (Michigan Department of Natural Resources); and Henry Quinlan (United States Fish and Wildlife Service) for assisting in procurement of environmental and brook charr population data for this study. Further, we acknowledge the Programme for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI) and the WCRP’s Working Group on Coupled Modelling for their helpful guidance regarding use of the WCRP CMIP3 multimodel data set. We especially wish to thank Than Hitt (United States Geological Survey) for thought-provoking discussion at the 2015 conference “Advances in the Population Ecology of Stream Salmonids IV” that informed development of this paper. The first author thanks the many donors and funding sources that made it possible to conduct the research leading to this paper, including the University Distinguished Fellowship (MSU), the MSU Graduate School, the MSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, the Robert C. Ball and Betty A. Ball Fisheries and Wildlife Fellowship (MSU), the Schrems West Michigan Chapter of Trout Unlimited Fellowship, the Red Cedar Fly Fishers Graduate Fellowship, and the Fly Fishers International Conservation Scholarship.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Burnham, K. P. & D. R. Anderson, 2002. Model selection and multimodel inference: a practical information-theoretic approach. Springer, New York.Google Scholar
- Dukić, V. & V. Mihailović, 2012. Analysis of groundwater regime on the basis of streamflow hydrograph. Facta Universitatis 10: 301–314.Google Scholar
- Dunham, J., G. Chandler, B. Rieman, and D. Martin, 2005. Measuring stream temperature with digital data loggers: a user’s guide. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-150WWW. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA.Google Scholar
- Enviro-weather Automated Weather Station Network (EAWSN), 2018. Michigan State University. Accessed 13 June 2018, [available on internet at https://mawn.geo.msu.edu/.
- Fry, F. E. J., J. S. Hart & K. F. Walker, 1946. Lethal temperature relations for a sample of young speckled trout, Salvelinus fontinalis, Vol. 54. The University of Toronto Press, Toronto.Google Scholar
- Hayes, D. B., W. W. Taylor, M. Drake, S. Marod & G. Whelan, 1998. The value of headwaters to brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) in the Ford River, Michigan, USA. In Haigh, M. J., J. Krecek, G. S. Rajwar & M. P. Kilmartin (eds), Headwaters: Water Resources and Soil Conservation. Oxford and IBH Publishing Co., New Delhi: 75–185.Google Scholar
- Hayes, D. B., H. Dodd & J. Lessard, 2006. Effects of small dams on cold water stream fish communities. In Nelson, J., J. J. Dodson, K. Friedland, T. R. Hamon, J. Musick & E. Verspoor (eds), Reconciling fisheries with conservation. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda: 587–602.Google Scholar
- IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), 2007. Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II, and III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Geneva: 104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Karas, N., 2015. Brook trout: a thorough look at North America’s great native trout – its history, biology, and angling possibilities. Skyhorse Publishing, New York.Google Scholar
- Knight, K., 2009. Land use planning for salmon, steelhead and trout. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Olympia, Washington. [accessed 4 February 2019]. http://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/00033/wdfw00033.pdf.
- Kurylyk, B. L., S. P. A. Bourque & K. T. B. MacQuarrie, 2013. Potential surface temperature and shallow groundwater temperature responses to climate change: an example from a small forested catchment in east-central New Brunswick (Canada). Hydrology and Earth Systems Sciences 17: 2701–2716.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- McKergow, L., S. Parkyn, R. Collins & P. Pattinson, 2005. Small headwater streams of the Auckland Region. Volume 2: hydrology and water quality. Auckland Regional Council 312: 1–67.Google Scholar
- Neff, B. D., S. M. Day, A. R. Piggott & L. M. Fuller, 2005. Base flow in the Great Lakes basin. U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2005–5217, Reston, Virginia, USA, 23 pp.Google Scholar
- Onset Computer Corporation. 2009. HOBO U22 water temp pro v2: user’s manual. Document 10366-C. Onset Computer Corporation, Bourne, Massachusetts, USA.Google Scholar
- Parry, M., O. Canziani, J. Palutikof, P. van der Linden & C. Hanson, 2007. Climate change 2007: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. International Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report.Google Scholar
- Raleigh, R.F., 1982. Habitat Suitability Index Models: Brook Trout. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Biological Report Number 82, Washington, D.C., USA, 42 pp.Google Scholar
- RStudio. 2015. Boston (MA): RStudio, Inc; [accessed 13 April 2018]. http://www.rstudio.com/.
- Siitari, K. J., W. W. Taylor, S. A. C. Nelson & K. E. Weaver, 2011. The influence of land cover composition and groundwater on thermal habitat availability for brook charr (Salvelinus fontinalis) populations in the United States of America. Ecology of Freshwater Fish 20: 431–437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), 2011. 2011 National survey of fishing, hunting, and wildlife-associated recreation. U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, D.C.: 172.Google Scholar