Objectives Should Dictate Methods in Managing Stream Habitat for Fish
Fisheries Bioengineering Symposium: American Fisheries Society Symposium 10
Colt J;White RJ;
American Fisheries Society
Objectives are desired future results of management. Effective planning of stream habitat management begins with broad, long-term objectives, such as 'good fishing' and 'health of stream and riparian ecosystems,' which provide indefinite but fundamental guidance. Following from these is a continuum of intermediate and specific objectives, which are subordinate and contribute to attainment of the broad objectives. In habitat management, as in other fields, losing sight of (or never developing) broad objectives is common, often because of overorientation toward methods. Selection of methods should derive from objectives, not the other way around. Specific objectives, hence methods, while being consistent with broad objectives, should also be based on the fundamentals of ecology and physical science, on needs of the target species and of the ecosystem's full biotic community, on character of the specific stream and riparian area, and on values held by fishers. Fish abundance, angler satisfaction, and ecosystem health can probably be maximized and balanced with each other by promoting the physical and biological features and processes that occur and operate most often in nature - the stream attributes to which fish are adapted. As programs progress, objectives and methods can be improved. Objectives should be limited in number and mutually compatible, but a full range of objectives helps prioritize management phases and keeps managers aware of related parts of larger ecosystems; it is important to protect and restore floodplains and riparian zones before working on the channel. Channel stabilization is an objective that may often have been carried too far.