Title

Surveying professional opinion to inform bull trout recovery and management decisions

Publication Date

2008

Keywords

fish passage, mechanisms, monitoring, restoration, strategy, survey, trout

Journal or Book Title

Fisheries

Abstract

Increasing concerns about management and recovery of the threatened bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) prompted the Bull Trout Committee of Western Division American Fisheries Society to survey scientists working most closely with bull trout in Pacific Northwest drainages of the contiguous United States. We solicited scientific and judgment-based assessments regarding current status and future trends, limiting factors, effectiveness of restoration strategies and regulatory mechanisms, and information gaps. The survey was sent to 235 biologists, with the majority of the responses coming from Montana, Oregon, and Washington. Respondents indicated fish passage, forest management practices, and normative species interactions are the primary factors limiting bull trout populations, and these issues were identified as the primary recovery challenges in the foreseeable future. Survey results indicated large information gaps in our understanding of bull trout population dynamics, monitoring and evaluation, and community interactions. Finally, survey respondents across demographic groups identified the listing under the Endangered Species Act as the single most important regulatory action benefiting bull trout. We conclude online surveys of professional opinions can be useful for guiding future management decisions, identifying research needs, understanding the relative importance of potential limiting factors, and evaluating the effectiveness of different regulatory mechanisms

Pages

18-28

Volume

33

Issue

1

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