Rehabilitation of watersheds is used to improve the fish habitat that has been damaged due to human activity. Jacob Ott, Director of Outdoor Pursuits/Naturalist at The Greenbrier Sporting Club, has been assisting Trout Unlimited in a rehabilitation project along a portion of Dunlap Creek. According to Jacob, he has spent the past two years working with Trout Unlimited to secure the permits so this landowner could rehab some portions of Dunlap Creek along his property. This stream suffered from a lack of fish habitat due to historical land use practices.
Historical land use practices involved a stream being straightened and widened, which was a common practice and has been used on “just about everything in our area,” according to Jacob.
The project along Dunlap Creek should allow the native brook trout in the tributaries near this property to use the main-stem of Dunlap throughout a longer period of the year. This will also improve the survivability of stocked trout in this area of the stream. The rehabilitation work all falls under Trout Unlimited’s “Upper James River Home Waters Initiative.”
Brook trout, found throughout North America, are known as eastern brook trout in our region. They inhabit rivers, streams, creeks, spring ponds, as well as small and large lakes. Their native range has been drastically reduced in the east due to habitat loss and the introduction of other trout species. They prefer clear waters on a narrow pH that is well oxygenated with high purity.
To read more about this particular project, click here.
Very similar work has been done on the East Fork of the Greenbrier River by Trout Unlimited and WVDNR and USFWS. That project is part of the “Eastern Home Rivers Initiative.”
All of these projects aim to restore, reconnect, and improve the smaller headwater streams in our area.