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CONFERENCE SCHEDULE UPDATES & CHANGES: As a result of the prolonged government shutdown, we experienced a number of cancellations and changes to the schedule. Cancellations and changes are listed here (as of January 26, 2019). 

Monday, January 28 • 2:20pm - 2:40pm
(SYMPOSIA-06) Early Successional Habitats in Riparian Zones

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AUTHORS: Brent A. Rudolph, Ruffed Grouse Society and American Woodcock Society

ABSTRACT: Optimal trout habitat consists of clear water with low silt and fine sediments, high dissolved oxygen, and cold, relatively stable temperatures, and well-vegetated, stable stream banks. Though sunlight can enhance stream productivity, small trout streams in particular are considered optimal at 50% to 75% midday shade. To maintain these conditions, fisheries and forestry managers often apply stream buffers within which many or all silvicultural treatments are restricted or entirely prohibited. These buffers may be universally applied regardless of stream geomorphology or potential trout production, and justified as necessary safeguards of any potential enhancement of fish production. This static application of constraints on forest management, however, may exacerbate the already considerable concern regarding recent declines of early successional habitat and associated disturbance-dependent wildlife species in the eastern United States. Some habitat types highly preferred by ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) and American woodcock (Scolopax minor) are highly ephemeral, and providing a sufficient amount, size, and distribution of habitat patches depends upon well-planned and sustainable rotational cutting to provide the necessary disturbance. In this presentation, I will describe the increasing obstacles forestry and wildlife managers face when attempting to apply the even-aged management most effective at producing grouse and woodcock habitat on both private and public land, and demonstrate why riparian habitats in particular are important for grouse and especially woodcock. I will then review the variable management policies regarding application of stream buffers by land management agencies in the upper Midwest/Great Lakes region, and demonstrate how different riparian buffers intersect with key forest types and restrict opportunities to create habitat. I will encourage managers to ensure that buffers are evaluated or at least objectively planned and implemented to consider such management implications in addition to promoting high quality fisheries.

Monday January 28, 2019 2:20pm - 2:40pm

Attendees (12)