River restoration seeks to recover aquatic ecosystem functions lost from historic impacts. However, restoration actions must also consider the potential complicating effects of climate change. Here I will present the results from two studies of brook trout restoration in the Appalachian region. First, I will describe a process for identifying watershed restoration priorities within the context of expected impacts from climate change. This process can be used to direct resources towards restoration actions that have the greatest potential for producing benefits to brook trout populations under threat from climate change. Second, I will present results from a long-term assessment of restoration actions in the upper Shavers Fork, WV designed to recover brook trout populations and build resilience to future impacts from climate change. Our results indicate that targeted watershed scale restoration actions can be used to re-establish connectivity among tributary populations and larger, productive main stem rivers that may be vulnerable to future warming. The synthesis of these two studies together is used to propose a path for conserving cold-water ecosystems in the face of climate change.
Instructor Dr. J. Todd Petty is a Professor of Aquatic Sciences at West Virginia University and serves as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources & Design. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Virginia (1990), and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Forest Resources and Ecology from the University of Georgia (1994, 1998). Todd joined the WVU faculty in 2000, where he teaches courses in river ecology, watershed restoration, and vertebrate population dynamics. Dr. Petty and his graduate students study watershed scale processes influencing water quality and stream fish and invertebrate assemblages in Appalachian river ecosystems.
This presentation is supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Award Number OIA-1458952.
The series is organized by the non-profit Capstone Group, Inc. (www.capstonegroupinc.org), in cooperation with the Institute of Water Security and Science at West Virginia University (https://iwss.wvu.edu).
Funding for this series is provided by the Walmart Foundation and its affiliate store in Triadelphia, WV.
Additional support is provided by Ohio County Public Library.