Brook trout are an indicator species. Brook trout populations provide an indication of the health of the streams they live in. Trout Unlimited has a Back the Brookie campaign aimed at correcting the pollution sources that are fouling the mountain streams where brookies once thrived.
Acid rain appears to be a significant factor. Twenty years ago many power companies and their supporters denied that acid rain was caused by air-born pollution. Apparently there is consensus that pollution is responsible (will global warming follow a similar path?)
I’ve spent many wonderful hours in mountain streams in GA, SC, NC, TN, VA, and WV. Beyond the beauty of these places, mountain streams in the East are a significant source of clean water for the East Coast.
I applaud Trout Unlimited for working to improve the water quality in these streams.
Link: Back the Brookie.
In the clean, cold, crystal clear streams these fish call home, they are a living jewel, sprinkled and scattered throughout mountainous waters from Georgia to Maine.
Their presence in a stream is a sign of good water quality and a healthy, functional, watershed.
Unfortunately, native brook trout are declining throughout much of their historic range. Acid rain, sediment in our streams, habitat damage, and non-native fish threaten the future of this beautiful creature. Brook trout are considered an aquatic “canary in the coal mine”…in other words, their disappearance may be an early signal that our streams (and the watersheds which purify our water) are in trouble.