Strategy RC1.7: Incorporate the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture datasets into development review and comprehensive planning.
The GroWNC region contains some of the last remaining watersheds with wild, healthy, reproducing populations of North Carolina's only native trout, Salvelinus fortinalis, also known as the eastern brook trout, or locally as the speckled trout. Eastern brook trout are indicator species and can signify the health of an ecosystem in which it lives. It's also one of the most widely-spread temperature-sensitive aquatic species in the East. This makes them good indicators for understanding the effects of climate change.
The Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture, a partnership between federal and state wildlife agencies, the private sector, and conservation organizations, has identified the historic extent of brook trout as well as watersheds and sub-watersheds where surviving populations exist. The project has also identified areas where viable populations can weather potential increases in temperature due to climate change. The Joint Venture data should be used to educate elected officials, private interests, and citizens about sub-watersheds that are most likely to support native brook trout currently and in the future. Additional regulations or incentives could be used to encourage site design criteria that mitigate the impact of new development on these streams. The data should be incorporated into the Linking Lands and Communities Water Quality Assessment.