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Title: Catchment scale influences on brown trout fry populations in the Upper Ure catchment, North Yorkshire
Author: Higgins, David Ian
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2011
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A multi-scale approach for restoration site selection is presented and applied to an upland catchment, the River Ure, North Yorkshire. Traditional survey methods, advances in remote sensing, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and risk-based fine sediment modelling using the SCIMAP module are combined to gather data at the catchment-scale through to the in-stream habitat-scale. The data gathered have been assessed against spatially distributed brown trout fry populations using Pearson’s correlation and multiple stepwise regressions. Fine sediment was shown to have a positive correlation with fry populations when upland drainage channels (grips) were added to the SCIMAP model. This suggests risk from peatland drainage is realised further down the catchment where eroded sediments are deposited. Farm-scale SCIMAP modelling was tested against farmers’ knowledge with variable results. It appears there is a cultural response to risk developed over generations. Management of meadows and pasture land through sub-surface drainage and stock rotation resulted in the risk being negated or re-routed across the holding. At other locations apparently low-risk zones become risky through less sensitive farming methods. This multi-scale approach reveals that the largest impacts on brown trout recruitment operate at the habitat-adjacent scale in tributaries with small upstream areas. The results show a hierarchy of impact, and risk-filters, arising from different intensity land management. This offers potential for targeted restoration site selection. In low-order streams it seems that restoration measures which exclude livestock, and provide bankside shading, can be effective. At such sites the catchment-scale shows a reduced signal on in-stream biota. Thus, brown trout stocks could be significantly enhanced by targeting restoration at riffle-habitat zones and adjacent land in order to disconnect the stream from farm-derived impacts and through adding structure to the stream channel.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Hydrology ; catchment ; brown trout ; instream ecology ; ecology ; ecohydrology ; SCIMAP ; land use ; farming ; scale ; River Ure ; Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust ; salmonids ; macroinvertebrates