This summer, the Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative in Michigan partnered up with a professor and his graduate students from Grand Valley State University to study brook trout movement in the watershed. Dr. Mark Luttenton, Biology Graduate Program Coordinator, and his students, Justin Wegner and Graeme Zaparzynski, set out to evaluate the response of brook trout to a range of water temperature regimes, specifically summer water temperatures that surpass the temperature for maximum growth (13° C) and upper thermal preference (16° C). They also sought to understand the extent to which brook trout moderate internal body temperatures behaviorally by seeking coldwater refuge and how it relates to diet and fish bioenergetics.
To do so, they implanted 10 brook trout with a temperature sensitive radio transmitter. The transmitter will allow them to track their movements using telemetry and communicate core body temperatures throughout the summer. Every other day, the researchers will locate each fish and collect water temperature data to inform their findings.
Trout Unlimited suggested Cedar Creek in Cedar Springs for the study and facilitated a partnership with the local chapter Schrems West Michigan Trout Unlimited and the Cedar Springs Community Building Development Team, whom helped fund the project. On June 23rd, the research team along with excited community members gathered at Cedar Creek near 15 Mile to watch the surgical implantation of the radio transmitter and subsequent release of the tagged brook trout.
The Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative will use this data to prioritize restoration efforts in the watershed to focus on key trout habitat in the coldwater creek, particularly where groundwater inputs have been identified by the GVSU students