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Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture

“Healthy, fishable brook trout populations throughout their historical range”

Read a September 2011 Update from the Georgia TU Council’s Back the Brookie Project (pdf)

The Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture is a diverse group of partners, including state fish and wildlife agencies, federal resource agencies, academic institutions and private sector conservation organizations who are working to conserve Eastern brook trout and their habitats. In Georgia, these stakeholders are Georgia TU, the Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division, and the Chattahoochee National Forest.

The EBTJV coordinates efforts that build private and public partnerships to improve brook trout habitat and restore its populations. The long-term goals of the EBTJV are to implement a comprehensive conservation strategy to improve aquatic habitat, raise public awareness, and prioritize the use of federal, state and local funds for brook trout conservation.

This partnership has already produced a range-wide population assessment of brook trout; completed extensive work that identifies key threats to brook trout and their habitats; and developed conservation strategies to protect, enhance and restore brook trout. (Brook trout native to Georgia are Southern Appalachian brook trout, which range from Georgia to the mountains in the western portion of the state of Virginia. They are genetically different than Northern Brook Trout and have been added to the list of state symbols as Georgia’s Cold Water Game Fish.)

As part of this partnership, Rabun TU provides financial support for hiring college student interns through Trout Unlimited’s national program, Back-the-Brookie, to work with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Chattahoochee National Forest to help with monitoring and habitat improvements in Georgia brook trout streams. Chapter volunteers also do in-stream work under the direct supervision of fisheries professionals to provide structures in brook trout waters in the area. Georgia has 84 brook trout streams supporting more than 142 miles of wild brook trout water.

For more information please visit the EBTJV website and download this newsletter of the EBTJV Southeast Division, which describes the Georgia Council TU Chapters’ role in funding habitat improvements and Back-The-Brookie interns in the state.

“Backing the Brookie” in Rabun County

In April 2010, the chapter combined a Friday night camp-out with a Saturday morning workday in support of “Back the Brookie.” Eight TU members camped out on Moccasin Creek, cooked on the grill, and enjoyed time around the campfire, entertained by Nugget Nixon. All was well until rain started at around 3 am.  Light rain continued until breakfast and then let up.  Alex Watson, Conservation Chairman for Georgia Back-the-Brookie, ate dinner and then returned the next morning to work on the project.

USFS and other TUers showed up around 9:00 AM Saturday morning for a total of 17 participants (6 USFS & 11 TUers). Mike Brod and David Vinson led the project and brought along tools and four firefighters from Oregon, providing needed muscle to move the huge log put in place. Three other TU chapters participated in the project, including Kanooka, Cohutta, and the Upper Chattahoochee.  Seven Rabun members participated in the event. Truvy and Charlie Brown were official camp dogs.

The group constructed a dam that constricted the flow to one side of the bank and then placed a cover log below a root wad, providing both depth and cover for the brook trout in the stream.