Despite extensive knowledge and data surrounding the status and threats to Yellowstone cutthroat trout there is currently no comprehensive framework for prioritizing conservation of populations and metapopulations (i.e., locations) and potential actions that could be taken in these locations to secure and expand populations, particularly in anticipation of climate change. Through our existing collaboration with state and federal management partners from Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and Montana, we propose to integrate existing information on Yellowstone cutthroat trout status and limiting factors in a spatially-explicit conservation priority framework adapted from a financial portfolio concept aimed at maximizing species persistence in the face of adversity (Schindler et al., 2010; Haak & Williams, 2012) that can be applied to many different species throughout the GNLCC. Using this portfolio concept, we will help managers prioritize conservation actions and then evaluate potential climate adaptation strategies for Yellowstone cutthroat trout by linking high priority conservation populations and actions with existing GNLCC (e.g., NorWeST temperature modeling, Isaak et al. Near completion), Western Native Trout Initiative, and regional information.
Utilize existing Yellowstone cutthroat trout status and distribution data and collaborate with state and local managers to: 1. Develop a portfolio conservation framework for Yellowstone cutthroat trout that prioritizes conservation populations 2. Assess existing threats to populations including habitat fragmentation, habitat degradation and loss, and non-native species 3. Identify and prioritize conservation actions that will reduce existing threats 4. Integrate information regarding population conservation priorities and existing limiting factors with recently developed climate products (e.g., NorWeST) to identify population-specific climate adaptation strategies 5. Identify existing data gaps in knowledge needed to manage and conserve native trout
Use existing Yellowstone cutthroat trout status and distribution data and collaborate with state and local managers to:
- Rank individual threats to Yellowstone cutthroat trout populations by integrating local data within an existing framework successfully used for westslope cutthroat trout.
- Identify areas that will likely be most resilient to climate change or climate change refugia and rank opportunities for reducing factors limiting range expansion and reintroduction across the historical range of Yellowstone cutthroat trout.
- Develop a comprehensive strategy to effectively and efficiently conserve Yellowstone cutthroat trout by merging information and decision rationales regarding population prioritization, ranked threats, and opportunities for species expansion or reintroduction.
FY2015Objectives: Utilize existing Yellowstone cutthroat trout status and distribution data and collaborate with state and local managers to:1. Leverage the existing Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Prioritization Framework which covers portions of Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and Nevada, to identify current data gaps in threat assessments needed to refine and prioritize conservation actions in the context of changing climatic conditions.2. Capitalize on existing data collected over the past 2-3 decades from the Shields River Basin (MT) and the Teton River Basin (ID) to improve our understanding of how climate has and likely will influence the abundance and distribution of Yellowstone cutthroat trout and non-native species.3. Assess the relative importance of existing threats to populations including habitat fragmentation, habitat degradation and loss, non-native species, and changing climatic conditions.4. Use these data to refine the Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Prioritization Framework by providing empirical evidence to better prioritize conservation actions across the range