High Definition Fish Surveys, Habitat Assessments
Shehawken Creek and Equinunk Creek are tributary streams flowing into the main stem of the Delaware River downstream of the confluence between the Eastern and Western branches of the Delaware River. Both streams are important reproduction streams for wild rainbow and brown trout. The Shehawken Chapter of Trout Unlimited was interested in the High Definition Fish Survey (HDFS) technique to develop citizen science program that would conduct periodic fish surveys in these creeks and other waters in the Upper Delaware watershed. Trutta worked with the Shehawken Chapter of Trout Unlimited to inform members about the HDFS and High Definition Stream Survey (HDSS) techniques and provided the opportunity to complete the HDFS methods on Equinunk Creek. In coordination with the volunteer surveys, Trutta conducted high definition stream surveys of approximately two miles of both Shehawken and Equinunk Creeks using a backpack-mounted system. The surveys took about 1.5 hours each. Trutta subsequently completed a High Definition Fish Survey of Shehawken Creek, documenting underwater aquatic habitat and fish at approximately 100 sites over a 1.5 mile stretch of stream, starting at the confluence with the main stem of the Delaware. The combination of HDSS and HDFS on the streams will allow habitat use, availability and suitability results to be developed and the results will allow TU members to interact with and support fisheries managers in protecting the trout habitat in these important spawning creeks. This project was made possible with funds from the Shehawken chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Embrace-A-Stream program hosted by the national headquarters of Trout Unlimited.