Wild Trout Private Conservation Initiative
60% of the United States is private land. Private property owners can save sensitive species of fish, wildlife and plants while enhancing the enjoyment and value of their land.
Welcome to a very exciting concept we want to promote to fulfill one of the largest societal and ecological goals of Spring Creek Aquatic Concepts. For years we have been encouraging native species of plants and animals, specifically trout in our habitats. While we emphasize trout here, there are other native fishes that can also use a bit of help. While we have been going about our work quietly we now want to bring more emphasis to this win-win program in which our friends at the high levels of environmental agencies have heartily embraced. Some may be surprised why a business is promoting the concept of fish and wildlife refuge habitat. The answer is simple, because we can, we are uniquely qualified to do so, and it is profitable as well. We enjoy a unique niche for creating some of the highest quality private trout habitat on the planet; thus this calling is one we cannot ignore. We work under the premise that what is good for the land and water is good for our livelihood. Those who are uncomfortable with the profit motive will simply have to stand by and observe the effectiveness of private initiative.
Be assured this is just one type of habitat we offer. We fully support our clients' wishes of course. We are only seeking the most enthusiastic partners for the private trout refuge program. The fish stocked do not have to be at the top of an endangered species list. There are hundreds of trout populations from small very isolated streams that can benefit from a population in safe haven. Nor is our program meant as a complete answer to threatened and endangered species of trout. This program is meant to enhance what is being accomplished in existing wild habitats. Consider our wild trout program as a sort of genetic seed bank. What is valuable here is our habitats support these fish in a completely natural system without artificial feeding and crowding behavior in some fish hatcheries that can alter the wild genetics of the fish.
In the evolution of a fisherwoman or fisherman, there is a natural progression. As a novice, we just dream of landing that first fish, any fish! Once success becomes routine we then follow our ambitions to larger and larger trophy fish. The zenith of the evolution is to go on safari and chase those legendary species that are world famous for their fight and beauty. Gerrard rainbow trout is a Holy Grail race of Columbia Basin redband trout many fishermen call Kamloops trout. The California golden trout is revered as perhaps the most beautiful and difficult to reach trout. There are more subspecies of cutthroat trout than any other trout species put together it seems. Lahontan cutthroat trout of the famed Pyramid Lake reached Herculean proportions. Apache trout and Gila trout evoke spiritual images of the deserts of the American southwest. Salters, Coasters or Nipigon brook trout and aurora trout are all famous and very elusive subspecies and races of brook trout. Sunapee trout are actually a sub-species of arctic charr. Further south are the southern Appalacian brook trout of north Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina.
Take a look at FishEyeGuy's gallery of Wild trout for a bit of inspiration of what can be done.
Years ago we saw a tiny and isolated population of bull trout slide off into oblivion. It was a very frustrating experience to be powerless in this scenario. There was private land nearby that could have been developed into a very productive cold water habitat for young bull trout, but we had no way to find willing participants. Times have changed to where we now enjoy our reputation for eclipsing long held perceptions of trout habitats. There no longer remains a reason for the loss of some of these fish. Imagine the satisfaction a landowner may feel for personally helping save something as precious as a failing endangered trout population.
The best way to illustrate the power of this wild trout refuge program is the share a bit of history. In this case the history is of the Lahontan cutthroat trout of Pyramid Lake, Nevada. The largest cutthroat trout on earth lurked the shores of Pyramid Lake with the largest specimen weighing in at 41 pounds. Due to diversion of the Truckee River the Pyramid Lake population of Lahontan Cutthroats became extinct. The history we understand thus far is a few of these trout were stocked in several small isolated streams in the region in hopes of saving them. One of those streams was at a place called Pilot Peak. in 1977 Dr. Bob Behnke analyzed this isolated population and found them to be either the same or virtually the same as the Pyramid Lake cutthroats. The next step in this story exemplifies our goals here. During the 1980s a pond was built on private land along the stream at Pilot Peak. The Lahontans were established in that pond as a refuge. Finally in 1995 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service employed a deeper genetic analysis and determined these trout were closely related to the Truckee River population lost years earlier. In 2012 a 24 pound Pilot Peak Lahontan was caught in Pyramid Lake. Since these fish are showing up as much larger trout than those previously stocked, we have some affirmation these are the true Pyramid Lake Cutthroats.
To think this is all thanks to the forethought of a few individuals who sought out a tiny refuge for these magnificent trout is incredible. It is our conviction this type of story may be retold for other special populations of trout into the future. How satisfying would it be to be personally involved in saving such unique and ecologically significant fish?
A more serindipitous story played out with the Greenback cutthroat, Colorado's state fish! Way back in the 1880s, a hotel owner stocked these rare trout in the tiny headwater stream of Bear Creek to promote tourism.
Since that time 150 years ago, the rest of the greenbacks were lost due to various reasons. Fortuitously there were no other species of trout for these fish to hybridize thus they remained the last vestige of an iconic trout. Today the State of Colorado is expanding their range thanks to that single act of a man long gone. Had he only known.
As this Private Fish and Wildlife Preserve program gains popularity, we are hearing of more people interested in creating their own charities in order to invest in the land and its biota as a more productive charity than those who simply argue about issues. We ask readers what is a better use for your charitable contributions than saving a species?
A stream designed by Spring Creek
Wildflower Preserve Conservation Initiative
Each of the aquatic habitats we create is much more than trout habitat. The spring fed nature of our lakes, ponds and streams lends itself very well to rare flowering wetland plants
such as the pink Lewis' monkeyflower seen above or the fiery red Indian paintbrush and the delicate amphibious small flower forget-me-not.
As with anything that is rare and beautiful, there is value. One elegant aspect of a trout refuge habitat is its potential for financial appreciation. Again the win-win rises
to the top. The other elegant characteristic is, most of the time, we can still drive up to a one acre pond with garden hose. Is there an interesting irony about helping save a
threatened species with a garden hose?
Native wildflowers, invertebrates (e.g. bees) and amphibians (e.g. frogs) do not require the full extent of the waters we create for rare and sensitive species of fish. In fact a string
of small ponds and meadows measured in feet instead of acres can do wonders for these more mobile species. A good example is a group of backyard landscapes. Think of us and other Biologists
when it comes time to address your own landscape.
images of waters designed by Spring Creek
Local Conservation Efforts We Endorse
The Sea Run Brook Trout Coalition is using eDNA techniques to "sniff out" individual populations of what have become rare "salter" populations of brook trout in the northeast area of the United States. See their Go Fund Me page to help find these remaining char which are an iconic fish for New England
2-minutes can help us save many species & habitats
It is very simple to share this page or any of our pages in your social media page or groups, or link to any of our pages on an internet forum. Every little "like" and "+1" also helps. You can also do it the old fashioned way by talking to friends and interest groups.
A link or mention of any of our pages helps since even our smaller swimming ponds utilize uncommon native plants when they are not large enough to be home to native fish. In fact we design amphibian habitat into many of our small waters.
Following us on social media will give you an idea of what we are currently thinking and opportunities we want to employ for these species.
If you are unsure of assisting a for-profit business, realize this; we invest as much profit as possible back into one activity: research that pays off in new habitat designs to benefit native and threatened species. For each of us, this is much more than our career. This is our passion. We are grateful we can make a living doing what we love.
We invite you to further explore our website for study and consideration. We suggest these topics:
Waterfront property for sale
Cost to build a lake, pond or stream
Pond Building Guide
Lake and Pond Design
IN THE NEWS: Our Senior Fishery Biologist was the Technical Advisor for an important new trophy trout fishing book titled: Big Trout. This book will not only change the way you think of chasing trophy fish, it will cause you to replace those old photos of trophy trout with new photos of even bigger trout.