Why You Should Care
Unfortunately, historical land uses have taken a toll on our landscape, greatly diminishing the presence of brook trout throughout its native range. Today it is estimated that less than 9% of the areas that historically supported brook trout are intact. Most brook trout are relegated to headwater streams, where forest cover is still prevalent. Unable to thrive in poor quality water or degraded habitats, brook trout are excellent indicators of clean water and healthy aquatic systems. Their disappearance within a watershed indicates environmental decline. The documented decline of brook trout throughout their eastern range should serve as a warning about the state of our nation’s waters.
The situation is certainly not hopeless. Through a coordinated and focused effort, we have a unique opportunity to reverse the trend of brook trout decline by restoring habitat and improving water quality, to benefit both brook trout and human habitat for generations to come.The brook trout is an American symbol of persistence, adaptability, and the pristine wilderness that covered North America prior to European settlement. It is the only native trout that inhabits the cold, clear streams of the eastern United States. It is the state fish in many eastern states and is a prized sport fish by anglers. It is truly a heritage fish species.