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Brook trout restoration: non-native species removal and brook trout reintroduction

Contemporary restoration efforts, projects, and summary

Contemporary restoration is the effort to restore - bring back - native brook trout in a stream where they had been extirpated or greatly reduced. As of 2022, most eastern US states have attempted brook trout restoration, 5 have not.  Brook trout restoration is best done after habitat issues have been addressed, after removal of competing non-native species with fish toxicants or electrofishing, and should ideally be informed by genetic studies. At least one restoration has been done following removal of hatchery strain brook trout.

Data Compiled by Matt Kulp with input from state and agency biologists.



Number (N) of Restoration Projects (% Successful)



Fish Toxicant – Antimycin

Fish Toxicant – Rotenone

Annual Removal Electrofishing

Multiple Removal Electrofishing


No Project


State Agency














National Parks




























See our videos from the recent EBTJV annual meeting!

in April 2022 EBTJV had a membership meeting at NCTC. Videos are now on YouTube.

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Matt Kulp talks about restoration projects

Video of Matt Kulp, Supervisory fishery biologist with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and EBTJV steering committee member, presenting a summary of brook trout restoration efforts to date. Presentation was given at the 2022 annual meeting of EBTJV at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV and virtually. "Restoration of Brook Trout across Their Native Range Using Fish Toxicants and Electrofishing: Are We Successful Ecologically and Socially?"

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Native Brook Trout Restoration

Video: NCWRC biologists spend the day restoring native Brook Trout to headwaters in Haywood County.

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Lynn Camp Prong Brook Trout Restoration, TN_FY11 Project

This project was focused on removing rainbow trout from Lynn Camp Prong and re-stocking this stream with wild southern Appalachian strain Brook Trout,

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Anthony Creek & Little Cataloochee Creek Restoration, TN/NC_FY17 Project

Anthony Creek & Little Cataloochee Creek Restoration, TN/NC_FY17 Project

In Anthony Creek and Cataloochee Creek, non-native Rainbow Trout were removed from 2.8 km (1.75 mi) and 6.4 km (4.0 mi) stretches of stream, respectively; native Brook Trout were collected from streams within Great Smoky Mountains National Park and release them into both creeks; and, Brook Trout populations were monitored in during subsequent years to determine success of this project.

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Eastern Brook Trout restoration summary table

Compilation of brook trout restoration projects and outcomes from across the EBTJV member states and agencies.

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Restoration of brook trout across their native range using fish toxicants and electrofishing: are we successful ecologically and socially?

PDF of PowerPoint presentation by Matt Kulp, fishery biologist with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and coauthors, reviewing historic and contemporary restoration efforts to restore brook trout using toxicants and electrofishing. Matt surveyed state and agency biologists about projects to remove invasive species and replace brook trout. This presentation and associated database describe the outcomes and factors in success and failures.

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Using genetic data to advance stream fish reintroduction science: a case study in brook trout

This study demonstrates the utility of genetic and demographic data for reintroduction efforts, particularly when extant populations are genetically depauperate and maintaining adaptive potential is a primary restoration goal. How- ever, we emphasize the value of continued monitoring at longer temporal and spatial scales to determine the effects of stochastic process on the long-term adaptive capacity and persistence of reintroduced populations. Overall, inclusion of genetic data in reintroduction efforts offers increased ability to meet project goals while simultaneously conserving critical sources of adaptive variation that exist across the landscape.

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Restoring Wild Brook Trout to Passage Creek, VA

Video: DGIF biologists team up with Trout Unlimited and the US Forest Service to reintroduce Brook Trout to the headwaters of Passage Creek.

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Reintroduction of Native Brook Trout into Indian Flats Prong, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Brook trout, the only salmonid native to the southeast, have lost about 75% of their historic range due to past logging activities and introduction of non-native trout. In 1993, the National Park Service identified 10 streams that can support native southern Appalachian brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis). The long term goal is to restore historic range of habitat for this native species.

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