Bull trout picture, credit: U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Designating Waters for Native Char Protection

Protection of Spawning and Early Tributary Rearing of Char

System for Identifying Char Waters

Using the information about the stream order and elevation of known spawning streams, Ecology developed the following proposed system for determining which water bodies should be protected for char. This system is used in all of the watersheds with known spawning areas or with suspected spawning populations identified by the USFW 1999 “Washington Distinct Population Segment – Bull Trout Subpopulation” map.

  1. Protection of all known char spawning streams.

    The “known char spawning streams” are those streams identified by WDFW in either the “bullchar” database or in WDFW’s 1998 Salmonid Stock Inventory (SaSI). If other streams are identified as known spawning streams during this rule-making process, they will also be included.
     
  2. Protection of all streams upstream of known char spawning streams.

    These are the streams upstream of those locations identified in (1) above.

  3. All 3rd order streams and their tributaries if they join a 4th order stream.

    As discussed earlier, native char spawning areas are concentrated in 1st-3rd order streams. This part of the system includes certain 3rd order streams and their tributaries (i.e. the 1st and 2nd order streams). It does not include the lower elevation 3rd order streams that join a 5th or higher order river. The known spawning areas generally did not include these lower elevation 3rd order streams, so they were not included in the filter.

    Some 1st and 2nd order streams are not protected by this filter. These include 1st and 2nd order streams that directly flow into a 4th or higher order streams, except at outlined below in (4). The known spawning areas generally did not include these 1st and 2nd order streams that flow into 4th or higher order streams, so they were not included in the filter.

  4. Protection of all 2nd order streams and their tributaries if they join a 4th order stream and they are above a stream protected by sections (1), (2), or (3).

    This part of the filter captures the higher elevation 2nd and 1st order streams that are used for char spawning.

    Elevation Exception: The default system described in (3) and (4) above is not applied to streams below 2000 feet on the east side of the Cascades or below 700 feet on the west side of the Cascades.

    Known spawning locations and all streams upstream of known spawning locations will be protected regardless of their elevation. [In other words, elevation can prevent a stream from being covered under (3) and (4), but not under (1) or (2)]. This part of the system reflects the fact that about 94% of known spawning streams are above 2000 feet on the east side and 700 feet on the west side.

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Last updated July 2003