Elk River Cutthroat Trout Research Initiative

Westslope cutthroat trout (WCT) are a species of great ecological, social and economic importance in the Elk River Watershed. WCT have been designated as a species of special concern under the Federal Species at Risk Act and are Blue-Listed in BC due to concerns regarding introduced species (hybridization and competition), habitat loss and degradation, and increasing exploitation. While there have been a few studies on the Elk River WCT population, there are gaps in the data regarding key habitat, restoration priorities, and population estimates. Without this data it is very difficult to manage the population effectively or implement projects that enhance WCT habitat.
The objectives for this project will address concerns surrounding the Westslope Cutthroat Trout (WCT) population in the Elk River watershed through WCT habitat identification, comprehensive evaluations of restoration opportunities, and the communication of easy-to-understand, current WCT information. By addressing these gaps, fisheries managers, industry and community members will be better able to actively work towards reducing threats and ensuring a sustainable and healthy WCT population. The methods for the project include: conducting redd surveys to identify important spawning and rearing habitat; reviewing and distilling available information in the form of reports and maps to identify key habitat and restoration opportunities; communicating with key members of industry, government and community to help establish restoration priorities; and holding workshops and developing online and print communication materials to increase local community awareness, engagement and knowledge about WCT health, habitat and threats to the population. 


Additional Information
  • To learn more about WCT in the Elk Valley, including: species information, life history forms, habitat preference, and threats facing the population, click here. 
  • To learn more about the WCT Life Cycle, click here.
  • To learn about how to identify a WCT redd (or nest), click here.
  • To learn about what YOU can do to help protect WCT during spawning season, click here.