Oregon State University has been studying cutthroat trout in the Oregon Coast Range for a decade to find out how they’ve fared under modern logging practices. They compared the numbers of trout in the watersheds of Needle Branch, where logging occurred in 2009, and the unharvested Flynn Creek.
Nearly all of the trees were cut in the headwaters area of Needle branch, with the exception of a buffer strip along the stream. Researchers found that the number of cutthroat trout in Needle Branch actually increased after the tree harvest when compared to the trout in Flynn.
Doug Bateman, lead author of the OSU paper, says it’s possible that increases in sunlight or increased export of invertebrates from upstream areas contributed to the healthy fish population in the logged area.
Short of saying that logging may have helped the population of fish, researchers were able to confidently say that the cutthroat trout were not negatively affected by logging activities. Results of the study were published earlier this year by the journal Forestry Ecology and Management.