The geographic data which is available for download on this site for free must have originally cost $100’s of millions to assemble — possibly $billions. While some of it might have been gathered for other reasons, water quality regulation and management – i.e. complying with the Clean Water Act – are no doubt responsible for the presence of detailed stream databases in most of the states we cover.
Even more fortunate for us, Trout are treated by the clean water community much like the “canary in the coal mine”. When water quality degrades, trout stop reproducing. So, built into the water regulations are often some specific indications of where trout might reproduce. In some states this is implicit, but in other states trout reproduction is clearly indicated in the datasets.
This is because, in the middle of the last decade, the Federal Government changed water regulations to encourage classifying water by “designated use”. The idea is to identify how the water should be used, and then establish management criteria consistent with this use. In many states, “trout propagation and growth” (i.e. wild trout), or some variation, is the key designated use for cold waters. These data are essentially all new since the original WildTroutStreams.com website was created.
Having said all of this, it also puts trout designation into a political realm. Witness West Virginia where a major battle is going on right now over the definition of a Trout Stream.
One of our current projects has been to systematically search for and publish water quality data for every state we cover.
To access, go to the “Streams” page for the state of interest. There you’ll find a “[STATE] Resources” menu in the sidebar which will take you additional web pages about the state, as well as download links to the data itself.
|CT||Found||Published||Does not specifically break out cold water habitat; not as useful as most other states’ data.|
|DE||N/A||N/A||As there are no WTS in DE, not planning on publishing|
|GA||Found||In Process||GA classifies “Primary” and “Secondary” Trout Streams in the water quality regulations. “Primary” streams support trout reproduction. We’re currently working on providing maps of the primary streams which we hope to publish soon.|
|ME||Found||Pending||Class “B” or better water quality should support wild trout. Except for a small area around Portland, all water in Maine is classified Class B or higher, so in that sense it really doesn’t provide much information. It’s a massive dataset, and I think not as useful as, say, the EBTJV set, so I’ve decided not to publish it.|
|MD||Found||Published (partial)||State published in 2010 series of county maps showing Class III and III-P waters, which are explicitly designated as supporting trout propagation and growth. These are published here. Cannot locate a GIS database with the same data; but we’ve published the county maps as raster overlays that can be used in Google Earth.|
|MA||Found||Published||It took us 7 years, but we finally figured out how to display cold water streams in a GIS format for MA. There is also substantial information available in PDF report form. We’ve collected the most useful of it and made it available for download here.|
|NH||Not Found||Unknown||Haven’t gotten to it yet.|
|NJ||Found||Published||State provides explicit designated use data for cold water habitat.|
|NY||Found||Published||WQS identify “T” (trout) and “TS” (trout spawning) uses. Data appears to be incomplete, as many streams which likely support trout spawning(based on data from other sources) aren’t currently designated as such. Still a useful dataset.|
|NC||Found||Published||The NCDWQ publishes a list which shows about 2x as many streams as are listed by the Wildlife Resources Commission. Both can be downloaded.|
|PA||Found||Published||Published image overlay of CWF and EV streams.|
|RI||Found||Published||Dataset categorizes cold water (trout) and warm water habitat.|
|SC||Found||Unknown||Have found the list of streams. Does not appear to be published in GIS form. Am mulling over what to do.|
|VT||Pending||Unknown||Stream by stream dataset does not appear to be published, though I’m continuing to search.|
|VA||Found||Partially published||Published as a PDF list. A stream by stream GIS dataset does not appear to be published.|
|WV||Found||Published||This is a political hot button. As near as I can make out there are about 650 actual WTS segments in the state, of which the state currently lists about 300, and the governor has proposed cutting to about 175. Truly surreal. We’ve published the original list of 647 stream segments which is still available on a Federal EPA website and a KML database for Google Earth.|