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Geologic influences on Apache trout habitat in the White Mountains of Arizona


Long, Jonathan W.; Medina, Alvin L. 2006. Geologic influences on Apache trout habitat in the White Mountains of Arizona. Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Sciences. 38(2): 88-101.

Geologic variation has important influences on habitat quality for species of concern, but it can be difficult to evaluate due to subtle variations, complex terminology, and inadequate maps. To better understand habitat of the Apache trout (Onchorhynchus apache or O. gilae apache Miller), a threatened endemic species of the White Mountains of eastcentral Arizona, we reviewed existing geologic research to prepare composite geologic maps of the region at intermediate and fine scales. We projected these maps onto digital elevation models to visualize combinations of lithology and topography, or lithotopo types, in three-dimensions. Then we examined habitat studies of the Apache trout to evaluate how intermediate-scale geologic variation could influence habitat quality for the species. Analysis of data from six stream gages in the White Mountains indicates that base flows are sustained better in streams draining Mount Baldy. Felsic parent material and extensive epiclastic deposits account for greater abundance of gravels and boulders in Mount Baldy streams relative to those on adjacent mafic plateaus. Other important factors that are likely to differ between these lithotopo types include temperature, large woody debris, and water chemistry. Habitat analyses and conservation plans that do not account for geologic variation could mislead conservation efforts for the Apache trout by failing to recognize inherent differences in habitat quality and potential.

Keywords: Apache trout, Onchorhynchus apache, habitat, White Mountains, Arizona, geologic variation


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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Geologic influences on Apache trout habitat in the White Mountains of Arizona
Electronic Publish Date: March 14, 2008
Last Update:
March 14, 2008

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