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Brook Trout Found in Former Cranberry Marsh Turned Recovered Habitat in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Brook trout found in Beaver Brook near Spooner, Wis., show that efforts to reclaim a cranberry marsh are producing results.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fisheries biologists say that two six-inch brook trout were found in May in a cranberry marsh. Seven more were found later in the summer, ranging from 2.5 to 7.5 inches.

The trout of varying size showed that the first two fish were likely not just “errant visitors” to the rehabilitated area, say officials

“Initially, it was believed the area would not be able to sustain trout due to warm water temperatures,” said Craig Roberts, DNR fisheries biologist for Washburn County.

“Even though we didn’t think trout could survive in the area, we believed rehabilitation work would increase water quality and benefit downstream trout populations. After several years of monitoring, we were all pleasantly surprised to find that trout appear to be settling in.”

In 2003, DNR and the Department of Transportation purchased property known as Badger Cranberry that holds the small stream as an addition to the DNR-owned Beaver Brook Wildlife Area. The 541-acre addition to Beaver Brook contained 81 acres of old cranberry marsh and a six-acre flowage that was historically the upper reaches of a trout stream.

In the summer of 2008, removal of the flowage dam, dikes, and draining of the cranberry marshes took place in hopes of restoring the trout stream, wetlands and a native plant community.

Officials caution that finding the trout doesn’t mean that the fish are permanently established in the brook. However, they say it is a positive sign that the trout are in the restored area.

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Brook Trout Found in Former Cranberry Marsh Turned Recovered Habitat in Wisconsin