Application and testing of a procedure to evaluate transferability of habitat suitability criteria

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Abstract

A procedure designed to test the transferability of habitat suitability criteria was evaluated in the Cache la Poudre River, Colorado. Habitat suitability criteria were developed for active adult and juvenile rainbow trout in the South Platte River, Colorado. These criteria were tested by comparing microhabitat use predicted from the criteria with observed microhabitat use by adult rainbow trout in the Cache la Poudre River. A one-sided X2 test, using counts of occupied and unoccupied cells in each suitability classification, was used to test for non-random selection for optimum habitat use over usable habitat and for suitable over unsuitable habitat. Criteria for adult rainbow trout were judged to be transferable to the Cache la Poudre River, but juvenile criteria (applied to adults) were not transferable. Random subsampling of occupied and unoccupied cells was conducted to determine the effect of sample size on the reliability of the test procedure. The incidence of type I and type II errors increased rapidly as the sample size was reduced below 55 occupied and 200 unoccupied cells. Recommended modifications to the procedure included the adoption of a systematic or randomized sampling design and direct measurement of microhabitat variables. With these modifications, the procedure is economical, simple and reliable. Use of the procedure as a quality assurance device in routine applications of the instream flow incremental methodology was encouraged.

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