Live trout found in Severn tributary WEST COUNTY--Crofton * Odenton * Fort Meade * Gambrills

January 07, 1993|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Staff Writer

State officials say they have successfully transplanted wild brook trout into a shallow Severn River tributary diagnosed as dead two years ago.

The state Department of Natural Resources reported recently that 24 healthy trout were found during a Dec. 14 survey of the Jabez Branch between Gambrills and Severn.

Since 1990, the DNR has released more than 200 fish into the Jabez. The Jabez was the last naturally occurring brook trout stream in the Maryland coastal plain.

However, it also resembled streams across the state in suffering the ill effects of development.

Particularly harmful were the loss of trees and surges of warm storm-water runoff from roads, parking lots, open fields and roof tops.

For five years, biologists, highway engineers and environmentalists have sought to save the Jabez's dwindling trout population by organizing community cleanups and installing better storm-water controls along Routes 3 and 32.

Their efforts were to no avail -- two years ago, the trout did not survive.

These 24 survivors are "a real good sign," said Barbara Taylor, executive director of Maryland Save Our Streams, a private nonprofit agency. "Of course, it doesn't mean victory. They still have to show they are able to spawn there."

Ms. Taylor said she's eager for the State Highway Administration to complete an unorthodox erosion-control project on the banks of the stream's left fork.

Highway engineers and DNR biologists plan to fortify the severely eroded banks using tree stumps and other natural materials.

"That should improve the chances for spawning," Ms. Taylor said.

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