Typically, invasive species get cast as villains, coming into places and upending the native plants and animals.
But as I was checking in on plans to reduce the amount of trout being stocked in Lake Champlain by New York’s hatcheries, I found that sometimes invasive species might have unexpectedly positive roles.
Hatchery officials who once worried they weren’t stocking enough trout now have to worry they’ll stock too many, because the trout are beginning to breed on their own in the lake. There are now perhaps 100,000 or 200,000 trout in the lake. Too many trout in one lake could collapse the food chain, if too many eat too much.
Why? Some new theories suggest Lake Champlain trout may be rebounding in part of changes in the lake driven by invasive species giving them new food and forcing them to breed in better parts of the lake.
Those twin changes — the rebound of wild trout in the lake and the potential role of invasive species in that rebound — prompted a quick piece that’s now online from the current print issue of Adirondack Explorer, which you can read here.
Photo of lake trout courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
This first appeared in Ry’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.