Blitzen River redband trout conservation

What is the Problem?

The redband trout on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge are facing new predators.  In 2011, a Caspian tern colony was installed on Malheur Lake (Harney County) and quickly began attracting terns.  Little is known about the impact of the terns on native redband trout residing in Malheur Lake and the Donner und Blitzen River. 


What are we doing?

We are conducting a 5 year study to document the life-history characteristics of redband trout in the Blitzen River basin.

 Key research aspects include:

  • Describing the migratory behavior in redband trout in the system
  • Quantifying habitat characteristics over a range of environmental conditions
  • Describing the fish assemblages in Malheur Lake
  • Describing redband trout population sizes and distributions


This information will be used to understand the importance of migratory behavior in redband trout in relation to Caspian tern predation.  Migratory behavior may play an important role in the survival of these high desert trout but it might also expose them to an increased risk of avian predation.