2015 National Assessment of Fluvial Fish Habitats: Improving Opportunities for Conservation and Management
The National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP) promotes conservation of fish habitats throughout the United States. In 2010, we completed an initial assessment of fluvial fish habitats for NFHP and are currently conducting a refined assessment for 2015. Objectives include improving the utility of results and characterizing changes that have occurred since 2010. We’ve compiled new landscape disturbance data including national coverages of mines, metrics of river fragmentation by dams, and updated land use data. We’ve also compiled more recent and comprehensive stream fish data to better understand how disturbances limit habitats. To improve assessment utility, we have integrated summary of disturbances within 90 m buffers for all streams of the Nation, and we are using two complimentary threshold approaches to better characterize how fish respond to disturbances. Results indicate that in some streams, human land uses in buffers is more detrimental to stream fishes than land use summarized in catchments. Also, urban and agricultural land uses have increased in regions, with these changes contributing to more degraded habitats compared to those detected in 2010. Together, these results offer a refined look at habitat condition in U.S. rivers and will enable NFHP to better prioritize fish habitats for conservation and management.