A decision support mapper for conserving stream fish habitats of the Northeast Climate Science Center region
Human impacts occurring throughout the Northeast and Midwest United States, including urbanization, agriculture, and dams, have multiple effects on the region's streams which support economically valuable stream fishes. Changes in climate are expected to lead to additional impacts in stream habitats and fish assemblages in multiple ways, including changing stream water temperatures. To manage streams for current impacts and future changes, managers need region-wide information for decision-making and developing proactive management strategies. Our project met that need by integrating results of a current condition assessment of stream habitats based on fish response to human land use, water quality impairment, and fragmentation by dams and road crossings with estimates of which stream habitats may change in the future. Results are available for all streams in the NE CSC region through a spatially-explicit, web-based viewer (FishTail). With this tool, managers can evaluate how streams of interest are currently impacted by land uses and assess if those habitats may change with climate. These results, available in a comparable way throughout the NE CSC, provide natural resource managers, decision-makers, and the public with a wealth of information to better protect and conserve stream fishes and their habitats.