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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

“FISHTAIL: A decision support mapper for conserving stream fish habitats of the NE CSC region”

Wednesday, March 11, 2015 | 11:30 am
134 Morrill Science Center Conference Room (speaker will present remotely)
Wes Daniel and Nick Sievert, Univ. Missouri
Wes Daniel, Postdoctoral Affiliate, Michigan State University
Nick Sievert, Graduate Student, University of Missouri
Dana Infante, Associate Professor, Michigan State University
Craig Paukert, USGS Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

The Northeast Climate Science Center (NE CSC) region includes 22 states and over 1.2 million stream kilometers.  Some of the most densely-populated areas of the US are located in this region, and, in 2010, 40% of its streams were assessed as being at risk for habitat degradation due to urbanization, agriculture, and other human land uses. Climate change is expected to further alter the region’s stream habitats which support diverse and economically-valuable stream fishes. Comprehensive understanding of both current and future condition of stream habitats is essential for conserving and managing fishes and their habitats, and managers require the ability to integrate such information in a spatially-continuous and scalable format to aid management decisions. To help address that need, we are developing a web-based decision support viewer named “FISHTAIL”. The FISHTAIL viewer will integrate results of both a current condition assessment of stream habitats based on fish response to human land use, water quality impairment, and fragmentation by large dams and road crossings with a future condition assessment identifying which stream habitats may change with regionally-projected future climate. For this presentation, we will present results of the human land use and fragmentation assessments, highlighting limiting disturbances to habitats as well as species response to specific disturbances in key regions of the NECSC.  FISHTAIL will deliver the results and serve as a tool to help natural resource managers, decision-makers, and the public better protect and conserve stream fishes and their habitats now and into the future in the NE CSC region.


Wesley Daniel is a post-doctoral research associate in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University. His research interest includes aquatic landscape ecology and urban ecology, with focuses on modeling anthropogenic land use alteration of fish and unionid mussel communities. His additional ongoing research includes a nationwide assessment of the human effects on fish habitat in the fluvial bodies of the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii as part of the National Fish Habitat Partnerships (NFHP) 2015 Inland Assessment.

Nick Sievert is a PhD student in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences at the University of Missouri.  He is interested in stream fish conservation, with focuses on the use and development of systematic conservation planning techniques and the assessment of climate change impacts.  Additional ongoing research includes a vulnerability assessment of Missouri stream fish, an evaluation of Missouri's conservation networks for stream fish conservation, and a conservation prioritization of stream fish habitat in the Upper Colorado River Basin.

Dana Infante is an Associate Professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University.  Her research expertise is in the area of aquatic landscape ecology, and she has served as PI on multiple large-scale projects to understand landscape influences on river habitats and fishes. Examples include a national assessment of river habitats for the National Fish Habitat Partnership and a national Aquatic GAP Analysis to broadly characterize conservation needs of stream fishes.  Through these projects, she has also been involved in efforts compiling and managing large datasets to understand influences on river systems, and accomplishments include development of a national characterization of stream network fragmentation metrics by large dams developed and a project to assemble information on stream temperature data from 22 states.

Craig Paukert is the leader of the USGS Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.  His research interest include conservation and management of rivers and streams at multiple spatial scales.  He has several ongoing projects related to how climate change may affect fish and floodplain habitats in streams to large rivers, identifying reference reaches in Missouri streams, the role of mid-sized rivers for fish conservation, and helping identify instream flow needs to make better informed resource management decisions.