The Nature Conservancy (TNC) recently completed an unprecedented assessment of almost 14,000 dams in the Northeastern United States. The Northeast Aquatic Connectivity (NAC) project allows fisheries managers and other interested parties to assess dams at multiple scales based on their potential to benefit anadromous and resident fish species if removed or bypassed. This work has continued, with support from NOAA and USFWS, in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, where data refinements and further analysis have produced a web map and tool that allow users to interactively prioritize dams for mitigation at multiple scales and with varying criteria.
The Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP) has recently completed a Flow Alteration Assessment, through which a method for modeling dams was developed. SARP also lists aquatic connectivity as a key objective in its Southeast Aquatic Habitat Plan. The University of Georgia (UGA), working closely with SARP, recently conducted an inventory of barrier databases in the SALCC region and has been working on methods to predict the location of unmapped barriers and the likelihood that each is a blockage to fish passage.
Using the experience and skills gained from these projects, TNC, SARP, and UGA propose to develop a spatially explicit estimate of small (and large) barriers in the SALCC and use them to conduct an assessment of aquatic connectivity. This project will build on previous work, utilizing both methods and data from the above projects, and will be a major advancement towards a consistent assessment of aquatic connectivity across the entire eastern seaboard.
Going beyond the core tasks described in the RFA, the project will also use the data that has been compiled to assess barriers to connectivity for their potential to benefit target aquatic species if mitigated. This prioritization will use metrics derived from connected river networks, land cover data, and biological data to produce a tiered list of barriers. A web map will allow users to interact with and download the project datasets, and will include a prioritization tool integrated into the web map that will enable users to run custom scenarios at various scales and for different target species.
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Potential Metadata Source