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The habitats of the Southeast Atlantic states range from the mountains and uplands in the Blue Ridge and Piedmont areas in the western portion of this region to the Southeastern and Coastal Plains. Fish habitats in the higher elevation regions are typically fast-moving, clear, coldwater streams originating from seeps and springs, while warmwater rivers of the plains carry more organic material and sediment. This diversity of habitats along a very long period of stable geologic activity produces one of the most diverse assemblages of aquatic species in the nation. The Altamaha, Chattahoochee, Flint, Savannah, Catawba, Pee Dee, Broad, and Neuse are major rivers of the region. There are a large number of dams on waterways...
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In the mostly arid Southwestern United States, water availability (hydrology – a key fish habitat process), wildfires, and grazing intensity are important disturbances that are known to have major, negative effects on fish habitats. While this assessment indicated that many of the streams in this region are in good condition, a number of key habitat variables (i.e. water availability, wildlife frequency and intensity, and grazing intensity) could not be directly included in this assessment because national datasets of these disturbances and their measured variable are unavailable. Their absence from this assessment, along with absences of other disturbances, has likely produced an overestimation of habitat condition...
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Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota border four of the five Great Lakes (lakes Michigan, Superior, Huron, and Erie) and have over 150,000 miles of rivers and streams and 50,000 inland lakes within their boundaries. The upper Mississippi River flows through the Upper Midwest states, from its headwaters in Minnesota along the boundary between Minnesota and Wisconsin. Much of the region has deep glacial deposits which has a tremendous influence over the habitat types and water flow (hydrology), providing for some of the most stable river flows in the United States. An exception to the glaciated region is a unique region of deeply carved unglaciated river valleys known as “The Driftless Area” which located in southwestern...
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While fish habitat was found to be generally to be at very low or low risk of degradation in this mostly arid western region of the United States, water availability (hydrology – a key fish habitat process and driver of fish habitat) could only be partly examined using the available datasets in this Assessment. The lack of information on the status of water flow in many basins has led them being overestimated in fish habitat quality, even if streams in these basins are actually dry most of year. Additionally, data availability for grazing intensity, another key landscape use, is also unavailable, and has also created situations where the Assessment overestimates habitat quality. Despite such absences, impairment...
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While this assessment has found that many of the inland streams were at a low or very low risk of degradation, some fish habitat disturbances, including water diversions, timber harvest practices, and intensity of livestock grazing in watersheds, could not be directly included in this assessment because national datasets of these disturbances and their component variables are unavailable. These disturbances are known to have major, negative effects on fish habitats in this region. Their absence from this assessment, along with absences of other disturbances, has likely produced an overestimation of habitat condition (quality) for some water bodies. These gaps need to be kept in mind while examining the results....
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The Central Mississippi River states contain the confluences of the Upper Mississippi River with the Ohio, Missouri, and Arkansas rivers. Alteration of these large rivers for transportation and flood control has substantially altered their ecological characteristics, eliminating natural floodplains, sandbars, and meanders, and impeding fish migration routes. Other major tributary rivers include the Tennessee, Cumberland, Kentucky, and Osage, all very large rivers in their own right. Large reservoirs are common in the landscape of this region and have increased recreational opportunities for sportfish as well as many other activities, but typically suffer from dissolved oxygen issues in both the reservoirs and in...
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While this assessment has found that much of the stream habitat in this region is at low or very low risk of degradation, some key fish habitat disturbances, including water withdrawals or diversions and intensity of livestock grazing in watersheds, could not be directly included in this assessment because national datasets of these disturbances and their supporting variables are unavailable. These disturbances are known to have major, negative effects on fish habitats in this region. Their absence from this assessment, along with absences of other disturbances, has likely produced an overestimation of habitat condition (quality) for some water bodies. Despite such absences, impairment to fish habitats was determined...
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The largest of the eight main Hawaii Islands— Hawai’i, Maui, Molokai, O’ahu, and Kaua’i—have well-defined watersheds and perennial streams. There are 376 perennial streams on these islands, most of which start high in the mountains and high numerous waterfalls before they reach the ocean. Forty large stream systems form small stream-mouth estuaries at their confluence with the ocean. These estuaries are critical transition points for migratory fish species and represent the connecting point between inland and coastal systems. They are also important nursery habitat for many coastal marine reef fish during key life stages. Furthermore, Hawaii’s aquatic resources are considered to be absolutely...
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The landscape of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico States ranges from the plateaus and highlands of northern Alabama to the coastal marshes along the Gulf, with the dominant inland forest type being pine and oak forests. This variety of habitats allows for a high diversity of fish species as evidenced by Alabama alone being home to more than 450 fish species. Over 64 percent of the inland fish habitat of Eastern Gulf Coast states is estimated to be at low or very low risk of degradation. While only 19 percent of the stream area in this region was estimated to be at high or very high risk, factors that threaten aquatic resources in the region are diverse and significant areas have been substantially altered as a result...
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While the overall assessment indicated that fish habitat in this region is some of the most threatened in the United States, some of the key fish habitat forming processes, such as water flow (hydrology) and grazing intensity, could not be fully included in this assessment as there are no national coverages for all of the supporting data needed to properly examine these processes. As a result, habitat condition (quality) has likely been overestimated for some systems in this region and the risk of degradation is likely higher than estimated. It is expected that future national assessments will include information on more of the key habitat processes as resources and data are available. The results from this assessment...
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In general, the northern portion of this region, such as Maine, upper Vermont and New Hampshire, and the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains in New York, are at lower risk of current degradation than the southern areas, where population pressures are more intense. Overall, 53 percent of the stream miles in the Northeastern States have a low or very low risk of habitat degradation. However, the Northeastern States have experienced extensive alteration and loss of aquatic habitats in many areas. As a result, 32 percent of the stream miles have high or very high risk of aquatic habitat degradation and the region is one of the most threatened in the conterminous United States. The most common disturbances in the region...
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Alaska is the largest state in the United States (586,412 square miles) and has a diverse array of fish habitats including most of the nation’s intact and highest condition fish habitat. Alaska has an estimated 46,882 miles of coastal shoreline, more than 3 million lakes, and at least 365,000 miles of rivers and streams. Pacific salmon (five species), pollock, halibut, Pacific cod, king crab, and many other species support robust subsistence, recreational, and commercial fisheries, nearly all of which come from self-sustaining wild populations. For Alaskans, fishing is an integral part of their heritage and culture and an important means of supporting their families. The inland assessment for Alaska focuses on...
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The Central Midwest states influence some of the nation’s major rivers, such as the Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Des Moines, Wabash, and Illinois Rivers. These states also border lakes Michigan and Erie, and contain numerous reservoirs, impoundments, and smaller natural lakes. The Central Midwest states have experienced nearly two centuries of urban expansion, manufacturing, agriculture, and mineral extraction. As an example, of the 26,000 miles of streams and rivers in Illinois, only 240 acres of stream and river habitat are now considered high quality natural areas. These factors influenced this assessment, which estimated that 67 percent of the Central Midwestern river and stream miles have a high or very...
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The majority of streams, particularly in the headwater reaches, in the Mid-Atlantic States have a low risk of current habitat degradation using the factors assessed, with most of these streams located in heavily-wooded West Virginia, Delmarva Peninsula, southern New Jersey, rural portions of central and eastern Virginia, and central Pennsylvania. Overall, 55 percent of the rivers and streams in the mid-Atlantic fall into the low and very low categories of risk of habitat degradation from the factors assessed. However, an examination of water flow patterns (hydrology) was not included, thus some of the areas scored as low risk may in fact be at higher risk. The most common disturbances in this region are associated...
There were two different assessments completed for estuaries of the Northern Gulf of Mexico, one is part of the National Estuary Assessment and the other is a regional estuary assessment. The National Estuary Assessment ranked the condition of Gulf estuaries relative to other estuaries in the contiguous U.S. using a simple index-based approach. The National Estuary Assessment results for the Gulf of Mexico are discussed in both the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and Southern Plains regional sections of this report. The Regional Estuary Assessment used a new detailed approach that fully incorporates fish survey data to better measure the effects of human-caused (anthropogenic) activities on fish habitat and is the prototype...


    map background search result map search result map Summary of Scientific Findings for Southwestern States Summary of Scientific Findings for Central Midwest States Summary of scientific findings for Pacific Coast States Summary of Scientific Findings for Central Mississippi River States Summary of Scientific Findings for Hawaii Summary of Scientific Findings for Upper Midwest States Summary of Scientific Findings for Mid-Atlantic States Summary of Scientific Findings for Mountain States Summary of Scientific Findings for Southeast Atlantic States Summary of Scientific Findings for Alaska Summary of Scientific Findings for Eastern Gulf of Mexico States Summary of Scientific Findings for Northeastern States from the 2015 National Fish Habitat Assessment Summary of Scientific Findings for Northern Plains States Summary of Scientific Findings for Southern Plains States Summary of Scientific Findings for Mid-Atlantic States Summary of Scientific Findings for Southeast Atlantic States Summary of Scientific Findings for Northern Plains States Summary of Scientific Findings for Northeastern States from the 2015 National Fish Habitat Assessment Summary of Scientific Findings for Central Midwest States Summary of Scientific Findings for Central Mississippi River States Summary of Scientific Findings for Upper Midwest States Summary of Scientific Findings for Eastern Gulf of Mexico States Summary of scientific findings for Pacific Coast States Summary of Scientific Findings for Southwestern States Summary of Scientific Findings for Mountain States Summary of Scientific Findings for Southern Plains States Summary of Scientific Findings for Hawaii Summary of Scientific Findings for Alaska