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The United States is home to more than 3,000 fish species and over 322 million people, and they all depend on the same water. Healthy aquatic resources are vital to the integrity of the United States and essential for sustainable fish populations. Unfortunately, in many places around the United States, fish and the habitats on which they depend are degraded or in decline. Almost 40 percent of the nation’s freshwater fish species are considered at risk or vulnerable to extinction. Habitat loss is the most common cause for extinction of freshwater fish in the United States over the past century, and many saltwater fish are also in decline due to habitat degradation. In 1997, Congress declared that one of the greatest...
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Healthy waterways and thriving fish populations are vital to the well-being of American society, providing clean water, food and recreation. They are important for less tangible reasons as well, as anyone who has fished a tranquil stream or paddled a salty bay can attest. Healthy aquatic habitats sustain their ecological functions and resilience while meeting the social and economic needs of human society. Unfortunately, in many places around the United States, fish and the habitats on which they depend are in decline. Jelks et al (2008) listed 700 inland fish taxa considered imperiled in North America, including both freshwater and diadromous species. Further, they reported that there was a substantial increase...
Map of current habitat degradation from the 2015 National Fish Habitat Assessment.
The "Fish with Habitat Trouble" section of the National Fish Habitat Assessment is designed in a simple, summarized format to highlight how the impairment of fish habitat can and does directly affect fish in each region of the United States. The following considerations were taken to identify the subset of species used in the report. Initially a list of potential species for each region was developed by querying the American Fisheries Society’s Imperiled Fish database for species within each region that have a threat criteria of "1", which indicates that habitat loss is a reason the specie is imperiled. This list was verified and expanded by partner fisheries agencies and Fish Habitat Partnerships to ensure species...
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The United States is home to a diverse array of freshwater and marine fish, shellfish, and other aquatic species. More than 3,000 species of fish inhabit America’s streams, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, marshes, swamps, bays, estuaries, coral reefs, seagrass beds, shallow water banks, deep ocean canyons, and other aquatic habitats. The United States is also home to more than 322 million people, 39% of whom live near the coasts and all depending on the same water that fish call home. In 2012, approximately 25 percent of the nation’s acreage was agricultural and 6 percent was developed. However, these and other consequences of human inhabitation affect much broader areas by altering water flow (hydrology), water quality,...