The goal of this on-going project is to conduct a nationwide assessment of the status of fish habitats in aquatic systems throughout the United States. In 2010, my lab completed a current condition assessment for the Nation’s rivers (Figure 1), and we are currently working on improvements for 2015 that include efforts to refine our national assessment scores and to conduct regional work that will better characterize response of fluvial habitat factors to landscape influences. For more information, refer to the National Fish Habitat Action Plan web site: www.fishhabitat.org
To effectively plan for changes in climate and land use that may affect aquatic habitats and the organisms they support, managers require the ability to identify which habitats may change with climate as well as insights into specifically how they might change. To address these needs, my lab is involved in two efforts occurring over different spatial scales. First, we’re developing a nationally-consistent characterization of stream reach vulnerability to climate and land use changes (preliminary results shown in Figure 2), and second, we’re constructing flow and temperature models for all streams in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota to explicitly show how changes in fish species’ distributions may result from altered habitat resulting from future conditions. This work is part of a larger effort incorporating other regional assessments from across the country, and more details on this work and our team members can be found at: http://fishhabclimate.org.