Geographic Information Systems
gis, Maine, fish, habitat
Eastern Brook Trout (Salvelinas fontanalis) are an important cold water fishery in the state of Maine. While populations in Maine are relatively abundant there has been decline in some parts of its range due in part to loss of habitat connectivity. Brook trout require access to specific types of stream habitat for spawning, feeding, and seasonal thermal refuges. Stream crossing structures such as undersized, poorly installed, or blocked culverts, as well as small remnant dams, can create barriers to accessing important stream habitat for brook trout. A recent Fish Barrier/Culvert Survey in the Little Androscoggin River Watershed provided data about crossing structures and stream conditions that was used to identify barriers that were limiting connectivity of stream habitat. The data was used to prioritize identified barriers in terms of creating better access to higher quality and quantity of stream habitat. To accomplish this the survey data was processed using the Barrier Assessment Tool, a GIS tool that is used to calculate quantities of stream habitat that could be gained both up and downstream of identified barriers. Then raster data for several key parameters of high quality brook trout habitat was created, re-classified and given weighted values. Overlays of the weighted rasters were used to identify the stream reaches with best habitat value. Using the combination of these two methods, identified barriers can be prioritized for future remediation, assisting with efforts to strategically reconnect fragmented Eastern Brook Trout habitat.
Windsor, Michele, "Stream Crossing Barrier Prioritization Methods for Increasing Eastern Brook Trout Habitat in the Little Androscoggin River Watershed" (2014). Thinking Matters Symposium Archive. 26.