SDE Feature Class
landscape approach, rivers, ENVIRONMENT, fish habitat, California, assessment, BIOTA, catchments, streams, habitat, anthropogenic disturbances
These data were collected for multiple purposes. First, they were gathered in support of conducting a condition assessment of fluvial waterbodies throughout the United States in support of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan (NFHAP). Second, these data were intended to be made available to NFHAP Partnerships as well as other users interested in acquiring consistently-organized information available characterizing river systems over larger regions. This work was supported by local, state, and federal partners of NFHAP, including the U.S. Geological Survey. Because the condition assessment was conducted over such a large geographic region, we adopted a landscape approach for assessment which assumed that anthropogenic disturbances as well as natural characteristics in the watersheds affect a given unit of habitat which in turn would affect fishes. It was necessary to use a landscape approach because landscape data are available for every location in of the United States whereas local measures of habitat or biological indicators of habitat condition are only available at a very small percentage of locations around the country.
The mission of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan is to protect, restore, and enhance the nation's fish and aquatic communities through partnerships that foster fish habitat conservation and improve the quality of life for the American people. Reversal of widespread fish habitat degradation will require effective spatial planning, which begins with spatial assessement of current habitat conditions. This dataset presents an assessment of cumulative anthropogenic disturbance to fish habitats in California under the assumption that downstream local habitat conditions will reflect conditions in the catchment upstream. Geographic information systems data was used to attribute 15 disturbance variables to the catchments of mapped river reaches to calibrate an index of cumulative disturbance that considered effects originating from both local and upstream catchments. These features contain local and network catchment human disturbance variables representing anthropogenic alterations to landscapes in California, including land use, roads, dams, mines, and point-source pollution sites. The source datasets that were compiled and attributed to catchments were identified as being: (1) meaningful for assessing fish habitat; (2) consistent across the entire study area in the way that they were assembled; (3) representative of conditions in the past 10 years, and (4) of sufficient spatial resolution that they could be used to make valid comparisons among local catchment units. These variables can be linked to the reaches and catchments of the National Hydrography Dataset Plus (NHDPlus). For more information visit www.fishhabitat.org
Funding for the development of these data tables was provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey.
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