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This collection of reports, databases, and data layers offers a birds-eye view of sandy beach and tidal inlet habitats within the U.S. Atlantic Coast breeding range of the endangered piping plover based on imagery from Google Earth, Google Maps, state agencies, municipalities, and private organizations. By comparing the location, status, and condition of potential plover breeding grounds from Maine to North Carolina during three distinct time periods -- before Hurricane Sandy, immediately after the storm, and three years after post-storm recovery efforts -- these inventories provide a habitat baseline that can help resource managers plan for future change.
To effectively manage vital freshwater resources across large geographic areas, resource managers need the capacity to assess the status of aquatic species, their habitats, and the threats they face. This on-line decision support tool provides that capability for Eastern brook trout across the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The tool allows users to characterize current and and potential future aquatic conditions, target and prescribe restoration and conservation actions, set strategic priorities, evaluate management efforts, and support science-based sustainable management plans on behalf of brook trout and associated species. The tool is accompanied by a user-friendly summary report and a technical report providing details on how the tool was created.
The Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS) provides a comprehensive national framework for organizing information about coasts, oceans, and their living systems. But when integrating these data across different scales, is anything lost in translation? This report uses three pilot projects to assess how well the framework functions for classifying estuarine and marine environments at different scales.
An inventory of the work being undertaken by coastal Landscape Conservation Cooperatives and partner organizations to address coastal resilience issues in the Atlantic, Gulf Coast, and Caribbean regions, this new resource offers a one-stop shopping list to support growing collaboration in coastal resilience. The list includes completed, ongoing, and planned projects, reports, guidebooks, programs, online support tools, and papers, searchable by type, organization, or date.
What can we do today to ensure a sustainable future for the Connecticut River watershed? Connect the Connecticut is a collaborative effort to identify the best places to start: a network of priority lands and waters that can support wildlife and natural systems, with multiple pathways for migration, restoration, development, and conservation.
Loss of land as a result of increasing sea level is among the gravest threats that climate change poses to coastal areas, and one of the most difficult to prepare for because different beaches, barriers, and marshes can respond to sea level rise in various dynamic ways. By distinguishing between areas in the Northeast that are likely to experience flooding as a result of sea-level rise and those that are likely to respond dynamically to sea-level rise by moving or changing, this report offers a resource to support coastal management decisions at both regional and local scales in the context of accelerated change.
As part of a suite of aquatic habitat assessments and tools designed to support conservation efforts in the Northeast region, the environmental consulting firm Downstream Strategies developed predictive models for estuarine habitat in Narragansett Bay and Long Island Sound, using winter flounder as the focal species to pilot the approach. This study describes the development of a flexible modeling process that can help scientists better understand the distribution, status, threats, and relative abundance of resources in dynamic aquatic habitats.
Combining spatial data with information from multiple assessments of fish habitat, this tool helps resource managers identify restoration projects that will support populations of aquatic species in the face of threats from climate change and development. Users can establish and rank conservation priorities, predict how species will fare under various management scenarios, and evaluate long-term conservation benefits for Eastern brook trout and associated species at multiple scales in multiple regions, including the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Combing a set of key metrics for intactness and resilience to measure the potential for individual sites to support biodiversity in the long term, this tool offers a way to prioritize actions intended to conserve high quality habitat by enabling users to compare the integrity of different sites of the same ecosystem type or habitat class.
Designed by scientists to simplify consistent data collection and management, the iPlover smartphone application gives trained resource managers an easy-to-use platform where they can collect and share data about coastal habitat utilization across a diverse community of field technicians, scientists, and managers. With the click of a button, users can contribute biological and geomorphological data to regional models designed to forecast the habitat outlook for piping plover, and other species that depend upon sandy beach habitat.
These datasets depict the potential capability of the landscape throughout the Northeastern United States to provide habitat for a particular terrestrial representative species based on environmental conditions existing in approximately 2010. Landscape capability integrates habitat capability, climate niche, and prevalence, and is a measure of the relative capability of the landscape to support a given species.
With the growing interest in offshore energy development along the eastern seaboard, it is increasingly important to determine the associated risks for the bird species that rely on this habitat. Although many efforts have been made to identify important habitat areas for marine birds, each focused on a different geography, and followed different protocols. Using an innovative modeling approach to synthesize historic data on 24 species of marine birds, this report and accompanying maps offer new insight for researchers and marine spatial planners about how these species use offshore waters.
Both a network of partners and a source of shared resources, the North Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Collaborative (NAACC) offers a collaborative framework for taking on the critical task of assessing and upgrading the hundreds of thousands of outdated road-stream crossings across the region that represent barriers to wildlife movement and pose flooding risks to communities. The NAACC offers training in standard protocols for conducting assessments, online tools for prioritizing upgrades based on ecological benefits, and a database of road-stream crossings encompassing the 13 Northeast states.
Species that depend on cold-water river habitat are vulnerable to warming from climate change, but just how vulnerable? Lingering uncertainties about the relationship between changing air and water temperatures, the capacities of different fish species to adapt to exposure, and the ways climate change will affect other environmental stressors like diseases, make it difficult to predict. In order to make informed decisions about protecting fish habitat, resource managers must understand the degree of the threat. This review offers a comprehensive overview of what is known, what remains uncertain, and what measures that can be taken now to reduce the future impacts of warming on cold water fish habitat.
This product assesses how vulnerable the Northeast's major terrestrial and wetland habitats are to climate change. Thirteen major ecosystem types occurring from Maine to Virginia and West Virginia were systematically evaluated through a collaborative process. The findings can be used in preparing for and adapting to a changing climate.
The Northeast region is known for its wealth of lakes and ponds — more than 30,000 bodies of water that store freshwater, sustain a diversity of fish, birds, invertebrates, and aquatic plants, and support sport fisheries and recreational activities — and now there is a common way to classify them. Developed by experts from The Nature Conservancy, ten states, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the classification scheme is based upon four key variables that are used to organize aquatic natural communities, and can be mapped consistently across the region and United States.
While sea level rise represents a looming threat to a range of coastal resources in the Northeast, the specific risks it poses to different species and habitats are difficult to predict. Determining which resources are most vulnerable, and understanding why, is critical for developing effective management strategies to sustain these resources into the future. By synthesizing current research on the vulnerabilities of fish and wildlife habitats in the coastal zone, identifying the major sources of uncertainty, and suggesting future research that can help support the ongoing conservation of coastal ecological resources, this report offers a valuable reference for individuals, organizations, and communities working to plan for and address sea level rise across the region.
This collaborative project provided biologists and managers along the Atlantic coast with tools to predict effects of accelerating sea-level rise on the distribution of piping plover breeding habitat, test those predictions, and feed results back into the modeling framework to improve predictive capabilities. Immediate model results will be used to inform a coast-wide assessment of threats from sea-level rise and related habitat conservation recommendations that can be implemented by land managers and inform recommendations to regulators. Case studies incorporating resilience of piping plover habitat into management plans for specific locations demonstrate potential applications.
Seamlessly linking datasets, models, and decision-support systems, this website offers a suite of tools designed to help resource managers make decisions related to protecting freshwater aquatic habitat, including a stream temperature database, a visualization for identifying priority catchments, and an interactive GIS map featuring data on Eastern brook trout.
The overall goal of this project was to compare maps and classification systems from various producers to identify opportunities for consolidating the strongest qualities in each mapping system in support of a long-term goal of a ‘best map’ for the Northeastern and Midwestern U.S.
Climate change is expected to alter stream temperature and flow regimes over the coming decades, and in turn influence distributions of aquatic species in those freshwater ecosystems. To better anticipate these changes, there is a need to compile both short- and long-term stream temperature data for managers to gain an understanding of baseline conditions, historic trends, and future projections. The NorEaST web portal was developed to meet this need, serving as a coordinated, multi-agency regional framework to map and store continuous stream temperature locations and data for New England, Mid Atlantic, and Great Lakes States.
Ecological processes don't stop at international borders, and neither will climate change. In order to understand how climate change will impact forested, agricultural, and wetland systems, resource managers on both sides of the border need to be able to see a continuous landscape. This web mapping tool lets users look at the full habitat picture from the North Atlantic United States to Atlantic Canada and southern Quebec, based on field-collected data and national and provincial datasets.
Synthesizing sea-level rise and storm-threshold data for 44 fish, wildlife, and plant species of conservation concern, as well as for four coastal habitats, the new species threshold table for the multi-LCC coastal resilience project contains a wealth of information formatted into an easy-to-use spreadsheet to give stakeholders insight on decisions and tradeoffs regarding the management of coastal resources.
Integrating field data with the latest digital mapping technology, the Wetlands Mapper offers a portal through which anyone can access reliable wetlands science, and explore wetlands data with easy-to-use tools for displaying, manipulating, and querying information. The site also directs users to a wealth of other credible resources for identifying relevant scientific and geospatial information.
Temporary wetlands called vernal pools provide important breeding grounds for reptiles and amphibians, but their seasonal nature can make them both difficult to find and to protect. The vernal pool mapper is now available to guide conservation of this important habitat. Based on a database of field-verified and remotely-sensed potential vernal pool locations compiled from across the Northeast, it can help identify priority areas for conservation and inform future surveys.