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Chesapeake Bay Brook Trout Assessment

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.

Go to the Product(s)

The tool for brook trout in the Chesapeake Bay is built into the Fish Habitat Decision Support Tool website. The website also includes tutorial videos and additional help. 

Summary report on the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Brook Trout Habitat and Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment

Technical report on the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Brook Trout Habitat and Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment

Additional Resources

Fish Habitat Decision Support Tool product page.

A similar analysis process was used to conduct an assessment of Estuarine Fish Habitat, which included a pilot study on Winter Flounder. Go to the product page. The project also incorporated analyses on anadromous fish habitat developed by The Nature Conservancy.

Technical description

Fishery and aquatic scientists often assess habitats to understand the distribution, status, threats, and relative abundance of aquatic resources. Due to the spatial nature of habitats and associated temporal changes, using traditional analytical methods is often difficult. This project developed habitat assessment models and outputs for brook trout in the Chesapeake Bay watershed based on a stakeholder driven process. In addition to assessing habitat conditions, GIS decision support tools were developed and provided to assist with resource planning efforts, at both the regional and site-specific scale.

Project components:

  1. Develop models to estimate the probability of brook trout occurrence in catchments throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed
  2. Calculate measures of underlying natural habitat quality and anthropogenic stress
  3. Assess future climate scenarios and the potential impact to brook trout populations
  4. Provide decision support tools to facilitate visualization of data and results, prioritize conservation and restoration actions, and estimate brook trout (at fishhabitattool.org)

Case Studies and News Stories

Science in the Stream - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region Conserving the Nature of the Northeast blog

Finding sweet spots for brook trout in the Chesapeake Bay watershed - North Atlantic LCC news

Project Contact(s):

, Professor of Aquatic Science at West Virginia University 

LCC Staff Contact(s):

, Science Coordinator

Chesapeake Bay Brook Trout Assessment
Product Type(s):
Assessments and Research Results
Reports, Model-Based Assessments
Decision Support Tools
Interactive tools and models
Resource Type: Fish
Conservation Targets: Freshwater aquatic
Conservation Framework: Biological Planning, Assumption-based Research
Threats/Stressors: Climate change impacts, Development/Urban Growth, Energy Development, Water quality and supply
Conservation Action: Site/area protection, Site/area management, Habitat and natural process restoration, Species management, Species recovery

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