Estuarine Fish Habitat Assessment and Winter Flounder Pilot Study
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.
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Estuarine Fish Habitat Assessment: A General Framework and Winter Flounder Pilot Studies
This document describes the process used to create a modeling framework for these assessments, details of the habitat assessments, and a discussion of the lessons learned that may aid future similar efforts. We created models with predictive accuracy similar to other estuarine predictive habitat models. We also found that the relationships between habitat and winter flounder described by our predictive models were generally corroborated by previous literature. We also note the limitations of each model and suggest possibilities for overcoming these in future efforts.
The data and modeling results from this assessment were incorporated into a web-based decision support tool. This tool enables users to visualize and download data and model outputs and establish conservation priorities based on user-defined ranking criteria. Combined, the modeling results contained within this report along with the publically accessible web application will improve public awareness of conditions of the modeled estuaries and empower resource managers to implement scientifically-defensible conservation actions.
Fritz Boettner, Downstream Strategies
LCC Staff Contact(s):
Scott Schwenk, Science Coordinator